SHIFT Summit to Showcase Sustainability Initiatives from Around North America


The National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, WY. From Oct. 8-10, leaders from communities around North America will converge at the Museum for the SHIFT Summit, which seeks to develop best practices that can be used to sustain the fragile balance between urban places and their adjacent public lands.

SHIFT Festival organizers have announced the full schedule for the 2014 SHIFT Summit. The Summit, which will run from Oct. 8-10, at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, will convene representatives from some of the continent’s most effective and innovative conservation and sustainability initiatives for a forum on best practices.

More information on the Summit may be found here.

Participants include more than 50 representatives from North American communities such as La Paz, Mexico, Martha’s Vineyard, Moab and Nantucket. The mayors of Aspen and Canmore, the CEO of Black Diamond Equipment, and representatives from Aspen Ski Company, Vail Resorts, Powdr Corp and Whistler-Blackcomb are among the long list of sustainability advocates attending.

Christian Beckwith, SHIFT’s director, calls the Summit “a hub of best practices, a network accelerator and a gathering of the tribe” for communities like Jackson Hole. Its goal is to identify and promote proven best practices that foster sustainability in communities around North America.

“No communities in North America are better positioned to understand the fragility of the balance between modern urban life and the adjacent environments than these places,” says Beckwith. “They’re also uniquely positioned to advocate ways to maintain it.”

The Summit is the result of nearly a year of research and planning.

Last autumn, SHIFT’s team of researchers identified 70 communities like Jackson Hole around North America. Within those communities they researched nearly 700 sustainability and conservation initiatives. These were filtered to 140 of the most important efforts, which they then brought to 40 partner organizations in Jackson Hole.

The partners evaluated initiatives pertinent to their fields of expertise on the basis of significance, innovation and replicability. The resulting 50 finalists were awarded the 2014 SHIFT Sustainability Awards and invited to the Summit.

The Summit is organized around three themes: Nature (the natural environment), Culture (the built environment) and Adventure (outdoor recreation). It is being developed around the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. To its participants, it poses the question: Where do we want our communities and public lands to be in the next 50 years, and what steps do we need to take to get there?

On Wednesday, Oct. 8, The SHIFT Summit will begin with a focus on Culture: The Built Environment. Elements of the built environment include food, shelter, energy, transportation, and municipal systems, and represent some of the most important energy and resource sinks within reach of local action.

On Thursday, Oct. 9, The SHIFT Summit continues “Nature.” This track explores the natural environment from three perspectives: how to balance economic, community and environmental priorities; how to engage the next generation of stewards in modern conservation; and how to fund conservation.

On Friday, Oct. 10, the final day of The Summit will focus on “Adventure”—outdoor recreation. The Adventure track will look at ski area sustainability, as well the intersection of land management and outdoor rec, and how today’s outdoor enthusiasts can become tomorrow’s stewards.

“The specific objective for the Summit is to develop a concrete list of proven best practices that communities can use to foster a balanced relationship between the built and adjacent natural environments,” says Beckwith.

The SHIFT Summit, Oct. 8-10, will be hosted at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Click here for ticketing information.

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