MADISON, WI – On October 17, from 8am to 5pm at Monona Terrace in Madison, the Wisconsin Academy will host Climate Fast Forward, a climate action conference focused on establishing effective solutions for Wisconsin. This is a unique conference which focuses on conference attendee participation to create a climate change action plan. In addition to experts working in climate-related fields, the Academy invites concerned community members who are and will continue to be most impacted by the effects of climate change. Registration is open and information is available at wisconsinacademy.org/cff.
Climate Fast Forward takes a direct-democracy approach to engagement at the conference. Participants spend most of the day in professionally facilitated sessions where they work together to commit to immediate and long-terms actions for addressing climate change in Wisconsin. These actions will be compiled into a plan for the state, which will be completed and published by early 2023.
“The recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act has created a perfect opportunity for changemakers from across the state to come together at this conference and organize climate change action,” said Academy Environmental Initiatives Director Lizzie Condon. “Climate Fast Forward is designed to solicit input and commitments from conference attendees on how our state will move forward on climate change action.”
“When you co-create ideas in community, an energy for action builds,” said Climate Fast Forward lead facilitator Darin Harris. Harris is the co-founder of the organizational and leadership development company Living Giving Enterprises.
“Climate Fast Forward is not a sit-and-get conference! It’s about participants being immersed in creative conversations that end in specific actions. It’s about people participating in a creative and collaborative experience to make a difference on climate change.”
Facilitated sessions at the conference are centered around five themes: Climate Justice & Community Resilience; Green Jobs & the New Economy; Natural & Working Landscapes; The Built Environment; and the Indigenous-led session Traditional Perspectives on the Environment. Sessions are guided by track leaders who are experts in these areas.
This is the Academy’s second time holding a Climate Fast Forward conference. The first was held in 2019 and brought over 300 people to Monona Terrace to crowdsource solutions for climate change. Many of the recommendations that came out of the 2019 conference were reiterated in Governor Tony Evers’ Task Force on Climate Change report and other climate change plans in Wisconsin.
The theme for Climate Fast Forward 2022 is “accelerating transformational change.” With this theme, Academy conference organizers are focused on taking stock of the progress Wisconsin has made on climate issues since 2019, and moving forward on the steps still needed to protect Wisconsin people and environments from the worsening impacts of climate change.
“The Academy wants to make sure that Wisconsinites who have been historically left out of climate change action decisions are represented and heard at the conference, not just professionals who are paid to work on these issues,” said Condon. “In particular we are seeking participation from rural Wisconsinites and BIPOC, including Tribal Nations members.”
A non-partisan convener, the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters focuses on topics that are a priority in Wisconsin and have the power to improve life in the state. The Academy’s programming has included an environmental focus for over 20 years.