Back in late May, 2016 I participated in One Young World’s first ever Expert Event, Environment Summit 2016 in Tucson, Arizona. The Summit gathered delegates from around the world to encourage networking, discussions and debates on environmental and global issues.
Hosted at the University of Arizona Biosphere 2 and Environmental Resources 2 Building (ENR2) these two spaces were perfect because they showed Tucson’s commitment to the environment and inspired delegates to want to solve our planet’s pressing issues.
At the time I was managing Biosphere 2’s social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Biosphere 2 and myself wanted to promote the Summit through increasing awareness and registration. This included research, strategizing and executing of posts which gave details on the agenda, world-wide speakers, breakout sessions, venues, lodging and registration.
On the first night of the Summit I traveled with the delegates on a large bus to Biosphere for check-in and dinner on the main lawn.
As the social media manager I carried lots of equipment with me which included my DSLR camera, batteries, laptop, iTouch, cell phone and a note book. I started capturing photos for live posts and continued to do so throughout the day. As dinner got closer the weather cooled with beautiful sunset colors visible through Biosphere 2’s Rainforest glass pyramid. I spent about 30 minutes eating a delicious catered dinner and as the night progressed I photographed everyone networking, posted live and jotted down important information. As I made my way through crowds, once-in-a-while I got the chance to talk briefly with some of the delegates and world-wide experts.
As dinner concluded One Young World founders Kate Robertson and David Jones welcomed delegates to the Summit. Tucson’s Mayor, Johnathan Rothschild; Distinguished Professor, Thomas R. Brown; and Dean of College of Science at the University of Arizona, Joaquin Ruiz welcomed delegates to Arizona, shared their hopes for the Summit and visions for Biosphere 2.
On the second day panels and keynote speeches were hosted at ENR2’s main theatre.
The world-wide experts included those in politics, business, science, art and entertainment, such as, US Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, Christine Harada; former NASA astronaut and humanitarian, John Baker; polar explorer and UN Goodwill Ambassador for Youth, Robert Swan; and several more. While multi-tasking for social media, occasionally I observed the delegates taking notes, photos and showing signs of engagement.
The speeches were informative and inspiring in addressing environmental and global issues. World-wide experts shared the many different ways they are involved in helping the environment and our planet. It really proved that whatever one’s hobbies and interests are, they can be applied to their passion to address problems facing the Earth. After speeches delegates had the opportunity to engage further with the world-wide experts by asking follow-up questions.
The last of the summit took place at Biosphere 2. Delegates took their inspiration gained from the earlier presentations, shared their newfound ideas and problem-solved to address environmental and global issues.
These breakout sessions were held by some of the world-wide experts, whom acted as guides and mentors for the delegates. The discussions with mentors and delegates focused on ways companies and countries undertook environmental issues while others highlighted problems, such as, water scarcity, deforestation and coral erosion.
While the delegates participated in breakout sessions including workshops, I continuously photographed, audio recorded and jotted down important memos. I spent some time capturing a few of the exclusive tours that Biosphere 2 provided for the delegates. Two included close encounters with Biosphere 2’s desert wildlife in the Desert and swimming in the Ocean. During the close encounter I got the chance to touch a rattle snake and gila monster and dip my toes into the Ocean water! The delegates were having such a good time, that I offered to photograph them with their own devices so they could save the memories too, which they were all thankful for.
The last day came to a close with a catered dinner out on the lawn. We saw a special concert performance by Sekou Andrews, an actor and poet. He mixed his passion for poetry with lyrics that inspired the delegates to take their gained knowledge of the environment and global issues, seek networks and form collaborative groups to take action.
Managing Biosphere 2’s social media for the One Young World Environment Summit 2016 gave me the opportunity to meet and be surrounded by so many delegates and world-wide experts that were making impacts in our society. Having the Summit in Tucson not only encouraged the delegates and myself to take action but reminded the local community of what we could all be doing more of to address environmental and global issues facing our planet. When I later reviewed all the photos I took, it was great seeing now familiar faces of those I met.
You can learn more about Biosphere 2 and the One Young World Environment Summit 2016 at the following websites: