Fall 2019 to Spring 2020 Archives:

 SPONSORED BY: Ethics and Ecological Economics (EEE) Forum at Iliff

June 8th – EVENT SLIDES AND LINK TO BREAKOUT SESSION NOTES BELOW

“Beyond GDP: Measuring Wellbeing and the Quality of Life in a Time of COVID-19.”

A 90-minute online Community Table Conversation (DU Grand Challenges) with four special guests,, co-sponsored by the Ethics and Ecological Economics (EEE) Forum at the Iliff School of Theology

Co-moderators:

  • David Carlson, PhD; Founder and Convener, EEE Forum; Beyond GDP Team Co-leader, DU Grand Challenges Initiative
  • Elizabeth Walsh, PhD; Program Coordinator, Urban Sustainability Cohort, DU Grand Challenges Initiative

Special Guests:

  • Sheila Davis, MD, MS; COVID-19 Testing Branch Director and Health Equity Coordinator, Boulder County Public Health
  • Jasmine Bains, MPH; Research Analyst, Colorado Health Institute
  • Mondi Mason, PhD, MPH; Food Policy and Program Administrator, Denver Dept. of Public Health and Environment
  • Rocky Piro, PhD; Executive Director, Colorado Center for Sustainable Urbanism, University of Colorado Denver

At issue is whether “health”—as in “healthy people, healthy communities, and healthy planet”—will (or can) replace GDP* and stock market valuations as proxies of progress, wellbeing, and the quality of life.

Beyond GDP: Measuring Human and Ecological Wellbeing in Colorado is one of several pilot programs underway through DU’s Grand Challenges initiative. Our Team invites faculty, staff, students; friends of the EEE Forum, and other community members to join us in this Community Table Conversation. Some Interconnected questions for guiding our time together:

 OUR OVER-ARCHING QUESTIONS: How is COVID-19 pushing us to “go beyond GDP” as a measure of wellbeing and the quality of life for families, communities, and the environment? Specifically, what key indicators and metrics will help us observe, understand, and respond effectively to this crisis? 

  • What challenges is COVID-19 revealing to our wellbeing and quality of life in the Denver metro area and Colorado?
  • What do current indicators tell us about inequities and other challenges? about resilience and opportunities? What are the weaknesses and strengths of our existing metrics in showing us what’s really going on?
  • How might we work together to improve the measuring and tracking of wellbeing and the quality of life in our region and state? What DU-community partnerships could propel us forward?

For more information about this event or the Beyond GDP project, please contact co-moderator David Carlson at davidcarlson824@gmail.com.

*GDP, short for Gross Domestic Product, measures the value of all goods and services produced in a state, national, or global economy in a year or other fixed time period. 

EVENT SLIDES and Breakout session notes:

  • Sheila Davis slides: People of Color: The COVID-19 Pandemic, and Police Violence Against Unarmed African Americans. The Epicenter of the Epicenter: PPTX (DOWNLOAD); OR PDF
  • Jasmine Bains slides: COVID-19: Uncovering Important Social Health Factors: PPTX (DOWNLOAD); OR PDF
  • Mondi Mason slides: Food Systems and Structural Racism: PPTX (DOWNLOAD); OR PDF
  • Rocky Piro slides: Creating Healthy Places: PPTX (DOWNLOAD); OR PDF
  • Breakout session notes:: Click here

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Monday MAY 18th – LINKS TO SLIDES AND VIDEO BELOW

MUSINGS OF A FREE-LANCE COMMENTATOR

SPEAKER: Rev. Peter Sawtell; Founder and Executive Director, Eco-Justice Ministries

SPONSORED BY: the Ethics and Ecological Economics (EEE) Forum at Iliff

The Rev. Peter Sawtell founded Eco-Justice Ministries nearly 20 years ago as “an independent, ecumenical agency that helps churches answer the call to care for all of God’s creation, and develop ministries that are faithful, relevant and effective in working toward social justice and environmental sustainability.” In addition to working with individual congregations, Peter has worked closely with regional and national denominations, has been a speaker at national and international conferences, and helped connect faith communities with secular activists.  Peter spoke at four previous EEE Forums: 2014 (The Faith-Based Environmental Movement: Where we are, where we are going); 2015 (Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’); 2016 (Fear, Hope, and Climate Change); and 2019 (The Green New Deal).

