You migrate into the Center for the Arts and, chatting with other attendees, pick up your registration packet and trickle into the auditorium. After a few opening remarks from SHIFT Executive Director and Board Chair, the mic is turned over to Dr. Christopher Golden, an epidemiologist and ecologist from Harvard who has spent over two decades investigating how global environmental trends affect human health.
Through the lens of his work in Madagascar and the South Pacific, Dr. Golden discusses “ the human health impacts of rapid environmental change”. It’s spell-binding, and deeply sobering to realize how closely intertwined we are with our planet.
SHIFT is all about evidence, frameworks and action, and the winner of the 2019 SHIFT Awards exemplify that; how we all can enact positive change in our communities. Each leader takes the mic for a few minutes to present their work that was selected for it’s innovation, impact and replicability. They’re models for how organizations, healthcare, cities, and people can operate for maximum positive benefits to health and the environment.
Their work is incredible, and kindles a fire of hope and gratitude for humanity.
You leave with some of the folks around you – a forest service manager, a nurse, and a climber-lawyer – all feeling uplifted by the work people are doing to make the world a better place. It’s a short walk to Snake River Brewing to grab a bite to eat, some craft beer, and mingle with the Emerging Leaders and other attendees.
Seated back in the gorgeous Center for the Arts Theater, the director, Sylvie Rokab, presents her film Love Thy Nature. The recipient of 27 awards and narrated by Liam Neeson, the film explores how a new era of nature-connection might soon be dawning: “Biomimicry” scientists look to the natural world for the most brilliant inventions, social ecologists unveil how nature restores our communities, and doctors are finding new ways in which nature heals the body, mind, and brain.
Afterwards, spilling out into the crisp October night, you meander back to Snow King with the people you met at happy hour; feeling the warm glow of optimism and solidarity of people coming together for a common cause.