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Sylvia Earle to Keynote Sun Valley Forum
Thursday, April 18, 2024


Dr. Sylvia Earle, who holds the record for the deepest walk on the sea floor, will be a keynote speaker at the 2024 Sun Valley Forum.

The ninth annual Sun Valley Forum will be held July 15-18 at the Argyros Performing Arts Center in Ketchum. It will also feature as keynote speakers Jenna Johnson, president of Patagonia, Inc., and Shannon Wheeler, who leads the efforts of Idaho’s Nez Perce tribe to safeguard natural resources and revive populations of salmon and steelhead in the Snake River ecosystem.

This year’s theme is “Restoring Harmony with Nature,” with the focus on climate solutions that protect and restore natural ecosystems.

“We are incredibly honored and excited to learn from leaders like Sylvia, Jenna and Shannon, who are forging systemic solutions for long-term results,” said Aimee Christensen, who founded the Sun Valley Forum in 2015 to chart a path to resilience in the wake of fires, drought, power outages and snowfall changes. “We look forward to working together to accelerate scale and sustain deep greenhouse gas reductions and restoration of nature with guidance from Indigenous leaders to build resilience in the face of our changing climate.”

Earle has been called “First Hero for the Planet” by Time Magazine. She was the first woman chief scientist of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. And she now serves as president of the Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance which has identified Hope Spots critical to the health of the ocean.

Johnson oversees product and storytelling for Patagonia, Inc. Her California-based company was a pioneer in responsible business, adopting a business structure that locks in the company’s values and commits all money not reinvested in the company to protecting the planet.

Shannon Wheeler has served on the Nez Perce “Nimiipuu” tribal governing body since 2016. Under his leadership, the tribe has made land purchases that were within the original territory of the Nez Perce people in Idaho, Washington and Oregon. He also has championed efforts to revive the Snake River ecosystem and its populations of salmon and steelhead, a story told in the film “Covenant of the Salmon People,” which he produced.

"We must embrace the profound wisdom of nature and Indigenous Peoples and its boundless potential to restore our planet's health. Together, at the Sun Valley Forum, we have an opportunity to chart a course towards harmony with the ocean, land, and all living beings," said Dr. Sylvia Earle.

Christensen noted that conservation and restoration of forests, grasslands, wetlands and oceans could remove 10 gigatons of CO2—the equivalent of emissions from 2,570 coal-fired power plants per year by 2050, according to the United Nations Environment Program and International Union for Conservation of Nature.

“2023 was again the hottest year on record—by a staggering amount,” she said. “To protect all life on our unique planet, we must speed up the phase-out of coal, oil and gas productions and transform our food systems while rapidly ramping up resilience,” she added. “It’s clear one of the most effective climate mitigation and resilience solutions is nature, and our stewardship of nature is best informed by Indigenous peoples who have for millennia stewarded nature to the benefit of us all.”

The Forum is hosted by the Ketchum-based global sustainability advisory firm Christensen Global in partnership with the Forum’s founding host Sun Valley Institute for Resilience. It convenes global leaders and innovators from business, government, philanthropy, finance, Indigenous Peoples, entrepreneurs and storytellers in order to spark partnerships and accelerate action to address challenges faced by Planet Earth.

Past speakers have included U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and Arctic and Antarctica explorer Robert Swan.

Other speakers this year include actress Nathalie Kelley, a Re:Wild Ambassador; Stephen Markley, author of “The Deluge, a fictional book set agains thee chaos of a an ecological crisis and gridlocked governments;” Mary Nichols, former chair of the California Air Resources Board, and Henk Rogers, president and founder of the Blue Planet Alliance.

The Forum includes the opportunities for local hikes, a farm tour, rafting and mountain biking. It includes dinner and lunches at the Limelight Hotel and a concluding barbecue at Galena Lodge. More information and registration is available at Early bird rates are available with the code SVF-EARLY.

In addition to in-person paid attendance, the Forum will offer a free live broadcast at


This year’s Forum will host the 2024 Keeling Curve Prize awards ceremony on July 15. An initiative of the Global Warming Mitigation Project, the annual Keeling Curve Prize recognizes ten outstanding climate initiatives worldwide in categories such as carbon sinks, energy, finance, social and cultural pathways, and transport and mobility

The 10 winners are each awarded a $50,000 prize for their exceptional ability to reduce, remove, or replace greenhouse gas emissions. This year's 20 finalists will be announced at an exclusive event during San Francisco Climate Week on April 25th. Winners and finalists gain access to the GWMP’s interconnected programs for funding, capacity building, and visibility support, helping global changemakers scale their science-based solutions to decarbonize the planet. ”

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