Event Highlights from Day 2 of the Environment Summit

The day started off early at the Environment & Natural Resources 2, ENR2, building at the University of Arizona campus- the most sustainable building on the campus. The day was full of anticipation, excitement, and inspiration as delegates would hear from experts in the field of environmental challenges. It started with a welcome intro by our founders Kate Robertson and David Jones, then moved quickly into astonishing facts about how our planet is changing drastically by CNN meteorologist, Jennifer Gray. Delegates were given more inspiration by President Alejandro Toledo’s inspirational and powerful speech on how action, and not just diagnoses, is the key to taking strides towards climate change. From innovating solutions using active imagination, how the issues affect indigenous populations around the world, the drastic effects of climate change on the Antarctic and Arctic poles, and to discussing at length the role of corporations in sustainable development, young leaders learned tangible ways to make lasting impacts within their communities. The morning’s events ended with an unforgettable presentation by Ken Kragen and the ‘Magic of 3’s’ with a winning high school drumline giving a surprise performance. The early afternoon consisted of the much-anticipated dialogue with Adrian Grenier from Entourage who shared his journey on environmental consciousness and encouraged young people to learn to share their resources to reduce wastes and start a culture of collaboration and sharing of resources. Continuing on the theme of reducing wastes, an expert panel was held on the importance of reducing food wastes by corporations and repurposing it to help with food security and hunger issues. More talk on the issue by Gene Giacomelli of University of Arizona continued with regards to greenhouse solutions to feeding the world and ventures in space. The early evening consisted of discussions of the implications of role of the US federal government in mitigating climate change issues and the path to sustainability, with a particularly moving speech given by the White House's Chief Sustainability Officer Christine Harada who opened by telling delegates she seldom speaks to a room of people so motivated. The evening continued into highlighting remarkable innovative solutions being built by young leaders in Norway and Kenya- the winners of the Collectively Scholarship. This was followed by the energetic and exciting presentation of Leyla Acaroglu about disruptive design thinking to innovate issues of sustainability. This was followed by a detailed firsthand experience of the two of the first Biospherians to inhabit the Biosphere 2 during the initial experimental stages. Erin Shroder, energetic young activist, shocked the crowd with her contagious spirit and her courage as she explains her journey running for Congress as the youngest woman in the US. Throughout the day's talks, there were some key themes discussed including framing the world as an interconnected system, uniting together to solve climate change, shifting one block at a time, one planet - one people- traveling together for a common future (theme of interconnectedness). Above all, delegates were told over and over again that ideas without action are empty- now is the time to act. Delegates enjoyed an evening in downtown Tucson at Main Gain Square.

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