Since early 2001, Peter has written a weekly commentary, Eco-Justice Notes, which applies his eco-justice perspective to a wide range of religious, environmental and social issues. (See his latest message, “Holy Disorientation”.) Since these commentaries are put out without any sort on an editorial review, Peter sees himself as “a free-lance commentator” who has attracted an international following. In January, he announced his retirement.

“Between now and the end of July, I will be continuing the long tradition of weekly Eco-Justice Notes. I plan to be revisiting and refining many of the central themes that I’ve written about over the years. I will be persistent in calling on churches to be faithful, relevant and effective in their worship, witness and advocacy. I will push myself to be even more assertive in prophetic critiques of church and society. I will seek, always, to write in hope, grounding my commentary in the commitment that God’s shalom of right relationship for all creation is the guiding vision for a viable world.

On May 18th, Peter plans to offer some broadly interdisciplinary musings about the pandemic, climate activism, US politics, the Christian church, and hope. Those musings will provide a basis for lively Zoom conversations (NOW PAST), affirmations and rebuttals. He expects that the spirit of EEE gatherings will come through well, even with this on-line format.

Please share this announcement with others who may be interested. For more information about the Forum and recent themes and speakers, visit other links at this website. For other information or questions, please contact Forum Founder and Convener, David Carlson, at davidcarlson824@gmail.com.

POST MEETING SLIDES AND VIDEO LINKS

  • PDF SLIDES: CLICK HERE with links to the two videos.
  • Four per page slides: CLICK HERE with links to the two videos
  • NEWLY POSTED YouTube verson (7/16/2020 (CLICK HERE) will post to YouTube channel soon.

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March and April forums were POSTPONED TO FALL due to COVID-19

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Monday February 24th, 2020

INTERNATIONAL PROSPECTS FOR A LOW-CARBON FUTURE

Robert Youngberg, President & Founder, Sustainability Development International — SDI

Details: The message has been clear since the establishment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the Rio Earth Summit de Janeiro in 1992, that climate change is by far the greatest existential crisis, now, and in the near future. Significant action must be taken globally, as soon as possible, by all nations and industries to make changes in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. 

In early December 2019 Robert Youngberg attended the UNFCCC 25th Conference of Parties (COP25), in Madrid, Spain. The Conference of Parties is where the 197 national signatories of the 2016 Paris Agreement meet annually to discuss, negotiate, and renew commitment to their goals and actions to address climate change, focusing on CO2 emissions.  Robert served as the COP25 Delegate for the International Solar Energy Society. He has been involved in solar energy, nationally and internationally beginning in the mid-1970s when he founded and directed the Renewable Energy Research Office at the University of Nebraska.

Robert has extensive experience in professional consulting in the renewable energy, environmental, electric utility, and information technology industries serving national and international clients. He is a frequent organizer, attender and presenter at energy related national and international conferences and seminars, including: the World Renewable Energy Forum (2011); the Jackson Hole Global Forum (2018); and the International Low Carbon Development Forum – Taiyuan, China (2016 and 2019).

Robert will provide an overview of the UNFCCC/IPCC/COP/Kyoto Protocol/Paris Agreement history and process, overview of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, ‘Peak’ CO2 levels in the atmosphere, global energy consumption, future energy demand in the Power, Industrial, Transportation, and Buildings Economic Sectors, and the progress and commitment (and lack thereof) by the various Paris Agreement signatories. He will also discuss the potential for global scale implementation of Solar Photovoltaics (PV) to address the growing increase of CO2 in the atmosphere from the Power Sector in Developed Nations, Nations in Transition, and Least Developed Nations.

