Aspen Environment Forum Programs

Programs & Panel Activities Coordinated By The Baum Foundation – Aspen 2010

Kevin Costner at the 2010 AEF.

Kevin Costner at the 2010 AEF.

Drills and Spills: The Rhetoric and Reality
of Offshore Oil Resources
Tragic events in the Gulf of Mexico offer a vivid reminder of the environmental risks involved with drilling for oil at sea. How much of our oil supply now comes and could come from offshore oil fields, especially deep-water ones? The Baum Foundation arranged for speaker Kevin Costner to be included as a speaker on this panel.


The discussion focused around the extent to which offshore drilling occurs and how it could be regulated to prevent another disaster. Speakers included Joel Achenbach, Moderator in conversation with – Kevin Costner, Elisabeth Cheney, Robert Gagosian, Bruce Babbitt.


Pervasive Plastic in the Ocean.

Pervasive Plastic in the Ocean.

Plastic Planet—Stemming the Tide of Waste

The Baum Foundation proposed the panel for the Plastic Planet and suggested three speakers, Dr. Andrea Neal, Doug Woodring, and Dr. Theo Colborn. About 107 billion pounds of plastic are produced annually in North America alone. Plastics account for 25% of all waste in landfills. In the north Pacific gyre, a collection of plastic trash has been amassed by the ocean’s currents spanning thousands of miles.

What can be done to stem the plastic tide?

Can recent discoveries of alternative, environmentally benign polymers prove economically viable and eliminate potential health risks? Sarah Laskin, Moderator in conversation with – Andrea Neal, Doug Woodring, Theo Colborn, Elisabeth Grossmon.


Climate Response: Mitigate and Adapt—The Baum Foundation coordinated for the inclusion of Amy Fraenkel, Director of the North American Division of the United Nations Environment Program. A strategy of simply adapting to the effects of climate change without “mitigating” (that is, reducing) carbon emissions would be doomed to fail, because the changes would become too large to adapt to. Delaying adaptation measures while waiting for emissions to be reduced will cause millions to suffer, because the effects of global warming are happening already. What choices do we have now? How can the most vulnerable places on Earth adapt to rising seas, droughts and heat waves? Jeff Goodell, Moderator in conservation with – Munjed Al-Sharif, Amy Fraenkel.


Art Opening – SPILL: Crude Response, Oil, Plastics and Perspective

The Baum Foundation coordinated all the following events with the 212 Gallery in Aspen to coincide with the Aspen Institutes Environment Forum.

  • 6:00 pm Daniel Beltrá Photography and Talk—Daniel shared his experience being stationed in the Gulf photographing one of the worst environmental oil-spill disasters in his career. “I hope to reawaken people to their connection to this ocean planet.”
Aurora Robson.

Aurora Robson.

  • 7:00 pm Aurora Robson Sculpture and Talk—Aurora discussed her process of transforming discarded waste into ephemeral and organic works of art in an effort to raise environmental consciousness.
  • 7:30 pm BELLA GAIA (Beautiful Planet) Performance—Composer and creator Kenji Williams takes viewers through an immersive live multimedia performance accompanied by stunning film-footage from NASA, deeply connecting viewers to a holistic vision of Earth.


Creator Kenji Williams Performs BELLA GAIA.

Creator Kenji Williams Performs BELLA GAIA.

Aspen Environment Forum Closing Night Ceremony

BELLA GAIA—An amazing multimedia and live musical performance celebrating the visual beauty of Planet Earth, featuring Kenji Williams, a composer, filmmaker, music producer, theatrical show director, and classically trained violinist, with an introduction by Director of the Aspen Environment Forum, David Monsma.

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