Climate change carries no passport and knows no national borders.” – Ban Ki-Moon, former U.N. Secretary General

The International Relations Council in Kansas City proudly presents ” Climate Crisis: The Global Issue that Defines Our Era,” a dynamic six-part lecture series designed to engage, educate, and inspire action on some of the most pressing global environmental issues of our time. Over the summer and fall months, we will be exploring the climate crisis through six sub-topics, designed to look at this field and its global implications through unique perspectives. This series will feature a diverse array of experts, from conservationists and scientists to policymakers and corporate leaders, who will share their insights and experiences on critical topics that affect our planet and its inhabitants. This program series will be centered around the global effects, catalysts, and trends around the climate crisis, as well as their local impacts in Kansas City and beyond.

Please click on the program of interest below for more information and a link to register.

Please check back as additional participants are confirmed.

The illegal wildlife trade is decimating flora and fauna across the world. Some of the most charismatic animals, such as elephants and rhinos, as well as many lesser-known species are vulnerable to organized exploitation, undermining complex ecosystems already stressed by climate change and habitat loss.

The illegal trade in wildlife commodities also poses significant challenges to national security. Highly organized international criminal syndicates that are involved in wildlife trafficking are often also involved in drug trafficking, human smuggling, and other crimes.

In this program, acclaimed journalist Rachael Bale and a panel of experts will explore the scope of illegal wildlife trade and the international policies, advances in technology, and frontline enforcement actions that are part of a global effort to combat poaching, trafficking, and the demand for illegally traded wildlife and wildlife products.

Register here.

As climate change accelerates, millions of people around the world are being displaced by rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and environmental degradation. This lecture focuses on the human dimension of climate change, examining the plight of climate refugees. Through relevant examples, powerful case studies and expert analysis, attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by those forced to relocate and the complex legal, social, and economic issues involved.

This virtual lecture program will be delivered by Manuel Marques Periera (Head of Division – Migration, Environment and Climate Change at International Organization of Migration), a leading expert on the intersection of migration & climate change delivering his remarks live from IOM Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Register here.

Climate change and biodiversity loss are two of the most critical environmental issues of our time, and they are deeply interconnected. This lecture will explore how climate change exacerbates biodiversity loss and how the degradation of ecosystems, in turn, accelerates climate change. With the help of local ecological experts, and with a mixture of local and global case studies, this lecture will take stock of the challenges regarding the loss of biodiversity, explore potential solutions, and discuss what the average citizen can do to help.

The panel will consist of Dr. Shari Wilson, a local biodiversity expert and educator and Dr. Jorge Soberon (University Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Director of the Biodiversity Institute, University of Kansas), and Amy Shields, who serves as the Supervisor of the Standards and Water Quality Branch in EPA Region 7’s Water Division in Lenexa, Kansas

This program will be moderated by Celia Llopis-Jepsen, host of KCUR’s Up From Dust podcast.

Register here.

The intersection of sustainability and business development spans across a vast number of sectors, including three with exemplify Kansas City’s status as a global leader in innovation. This panel discussion will focus on wastewater treatment, agriculture, and architecture through the lens of how these sectors exemplify sustainability in their respective industries. This program will be hosted at the campus of Johnson County Community College, in a collaborative effort which will spotlight the innovations at JCCC’s Center for Sustainability.

Two panelists for this session have been confirmed: Robert Rebori, President/CEO of Bio-Microbics will be talking about his company’s wastewater treatment technologies, Dominique Davison of DRAW Architecture will talk about sustainability being at the forefront of building design, and then a third panelist will be invited from Kansas City’s Animal Health Corridor to speak about the intersection of sustainability efforts in the agriculture industry.

This program will be moderated by Logan Heley, Overland Park City Councilman and Executive Director of Heartland Conservation Alliance.

Register here.

Climate anxiety is fundamentally distress about climate change and its impacts on the landscape and human existence. That can manifest as intrusive thoughts or feelings of distress about future disasters or the long-term future of human existence and the world, including one’s own descendants. Climate anxiety is a growing trend, particularly amongst younger generations, and is yet another example of how the climate crisis has profound, far-reaching effects that matter to millions.

We will present this program as a lecture program featuring a single expert, Dr. Elizabeth Haase (Medical Director of Psychiatry for both Carson Tahoe Hospital and Behavioral Health Services in Carson City, Nevada, Climate and Health Committee Chair, GAP (Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, Climate Psychiatry Expert)

Register here.

The series concludes on a hopeful note, with a focus on solutions and the path forward. This panel discussion will be centered around innovative ways to combat the climate crisis which are taking place within the Kansas City metropolitan area, ways in which children are being introduced to the concepts of health, wellness, the environment, and the duty of care our population has towards the environment, as well as the ways in which city and county officials are making strategic plans to combat the climate crisis.

This program will look at solutions on a variety of scales, on the individual level (though a curriculum director at Primrose Schools of Lee’s Summit discussing the ways which environmentalism informs their entire school curriculum), the community level (Max Kaniger of Kanbe’s Markets discussing his organization and its programs designed to improve food access while reducing food waste on a community wide scale) and on a regional scale (through Jason Humphrey, VP of Renewables Development at Evergy) to discuss the ways a major energy company in the Midwest is forging a path towards a bright, sustainable future). Kaitlyn Lloud of Primrose Schools of Lee’s Summit will discuss the way environmental curriculum is taught.

This program will be moderated by Andy Savastino, Chief Environmental Officer at the City of Kansas City, MO – who will give an update on Kansas City’s Climate Action & Resilliency Plan directly following the panel discussion.

Register here.