Most Recent Forums
April 6, 2022
One way to look at human civilization is as a 10,000-year experiment in defying nature. Can new human interventions in nature save us from the worst of climate change? That’s the key question in Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Kolbert’s new book, Under a White Sky. In it, she profiles engineers turning carbon emissions to stone in Iceland, Australian researchers developing “super coral” to withstand extreme temperatures, and scientists exploring shooting tiny diamonds into the stratosphere to cool the earth.
Kolbert won the Pulitzer Prize for her book The Sixth Extinction, which described in vivid detail destructive ways humans have reshaped the natural world. In her Town Hall Forum she will talk about how human interventions may be our only climate hope.
Copies of Under a White Sky will be available for purchase at the April 6 Forum.
March 25, 2022
Agriculture plays a huge role in adding to our climate crisis. Can it also be part of the solution? Lisa Schulte Moore directs the Landscape Ecology and Sustainable Ecosystem Management Lab at Iowa State University. She researches locally-relevant means of improving soil and water quality as a means of slowing climate change. The 2021 MacArthur Genius Fellow will speak at the Forum about ways our agricultural systems can be good for the planet, farmers, and consumers.
She is co-founder of the Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips (STRIPS) project, which developed the prairie strips conservation practice. She is also lead developer of People in Ecosystems/ Watershed Integration (PEWI), a simple web-based educational game designed to help people understand human impacts on the environment and improve the management of natural resources. She directs C-Change, a United States Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture Sustainable Agricultural Systems project.
March 11, 2022
How can cutting edge of space technology help mitigate or reverse climate change? Danielle Wood directs M.I.T.’s Space Enabled Research Group. Under her leadership, the center explores ways technology initially designed for space can better life on Earth. For her talk as part of the Westminster Town Hall Forum Climate Series, she will discuss space-related technologies that are already being used to combat climate change.
Prof. Wood’s background includes satellite design, earth science applications, systems engineering, and technology policy. In her research, Prof. Wood applies these skills to design innovative systems that harness space technology to address development challenges around the world. Prior to serving as faculty at MIT, Professor Wood held positions at NASA Headquarters, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Aerospace Corporation, Johns Hopkins University, and the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. Prof. Wood studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she earned a PhD in engineering systems, SM in aeronautics and astronautics, SM in technology policy, and SB in aerospace engineering.
January 31, 2022
Katharine Hayhoe is the Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy where she oversees their global climate advocacy and adaptation work. She has served as lead author on the Second, Third, and Fourth National Climate Assessments. Her new book, Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World is a candid look at the science of climate change and what can be done about it.
Dr. Hayhoe has received the National Center for Science Education’s Friend of the Planet award, the American Geophysical Union’s Climate Communication Prize, the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service award, and been named to a number of lists including Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Thinkers, FORTUNE magazine’s World’s Greatest Leaders and the United Nations Champion of the Earth in Science and Innovation.
Dr. Hayhoe’s talk is presented in collaboration with The Great Northern Festival and their “Climate Solutions” series.
November 16, 2021
The Honorable John R. Tunheim has served for 25 years as United States District Judge in the District of Minnesota and has served as Chief Judge since 2015. He has devoted much of his judicial career to helping develop the rule of law in new democracies, including drafting the Kosovo Constitution and advising over 40 countries on judicial independence. He will speak at the Forum on the role of the judiciary in America and the steps the court is taking to engage in civics education through its new Justice and Democracy Centers.
October 26, 2021
LaTosha Brown is the Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter, Black Voters Matter Fund and Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute; three initiatives designed to boost Black voter registration and turnout, as well as increase power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities. She will join us to talk about bridging grassroots activism into political power, as well as voter suppression efforts launched throughout the South since the 2020 election.
October 4, 2021
Dr. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun leads the Digital Democracies Institute at Simon Fraser University in Canada. Her upcoming book, Discriminating Data, delves into how social media platforms are designed to make us hate one another across political, racial, and class lines. She will speak at the Forum on how the internet and algorithms have undermined democracy and how they could be used in the pursuit of racial and social justice.
NOTE: This Forum will be presented in a virtual hybrid format. Dr. Chun will not be physically at Westminster. Instead, she will speak live from Canada which we will project in the Westminster Sanctuary. She will take questions from the live Westminster audience. This will all be available to watch on the Forum’s website and Facebook.
September 21, 2021
José Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. In 2011, The New York Times Magazine published a groundbreaking essay he wrote in which he revealed and chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. He is the author of the best-selling memoir, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen and will speak at the Forum about democracy, belonging, and what citizenship really means.
May 25, 2021
Angela Harrelson & Paris Stevens
On the anniversary of George Floyd’s death, we will hear from two people with a connection to George Floyd and his legacy. Angela Harrelson and Paris Stevens are the aunt and cousin of George Floyd. After the passing of his mother, Floyd moved to Minneapolis three years ago to be closer to Harrelson and to build a new life. Before her nephew’s death, she felt people didn’t want to talk about racism, even in progressive cities like Minneapolis. “What happened to George changed people’s hearts,” she said; got them talking about the history of not just police brutality, but also the very inequities in education, employment, and housing her family has faced.
May 18, 2021
Deborah Archer was elected in 2021 as the eighth President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and is the first person of color to lead that organization in its over 100-year history. She is a Professor of Clinical Law at the New York University School of Law as well as faculty director of the Law School’s Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law. She was previously an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the ACLU, and the international law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. On two separate occasions she chaired the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, the nation’s oldest and largest police oversight agency.