After much anticipation and planning, the 2018 Planet Forward Summit began with a bang. The day started out in the Jack Morton Auditorium with an introductory video by George Washington University senior Laura Whaling. Featuring footage from Planet Forward’s trip to the Amazon last summer, Storyfest finalist Olivia Urbanski’s video of Sudan — the last male Northern White Rhino who passed away on March 20, and Alaine Johnson reporting from Singapore, the video set the stage for two days of good storytelling and excitement.
Frank Sesno, founder of Planet Forward and host of the conference, warmly welcomed the audience to the kickoff of a killer summit. Now more than ever, he said, we need to find ways to “communicate and connect, to engage public audiences.” In a politically divided time, these stories will provide a uniting platform on which a divided population can engage in conversation. “You will simply do better if you can communicate,” Sesno said.
Tom Lovejoy, the “Godfather of Biodiversity” and founder of Camp 41, a research camp located in the heart of the Amazon, stepped up on stage for a short conversation with Sesno. Lovejoy sees the earth and environment as not just a physical system, but a linked physical system, and he believes it crucial for humanity to recognize this fact in order to move the planet forward.