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In the face of climate change, building resilience in mountain towns.

Author John Hausdoerffer to address ‘The Future of Wildness’ March 6 at WPL Living through one of the driest winters in living memory, Telluride locals are already worried. We grumble to each other: much less fun on the hill, much less economic activity, much lower rivers and reservoirs. And across the planet, mountain areas are experiencing similar warming and melting, with dire effects downstream. We are living through a gigantic emergency. What can be done?

Come to the Wilkinson Public Library (100 West Pacific Ave.) Tuesday, March 6 at 6 p.m. to hear about a major initiative that addresses just these concerns. Author John Hausdoerffer will lead a discussion on “The Future of Wildness” and read from essays dedicated to wildness in mountain communities from his new co-edited volume Wildness: Relations of People and Place (U of Chicago Press, 2017). He will also introduce a new coalition of mountain towns working to forge global solutions to climate change.Hausdoerffer is the dean of the School of Environment & Sustainability at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, where he also directs the Master in Environmental Management program and serves as a professor of Environmental Sustainability and Philosophy. He is also a fellow with the Center for Humans and Nature in Chicago, where his co-editor Gavin Van Horn works.

Wildness features creative nonfiction essays that explore the spectrum of wildness found in wilderness areas, on working landscapes and in urban communities. The book merges culturally diverse voices to delve into the evolution of “wildness,” including Hausdoerffer and Van Horn, as well as Gary Snyder, Vandana Shiva, Wes Jackson, Robert Michael Pyle, Robin Kimmerer, Aaron Abeyta, Winona LaDuke and Roderick Frazier Nash. In addition to selections from his book, Hausdoerffer will share mountain-focused scenes from his co-produced documentary series “Wildness.”Hausdoerffer will be joined in Telluride by Western State climate action specialists Corrie Knapp and Abel Chavez, as well as representatives of the the Aspen International Mountain Foundation (AIMF) and the Telluride Institute. This newly fashioned team (collectively called the Mountain Resilience Coalition) actively builds an energized network to connect mountain communities for the sharing of resources and solutions to urgent problems.The Mountain Resilience Coalition recently joined over 50 mountain nations at the United Nations Mountain Partnership meeting in Rome, and collectively lead the North and Central American and Caribbean region of the UN Mountain Partnership.
Karinjo Devore, President of AIMF, said AIMF is proud to be selected for the UN Mountain Partnership Steering Committee.

“As Chair of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, we are eager to join our Colorado partners in completing vital projects for our UN region’s mountains,” Devore said.

During Hausdoerffer’s visit to Telluride, he will detail how Telluride Institute and AIMF will help set strategies for Western master’s projects to fulfill, creating results that model possibilities for both the North and Central American and Caribbean region and for all UN Mountain Partnership members.“Mountain regions provide up to 80 percent of water consumed by humans,” Hausdoerffer said. “It is time to look to the world’s mountain communities as beacons of a more sustainable story, stretching from the planet’s headwaters to all communities downstream. We hope to elevate that hope by building support for a global network of place-based mountain projects.”“Our collaboration with Western State Colorado University and the pioneering organization, AIMF, represents a new chapter for the Telluride Institute,” TI President Dan Collins said. “We see our combined efforts as advancing the critical role that mountain communities play in eco-system health. We encourage the public to join us for John Hausdoerffer’s talk at the Library on March 6, which will provide an ideal introduction to the issues.”

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