POST-FORUM SLIDES: PDF – click here

video link forthcoming:

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Monday January 13th, 2020

MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN COLORADO: ADDRESSING CRITICAL NEEDS

SPEAKERS: DAFNA MICHAELSON JENET, Colorado House of Representatives, and LAUREN SNYDER, State Policy Director, Mental Health Colorado

  • State Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet (Democratic Party) has represented District 30, which encompasses portions of Adams County, since January 2017. She serves as the Vice-Chair of the House Healthcare and Human Services Committee, the Chair of the School Safety Interim Committee, and a member of the Education and Legislative Audit Committees. Expanding access to mental health services is one of her top legislative priorities. She writes: “We have been working as a country to figure out how to get health care for our most vulnerable populations and yet, as we begin to fill that need we still see long waits and limited coverage for access to mental health care.”
  • Lauren Snyder has first-hand experience collaborating with lawmakers, advocates, and decision-makers to craft statewide policy. Before joining Mental Health Colorado in 2018, Lauren worked for the Colorado Department of Human Services as their Legislative Analyst, where she helped pass critical legislation and budget initiatives. As an advocate for many of the state’s most vulnerable groups, she played a key role in advancing the rights and increasing services for low-income families and at-risk youth, as well as Coloradans with disabilities, mental health and substance use conditions.

Ø  Suicide is the #1 cause of death for Colorado youth, ages 10-24.

Ø  1 in 13 adults who needed mental health care did not get it at the time.

Ø  27% of Colorado youth had used nicotine vapor products in the past 30 days.

2018 Colorado Public Health and Environmental Assessment Report

 (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment)

What are the root causes of these disturbing trends?

What is being done to address them?

POST-FORUM NOTES – SOME TAKEAWAYS:
Many thanks to Martin VoelkerColorado Renewable Energy Society and Colorado 350.org leader, for videotaping this presentation Mental Health & Substance Abuse in Colorado; Thank him the next time you see him!

SUMMARY.  At this January Forum, Rep. Michaelson Jenet began her presentation with a riveting narrative of her personal struggle over several years to find competent mental health care and support for her young son. That struggle led to her decision to run for political office in 2016 to work for legislative and budgetary changes in Colorado’s mental health system—her top legislative priority.

Following the Q and A session, Lauren Snyder focused on two key mental health issues that are often overshadowed: (1) methamphetamine use (compared to opioid use), and (2) the criminalization of mental health conditions. Following this Q and A session, Babu Mathew spoke briefly about the purpose and activities of NAMI Colorado.

POST-FORUM NOTES – SOME TAKEAWAYS:

Representative Michaelson Jenet’s top priority in the 2020 state legislative session is HB20-1086: Insurance Coverage Mental Health Wellness Exam. Concerning health insurance coverage for an annual mental health wellness examination performed by a qualified mental health care provider. To track other bills she is working on, follow her personal page or newsletter.

Mental Health Colorado advocates for the more than one million Coloradans who experience a mental health or substance use disorder each year. MHC’s 2020 legislative agenda is available at https://www.mentalhealthcolorado.org/what-we-do/. Interested in advocacy? Learn about MHC’s statewide network of nearly 1,000 advocates–the Brainwave—at https://www.mentalhealthcolorado.org/jointhewave/

The Mission of NAMI Colorado “is to build communities of recovery by educating, supporting and advocating for individuals affected by mental illness and their families.” For more information, see http://www.namicolorado.org/

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Monday November 18th

“Food (In)Security in Colorado”

“Nearly 1 in 11 Coloradans struggle with hunger, not always having enough money for food.”  – Hunger Fee Colorado (fact sheet)

“Food insecurity, childhood obesity and environmental sustainability are interconnected and . . . have been given priority in Denver, where 1 child in 4 does not have enough to eat and about 3 in 10 children are considered overweight or obese.”   — Denver Dept. of Public Health and Environment

Food System Policies and Population Health: Moving Toward Collective Impact in Denver

Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger – Final

How is this possible in a state with per capita personal income of nearly $55,000?

