2017 Planet Forward Summit

Sustainability and science need storytellers now more than ever.

The 2017 Planet Forward Summit on April 6-7 in Washington, D.C., will focus on how we as students, scientists, communicators, innovators, policymakers and citizens of the earth, communicate to inspire action. The summit will bring everyone together, all in one room, to share inspiring stories, featuring the best storytellers, collaborating to learn what makes an effective environmental story and to celebrate and reward the best environmental storytelling by college students.

The two-day Planet Forward Summit investigates effective sustainability storytelling through the lens of our Storyfest contest categories: character, creativity, science/data, innovation and big ideas. Major topics covered include: food, water, energy, mobility, built environment, and biodiversity. The grand prize winners of our student storytelling contest, Planet Forward Storyfest 2017, will be announced in front of a live audience.

Register here!

Summit Speakers and Participants include:

  • Olorunfunmi Adebajo, Journalist, Nigeria, Mandela Fellow, Young African Leaders Initiative
  • Tobin Asher, Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Stanford University
  • Rachael Baxter, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Conscious Magazine
  • Nana Boakye-Yiadom, Journalist, Ghana, Mandela Fellow, Young African Leaders Initiative
  • Kate Brandt, Sustainability Lead, Google
  • Jamie Hestekin, Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering, University of Arkansas
  • Sydney Gray, Purdue University, Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge
  • Rachel Kalera-Mhango, Times Television, Malawi, Mandela Fellow, Young African Leaders Initiative
  • Robin Kimmerer, Professor; Director, Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, SUNY-ESF
  • Rick Leach, President, World Food Program USA
  • Shawn Lightfoot, Co-Founder, The Fresh Food Factory
  • Tom Lovejoy, "Godfather of Biodiversity"; Professor, George Mason University
  • Elise Michelle Ogle, Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Stanford University
  • Chris Policinski, President and CEO, Land O'Lakes, Inc.
  • Andrew Revkin, Senior Reporter, Climate Change, ProPublica
  • Frank Sesno, Founder and Host, Planet Forward; Director, GW School of Media and Public Affairs
  • Michael Svoboda, Sustainability Minor Director, George Washington University

AGENDA

Jump to Sched for speaker bios and to register for breakout sessions.

Summit Day One: Thursday, April 6, 2017

8:00 AM - NETWORKING BREAKFAST - 2nd floor, GW Media and Public Affairs building (805 21st Street NW)

8:30 AM - WELCOME - Inspiring Stories to Move the Planet Forward - Jack Morton Auditorium (805 21st Street NW)

  • Frank Sesno, founder and host, Planet Forward; Director, GW School of Media and Public Affairs

8:50 AM - PRESENTATION - Character-Driven Stories Can Change The World

  • Speaker to be announced, Discovery Communications
  • Summary: A master storyteller from Discovery shows the best (and worst) of character-driven storytelling, and reveals how effective characters can compel and inspire change.

9:25 AM - STUDENT PRESENTATION

9:30 AM - PRESENTATION - Stories That Last: Native American Traditions of Storytelling

  • Dr. Robin Kimmerer, Director, Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, SUNY-ESF, Scientist, Storyteller
  • Summary: The rich tradition of storytelling in Native cultures has resulted in stories that last — stories of culture, nature, and wisdom that are passed down through many generations. In a crowded digital world, these powerful Native oral traditions of storytelling show how can we can capture the heart and soul of story and incorporate this tradition into our storytelling.

10:05 AM - STUDENT PRESENTATION

10:10 AM - INTERACTIVE - The Reality of Virtual Reality

  • Tobin Asher, Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Stanford University
  • Elise Ogle, Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Stanford University
  • Summary:  Anything is possible with virtual reality. Experts from Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab reveal the connection between people and immersive virtual reality simulations, and take us on a groundbreaking virtual “field trip” to a degraded ocean ecosystem, exposing the power of VR.

10:40 AM - NETWORKING BREAK - 2nd Floor, Media and Public Affairs Building

11:10 AM - PANEL - Best Food Innovation Stories

  • Moderator: Frank Sesno, Planet Forward
  • Chris Policinski, President and CEO, Land O’Lakes, Inc.
  • Rick Leach, President, World Food Program USA
  • Shawn Lightfoot, Co-Founder, The Fresh Food Factory
  • To be announced
  • Summary: What are the scalable and inspiring innovations that can change the world within the next five years? Dive into the story of food innovation with world leaders, farmers and entrepreneurs.

11:50 PM - PRESENTATION - Hey, What’s the Big Idea?

  • Olorunfunmi Adebajo, Journalist, Mandela Fellow
  • Nana Boakye-Yiadom, Journalist, Mandela Fellow
  • Rachel Kalera-Mhango, Journalist, Mandela Fellow
  • Scientist (TBD)
  • Student (TBD)
  • Summary: What are today’s dream teams are working on for the future? How do we tell the story of these ambitious ideas? Frank Sesno will lead a conversation featuring journalists and storytellers from Africa - the world’s fastest changing continent.

12:30 PM - LUNCH & KEYNOTE - GW Marvin Center Ballroom (800 21st St. NW)

  • A conversation with Kate Brandt, Sustainability Lead, Google

2-4:35PM - BREAKOUTS - The District House (2121 H St. NW)

  • 2-3:15
    • Students Moving the Planet Forward
      • Sydney Gray, Purdue University, Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge
      • Planet Forward Correspondents
    • The Power of Narrative in a Video World
      • Rachael Baxter, co-founder, Conscious Magazine
    • Frontiers of Storytelling - Virtual Reality demonstration
      • Tobin Asher, Stanford University
      • Elise Ogle, Stanford University
    • Data Storytelling 101
      • To Be Announced
  • 3:20-4:35 pm
    • Science in the Polarized Era
      • Jamie Hestekin, University of Arkansas
      • To Be Announced
    • 22nd Century Thinking
      • To Be Announced
    • Environmental Photography
      • To Be Announced
    • Mandela Fellows
      • Moderator: Frank Sesno
      • Olorunfunmi Adebajo, Journalist, Mandela Fellow
      • Nana Boakye-Yiadom, Journalist, Mandela Fellow
      • Rachel Kalera-Mhango, Journalist, Mandela Fellow

Summit Day Two: Friday, April 7, 2017

8:30 AM - NETWORKING BREAKFAST - The District House (2121 H St. NW)

9-10:15 AM - BREAKOUTS

  • Escaping Your Bubble - Framing Bridges Across the Political Divide
    • Michael Svoboda, Sustainability Minor Director, George Washington University
    • To Be Announced
  • Character Building: Storytelling to Inspire Social Change
    • To Be Announced
  • Communicating Complexity
    • To Be Announced
  • Ask More: The Power of Questions
    • Frank Sesno

11:00 AM - PRESENTATION + STORYFEST GRAND PRIZE ANNOUNCEMENT - Jack Morton Auditorium

  • Andy Revkin, Senior Reporter, Climate Change, ProPublica
  • Tom Lovejoy, ecologist at George Mason University
  • Summary: Telling the powerful story of climate and our planet; Storyfest Prize Announcement: Five grand prize winners of a biodiversity storytelling expedition to the Brazilian rainforest are revealed.

12:15 PM - LUNCH & NETWORKING

  • Join us in the 2nd floor art gallery for lunch and networking.

1:30 PM - SITE VISITS - Student Site Visit Opportunities in Washington, D.C.

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Want to be a volunteer? Please send your availability to Jack Quinn: info@planetforward.org

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Please contact Stephanie Aboukasm: saboukasm@email.gwu.edu