Miami Beach and Aspen Institute Announce Global Climate Event

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Miami Beach and Aspen Institute Announce Global Climate Event:

New Ideas Festival to Launch in March 2022

Think of it as Art Basel for climate, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said in announcing a major new summit here hosted by the Aspen Institute, a nonprofit global thought leader dedicated to finding solutions to the world’s most challenging issues.

Aspen Ideas: Climate 2022 will include “global and local policymakers, scientific experts, corporate leaders, inventors and innovators, artists, young leaders, influencers, and engaged members of the public,” according to the announcement of the event. Discussions on climate issues will be complemented by tours of local and historic resilience points of interest and cultural events such as fashion, food, arts, and music activities.

Launching March 3-7, the event is expected to be held annually in Miami Beach.

“The first week of March 2022, our community is going to be the center of climate action in the world for a week,” Gelber said. Calling the Aspen Institute “the premier problem solver in the world,” he said, the idea that Miami Beach will host the event annually “is really something quite incredible.”

Aspen Institute CEO Dan Porterfield said the event will “build dialogue, solutions, and momentum and we really need momentum in driving change in how we deal with the climate crisis.”

Miami Beach, he said, “is both exemplary because it’s taking on climate issues but it’s also representative because, in fact, every single coastal city on the planet earth is under siege right now as the waters rise, as the temperatures go up, as the coral reefs start to wither away, as animal life in all its many forms cries out for help.”

Giving young people a voice will be another focus of the event, Porterfield said. Ensuring the world’s youth “have a seat at table, have a voice for the future” and ensuring they “actually believe that we who are older can put our minds and hearts together to actually solve these problems and not just talk about them and lament about them.” 

Aspen Ideas: Climate will bring more than 100 young people from Aspen Institute’s Future Leaders Climate Initiative together for the first time. Director Nikki DeVignes said, Aspen Ideas: Climate “will give them access to networks and spaces that have historically excluded their voices.”

Characterizing the issues around climate as “this extraordinary, historic, terrible crisis that the world faces,” Porterfield cautioned, “but if our message is simply ‘Everything’s going to hell,’ we’re going to make people feel that much more angry, cynical, and disempowered so it’s got to be about solutions.”

“We actually still have time,” he said. “Working together, with the best ideas, all communities at the table, in a signature global city… we can actually come up with the best solutions and drive positive change.”

In choosing Miami Beach, the Aspen Institute noted in its announcement, “This great city is facing the daily effects of sea-level rise, intensifying storms, and weather shifts. It is also a locus of innovation and adaptation in the face of the crisis. Miami Beach is making the necessary changes to enhance its resilience, and city, business, and community leaders have collectively embraced this effort. Participants will be more prepared to engage this formidable challenge with a deeper appreciation for what is necessary – and possible.”

The event “aims to be a sustainable production, and organizers will put in place a strategy to minimize environmental impact and carbon emissions,” according to the Aspen Institute.

Members of the public will be able to participate through multi-day passes, tickets for individual events and freely accessible programming.”

For more information, sign up for updates here.

Photo: Scott Diffenderfer


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