Sun Valley Forum to feature Antarctic explorer, young climate activists and Carole King


The Sun Valley Forum was introduced in the aftermath of the Beaver Creek Fire in 2013, as part of an effort to build resilience in the Sun Valley community which had been rocked by an abrupt end to the season tourist because of the fire.

As the in-person conference resumes June 6-8 in Ketchum after two years of virtualization due to the pandemic, the nation and the world face its greatest challenges in years: among them: the war in Ukraine and the nuclear instability, climate change which is getting little attention despite devastating wildfires, droughts, hurricanes and floods; daily mass shootings; economic instability and food and housing shortages; the reluctance of political leaders to work together to improve society and the rise of white nationalism.

“We come together when the devastating war on Ukraine, the pandemic and the already visible damage of climate change have highlighted the dangerous consequences of our unsustainable, inequitable and precarious world. We are called to action,” said curator and founder Aimée Christensen. “The Sun Valley Forum has a reputation for catalyzing and accelerating impact, powered by an ambitious, courageous and compassionate community of participants.”

The seventh annual Forum is titled “Shaping the World We Need,” and its mission is to bring together global leaders and innovators to accelerate action for what Christensen says will be a “decisive decade” ahead.

“Two key areas are the transformation of our food and agricultural systems and our energy system, as well as how we should value and invest in nature, which is essential for our well-being,” she added. .

The Forum will take place Monday through Wednesday, June 6-8, at the Argyros Performing Arts Center in Ketchum. Registration is available at, and the event will be streamed live for free for those who wish to watch it virtually.

It will include lectures, round tables, workshops and three films, two of which will be screened free of charge to the public.

Explorer Robert Swan, the first in history to walk to the North and South Poles, will open the Forum with a keynote address entitled “Fragile Beauty” which will include a call to action.

“As an explorer of our polar regions, I see firsthand the urgency to act. In Antarctica last March we had a day of 69.3 degrees above normal, the biggest overshoot on record,” said Swan, who has attended two previous forums.

Other program highlights include a 6 p.m. dinner conversation on Monday, June 6 on environmental activism with singer-songwriter Carole King and Young Climate Leaders and Juliana vs. U.S. Plaintiffs Kelsey Juliana and Vic Barrett.

There will also be working sessions by global food innovators transforming food and agriculture, from cultured meat company Aleph Farms to the Fed by Blue oceans campaign at the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience, which will highlight its new Impact Idaho fund, which provides capital for agribusiness entrepreneurs.

Energy officials from the U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho National Laboratory, Ameresco and Spring Free EV will discuss efforts to build a clean and resilient energy future.

Panel discussions on conserving nature and engaging people to build the future we need will include a session on storytelling with Peter Horton of ‘New Amsterdam’, ‘Grey’s Anatomy and ‘thirtysomething’ and the award-winning filmmaker Holly Morris, who screened her films “Exposure” and “The Babushkas of Chernobyl” at the Sun Valley Film Festival.

There will also be three film screenings open to the public:

  • “Youth vs. Gov” is an award-winning documentary feature about Juliana’s groundbreaking climate lawsuit against the United States, which will be followed by a Q&A with the director, producer and young plaintiffs. 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 5 at the Limelight Hotel. FREE.
  • “Roots So Deep” provides a preview of Episode 1 of a new series on regenerative agriculture that features farmers and ranchers restoring soil. The hour-long show will be followed by a Q&A with award-winning “Carbon Nation” and “Carbon Cowboys” director Peter Byck. 8 p.m. on Monday, June 6, at the Limelight Hotel. FREE.
  • “Exposure” is the award-winning documentary feature of an all-female expedition to the melting North Pole – an expedition that may be the last of its kind, given climate change. Will be followed by a Q&A with its director Holly Morris. 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, Argyros Performing Arts Center. $10.

Speakers include:

    • Jean Oelwang, CEO of Sir Richard Branson’s philanthropic arm, Virgin Unite, on the power of collaboration to drive global change
    • Award-winning architect and designer, Suchi Reddy of Reddymade, on designing the future we need
    • Dr. Ron Dembo, Global Risk Expert, Riskthinking.AI, on climate risk and what it means for investors, asset owners and all of us
    • Gillian Caldwell, Chief Climate Officer, US Agency for International Development, on how the public and private sectors can mobilize capital to address climate change and its impacts on the most vulnerable
    • Mark Campanale, Founder and Executive Chairman, Carbon Tracker on Financing Oil States and Planetary Destruction and How We Can Decarbonize for Peace and Prosperity

To learn more or to register, visit

The first forum, founded by Aimee Christensen and her Sun Valley Institute for Resilience, featured the keynote speaker, U.S. Senator Cory A. Booker. Since then, the Forum has helped inspire, inform and catalyze great projects and investments accelerating the resilience of Sun Valley in Fiji.

Melvin B. Baillie