The 2011 Aspen Environment Forum presented by the Aspen Institute in partnership with National Geographic held on March 30 – June 2, will provide a critical framework for committed voices to address a significant milestone: A global population of 7 billion and how to reconcile Earth’s finite resources with its ability to sustain our expanding human needs.
In the spirit of the Aspen Institute, the Forum mission is to expand and enhance your views on key environmental issues and further your understanding of the complexities of the challenges we all face, through an extraordinary rich exchange, across a wide array of important environmental topics and ideas. By bringing informed dialogue to the Aspen Institute campus, Forum directors aim to challenge and advance the thinking of all invited speakers and attendees, and to build new levels of understanding that bridge cultural and political differences.
The environmental cost need not conflict with the value of attending this event, as this too has been addressed by the Aspen Institute.
At the first public meeting held in Aspen in June 1949, to celebrate the life and work of German humanist Johann von Goethe, participants signed a resolution, read by Thornton Wilder at the closing assembly, calling for “the formation of a world council of international relations to continue to the work pioneered at these sessions.”
As such, the Institute calls upon all attendees to do their part to help reduce the environmental footprint of this event. To achieve this the Institute and National Geographic have teamed with NativeEnergy to offset all carbon emissions generated by attendees’ travel to the Forum and with the City of Aspen’s ZGreen Program to find ways to minimize the event’s carbon footprint.
The offsets will fund Native American, farmer-owned, community-based renewable energy projects that create social, economic, and environmental benefits. These projects help to build economies and communities, for people who come from long traditions of valuing and appreciating the gifts of nature and the environment.
Through its partnership with the City of Aspen’s ZGreen Program, the Aspen Meadows Resort earned status as a ZGreen Property by using green standards such as its own carbon offsetting program, purchasing wind power for the property, in-room recycling, reducing its paper usage, towel and sheet reuse in the hotel rooms, on-site composting, as well as other energy-efficient measures. The Aspen Institute’s Doerr-Hosier Center received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) GOLD Building Rating for being an environmentally responsible and healthy place to visit and work.
In addition, the Aspen Environment Forum has earned certification as a ZGreen Event by adhering to a series of green-event requirements, which govern the types of foods served at the event, the makeup of all event-related materials, the event’s energy usage and transportation offerings, and the Forum’s approach to waste.
The goal of all of these efforts is to not only reduce the environmental impact, but also to remind attendees that there are many things we each can do on our own to help ensure a healthy environment for future generations.
For more information about the City of Aspen’s ZGreen Certification Program, visit
For a full list of speakers, previous event highlights and details on registering, visit
Daily video highlights from the Forum will be posted on the website with event updates featured on Twitter under #aef2011 and on Facebook.
Learn more about National Geographic’s yearlong study into the challenges and solutions facing a global society reaching 7 billion in number.

Inga Yandell
Explorer and media producer, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide resources and opportunities for creative exploration.