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Resilience in a Summer of Weather Extremes

August 17, 2023 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm PDT

Resilience in a Summer of Weather Extremes

What can we learn from a summer of raging wild fires, soaring heat waves, and devastating flooding to rebuild more resilient communities?

July 2023 has been a month of climate crisis around the world, raging wild fires, soaring heat waves, and devastating flooding. What can we learn from this moment to rebuild more resilient communities moving forward? In this webinar, Sustainable Herbs Program Director, Ann Armbrecht, will speak with Elizabeth Sawin, Biologist and Founder and Director of the Multisolving Institute, and Amy Seidl, Ecologist and Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont, about how we can respond to this moment in time.

The future we have been warned about is here – and demands an immediate response. Yet our lives are enmeshed in systems that will take time to rebuild. That tension can either lead to paralysis, as we fall back to old ways of doing things, or it can be an opportunity to restructure.

In this webinar, the speakers will talk about that tension and explore some of the questions that seem most pressing at this time:

• What can we do now to invest in the institutions – social, economic, ecological, and cultural – that will get through these crises now and in the future?

• How can we re-imagine these institutions so that they allow human and natural communities to thrive over the longterm?

The speakers all live in Vermont, a region of the US which has undergone devastating flooding. They will address specific ideas about what can be done here. But they will speak more broadly about what is common in so many of these crises, and the lessons that can be learned about what allows us to do the re-imagining that is called for.


Elizabeth Sawin is the Founder and Director of the Multisolving Institute. Beth is an expert on solutions that address climate change while also improving health, well-being, equity, and economic vitality. She developed the idea of ‘multisolving’ to help people see and create the conditions for such win-win-win solutions. Beth writes and speaks about multisolving, climate change, and leadership in complex systems for both national and international audiences. She has trained and mentored global sustainability leaders in the Donella Meadows Fellows Program and provided systems thinking training to both Ashoka and Dalai Lama Fellows.

Since 2014, Beth has participated in the Council on the Uncertain Human Future, a continuing dialogue on issues of climate change and sustainability among a select group of humanities scholars, writers, artists, and climate scientists. Beth is also a member of the advisory board to the Kresge Foundation’s Climate Change Health and Equity Program. A biologist with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Beth co-founded Climate Interactive in 2010 and served as Climate Interactive’s Co-Director from 2010 until 2021. While at Climate Interactive, she led the scientific team that offered the first assessment of the sufficiency of country pledges to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Beth also led Climate Interactive’s efforts to integrate measures of equity, health and well-being into decision support tools and computer simulations. Beth trained in system dynamics and sustainability with Donella Meadows and worked at Sustainability Institute, the research institute founded by Meadows, for 13 years. She has two adult daughters and lives in rural Vermont where she and her husband grow as much of their own food as they can manage.

Amy Seidl is Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont. Her courses include Introduction to Environmental Studies; Sustainability Science; Teaching About the Environment; Adaptation to Climate Change, and Environmental Literature of the Anthropocene. She is a member of the General Education Committee on Writing and Information Literacy (WILD), the Socially Responsible Investment Advisory Committee, and is a UVM fellow in Service-Learning and Sustainability. Amy has also overseen the internship program in Environmental Studies, including the Capstone Internship Program completed by senior students for graduation.

Dr. Seidl is the author of two books on climate change, Early Spring: Waking to a Warming World (2009) and Finding Higher Ground: Adaptation in the Age of Warming (2011), both from Beacon Press. In 2010 Amy received a “Best of the Best” award for Early Spring from the Association of Academic and University Presses In 2016 she was awarded the Marcia Caldwell Award for her dedication to students and in 2017 she was awarded the Lynn Bond Faculty Award for Service-Learning. Dr. Seidl received a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Vermont and a Masters degree in Entomology from Colorado State University. She lives in Huntington, Vermont with her husband and two daughters.




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