SPEAKERS:

  • Mondi Mason, PhD, MPH is an applied anthropologist at the Denver Dept. of Public Health and Environment. As Food Policy Administrator, she works with local and regional partners on food system policies and programs that increase access to affordable and nutritious food. Dr. Mason is also Adjunct Faculty at the Colorado School of Public Health and an Evaluation and Quality Improvement Coach for the National Network of Public Health Institutes. 
  • Paola Babb is the Community Engagement and Child Nutrition Manager at Hunger Free Colorado. She supports communities to increase access and participation in Child Nutrition Programs. Paola has a Bachelor or Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics, worked for WIC for several years, and most recently managed the Food Pantry at Growing Home, a non-profit in Westminster. She a native Spanish speaker originally from Mexico, but has lived in Colorado most of her life.
  • Erin Ulric, MPH serves as Implementation Director for a five-year plan to end hunger in Colorado (copy attached). Previously, she worked at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment leading the Prevention Services Division. Prior to state government, Erin worked in international public health for nearly a decade managing programs in a variety of technical areas. She speaks 3 languages and has lived and/or worked in 8 countries.

POST-FORUM NOTES:

Following the Forum, Paola provided this link to the website to Hunger Through My Lens, which showcases stories of people that have experienced hunger: http://hungerthroughmylens.org/

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October 21st, 2019

“The Challenge at the Heart of Climate Change”

  • William (“Bill”) Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project

The Presidential Climate Action Project ( http://pcap2016.org/) is a 12-year-old initiative that works with U.S. thought leaders to develop recommendations on clean energy and climate action for the President of the United States and Congress. In addition to his duties as Executive Director, William Becker is a Senior Associate at Natural Capitalism Solutions, an adviser to the Environment and Energy Study Group in Washington D.C., and a member of Mikhail Gorbachev’s international Climate Change Task Force based in Geneva.

Prior to founding PCAP, Bill served for 15 years as a senior official at the U.S. Department of Energy, specializing in building partnerships to accelerate the market penetration of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. He has also specialized throughout his career in helping communities understand and practice sustainability, including disaster-affected communities planning their recovery. For example, he has led or participated on expert teams deployed to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Thailand after the 2004 tsunami. Bill is also the author of The 100 Day Action Plan to Save the Planet: A Climate Crisis Solution for the 44th President (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2008).

Bill writes: “My thought for the overall theme is the ethical/moral disconnect that has brought us to this crisis, and how the disconnect can be fixed. The use of the term ‘Anthropocene’ recognizes our pervasive influence on the biosphere, but we have not sufficiently acknowledged that our well-being, and even our survival, is inextricably bound with nature. . . . In fact, we have yet to acknowledge our co-dependence within own species, . . . The Paris agreement is, in essence, a recognition of our interdependence with all other nations in regard to climate change, but the bigger breakthrough would be to accept our place in the biosphere.”

Bill also writes occasional blogs on these and other policy topics, and distributes them to about 300 thought leaders. If any EEE Forum colleague would like to be added to his distribution list, send him an email at beckerncs@gmail.com.

POST-FORUM NOTES – SOME TAKEAWAYS:

Many thanks also to Martin Voelker, Colorado Renewable Energy Society and Colorado 350.org leader, for videotaping Mr. Becker’s presentation. The Challenge at the Heart of Climate Change – Bill Becker.

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September 16th, 2019

Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy: Pathways toward a Green New Deal

  • Dr. Anders Fremstad, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, CSU

As Professor Fremstad stated, his presentation was chiefly based upon an 80-page report with the same title as the Forum topic, co-authored by Dr. Fremstad and two other economists.”  (slides and copy of the paper below)

Putting a price on carbon is widely recognized by economists and other policy makers as a fundamental strategy for reducing the quantity of greenhouse gases generated annually around the world.  (See, for example, William Nordhaus’ Nobel acceptance speech in Stockholm last December (https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/economic-sciences/2018/nordhaus/lecture/), His speech centers on the necessity of pricing carbon and his novel notion of “climate clubs” to address the “free rider” problem.)

Dr. Fremstad’s lecture makes the case that carbon pricing is a necessary but insufficient strategy for addressing climate change. The talk will focus on three key “pillars” to decarbonize the U.S. economy: establish a carbon dividend, pass additional targeted regulation, and increase public investment. He writes:

“I teach courses in microeconomics, environmental economics, and political economy. My current research focuses on the sharing economy, household and urban economies in carbon emissions, and the distributional impact of carbon mitigation policy. Outside of economics, I enjoy hiking, biking, traveling, and chess.”

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