Sun Valley Institute for Resilience

Change or be changed.

October 9, 2015

Those who dispute climate change are, ‘wrong, uniformed, and are contradicting the data.’

-Russ Brown

Scientist Russ Brown, B.S. & M.S. in Chemical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology formerly of the Allied Chemical Corporation, Idaho National Laboratory, and Argonne National Laboratory, spoke at the Ketchum Community Library Thursday evening, Oct. 8th, an event sponsored by the Environmental Resource Center. The presentation, “Climate Change Dynamics,” was moderated by Sun Valley Institute for Resilience Executive Director Aimee Christensen. Mr. Brown formerly served as the President of the Idaho Alpine Club, Idaho Environmental Council, and Greater Sawtooth Preservation Council.

Mr. Brown’s focus was presenting perspective, and data, on the issue of climate change and how it’s effecting our planet’s future, focusing on carbon, and methane emissions. Climate, which is basically the aggregate study of weather, is changing 100X faster, he says, than the traditional natural occurring planetary climate changes, due to these emissions. Although he didn’t offer suggestions to change the course of this crisis, he did suggest that isolated, accelerated experiments need to be conducted to study long-term effects of carbon and methane emissions. To learn more, he suggests reading the book Ice, Mud and Blood/Lessons from Climate Past, by Chris Turney.


Also, Ms. Christensen mentioned two books that can be resourced to understand the theories from those who doubt that climate change is a reality, Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes, & Erik M. Conway, and This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein.



This Changes Everything is now a documentary film; Ms. Christensen is hopeful the film will be screened in the valley soon.

Check this space for a discussion with Ms. Christensen about a solar energy campaign coming to the Wood River Valley, as well as other ideas her organization is focusing on concerning local renewable energy projects.



Climate Change Talk in Sun Valley

September 30, 2015


“Climate Change Dynamics” by Russ Brown
Thurs., Oct. 8, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

*Aimee Christensen/ Sun Valley Inst. for Resilience
*Community Library

‘Join us for a special presentation on “Climate Change Dynamics” in partnership with the Environmental Resource Center (ERC). This program, led by Russ Brown, will begin with an introduction to the history of our planet’s climate cycles. The presentation will then move into an in-depth exploration of the Earth’s three most recent major climate changes, their effects on Earth’s life, and what this ultimately means for the future of our world. After this engaging 45-minute presentation, Aimee Christensen, Executive Director for the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience, will moderate a Q&A.

Brown has a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology and has previously worked for several corporate and national laboratory research organizations such as the Allied Chemical Corporation, Idaho National Laboratory, and Argonne National Laboratory. He has also served as the President of the Idaho Alpine Club, Idaho Environmental Council and Greater Sawtooth Preservation Council.’

Idaho’s Education Gap

July 16, 2015


Idaho and the education gap:
‘44% of Idaho kids are not ready for kindergarten’
-Sun Valley Institute for Resilience, July 12, 2015

In Idaho: Approx $7,000 per student per year – – $18,000 per inmate
Cost per student vs inmate in Idaho (Source: U.S. Census Data and Vera Institute of JusticeGraphic/CNNMoney

From President Obama:
“One study found that for every dollar we invest in Pre-K, we save at least twice that in reduced crime.”


“Every year, we spend $80 billion to keep folks incarcerated. $80 billion.”

“If we make investments early in our children, we will reduce the need to incarcerate those kids.”

Today, Thursday, July 17th, Obama becomes the first sitting president to see inside a federal prison as he visits the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in Oklahoma. More at

twitter feeds from Senator Cory Booker, Senator Bernie Sanders, and President Obama:

Let me be as clear as I can be: it makes a lot more sense to invest in jobs and education than in more and more jails. -Sen. Sanders

Just Mercy is the best I’ve read this year. -Sen. Booker


Please see and understand how CONSERVATIVES are leading on criminal justice reform: ‪  -Sen. Booker

“For nonviolent drug crimes, we need to lower long mandatory minimum sentences—or get rid of them entirely.”  -President Obama

“We should pass a sentencing reform bill through congress this year.” -President Obama

“On Thursday, I will be the first sitting president to visit a federal prison.” -President Obama

Tragically we have more people in jail today than any other country on earth including China. -Sen. Sanders

“Mass incarceration makes our country worse off—and we need to do something about it.” -President Obama

“If we make investments early in our children, we will reduce the need to incarcerate those kids.” -President Obama

“One study found that for every dollar we invest in Pre-K, we save at least twice that in reduced crime.” -President Obama

“We gotta make sure boys and girls in those communities are loved and cherished and nurtured and invested in.” -President Obama


From Rolling Stone:

‘Ta-Nehisi Coates on Race, Hip-Hop and Being Praised by Toni Morrison’

From the BBC:

‘After being released, US prisoners fine new struggles…’

President Obama:

“Don’t just tag them as future criminals. Reach out to them as future citizens.” 

From NPR:

Georgia Leads a Push to Help Ex-Prisoners Get Jobs


The Solar Boom

July 14, 2015

…with a focus on Solar City recently in Sun Valley for the Sun Valley Institute of Resilience Forum.


Sun Valley Institute for Resilience

July 2, 2015


Inaugural Forum

Sun Valley Forum on Resilience

July 12-13, 2015

Senator Cory A. Booker will open the Forum with a keynote address at 9 a.m.


Where? The Walnut Avenue Mall, Sun Valley Road, Ketchum, Idaho
When? July 12, 2015 9am to 5pm including lunch and a cocktail reception
July 13, 2015 Private session on Impact Investing for Resilience and Partner Organizations meeting
(please email if interested in either, thank you)

A renowned public speaker, Senator Booker will share his insights on resilience from his experience as U.S. Senator and as Mayor of Newark, NJ, including rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy and catalyzing an economic resurgence in Newark. Senator Booker has spent 16 years in public office focused on addressing the vital needs of his constituents and the country by putting partisanship aside to get things done. Senator Booker attended Yale Law School and Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, played football as a tight end for Stanford University and has over 1.5 million Twitter followers. After earning his law degree, Cory moved to Newark, where he served on the Newark City Council and lived for eight years in Brick Towers, a low-income housing complex. He now owns a home and lives in Newark’s Central Ward community.

Leaders in the Wood River Valley of Idaho founded the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience in the Spring of 2015 to ensure the prosperity of this special place for future generations of residents and visitors alike, and to serve as a resource for communities everywhere. Increasing the availability of locally produced energy and food, incenting sustainable water use, and investing in critical infrastructure, such as for communications and health care, will strengthen the resilience of our valley’s economy and quality of life. The first annual Sun Valley Forum brings together global and local resilience leaders to inspire, inform and take action. Hear about innovative public-private partnerships, business models and investment opportunities.

Confirmed speakers include Nancy Kete of the Rockefeller Foundation, Raul Pomares of Sonen Capital, Marco Krapels of SolarCity, Brooks Preston of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Brent Stacey of the Idaho National Laboratory, Gary Dirks of the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, Jennifer Leonard of The CAPROCK Group, Jeff Goodell of Rolling Stone Magazine and Michael Shuman, author of Local Dollars, Local Sense. You may learn more and register to join us at Please note it is first-come, first-served, so arrive early!

Around the world, resilience is rightly receiving increased attention from individuals, businesses, cities, and nations. The very aspects that make the Sun Valley area so special—its relative isolation, its high-desert climate and its major economic driver being recreation and tourism–also leave the region vulnerable from an economic, energy and environmental standpoint. In partnership with leading foundations, academic institutions, corporations and nonprofits, the Institute brings together local and global resources and expertise to strengthen the area’s ability to bounce back from harm to the local economy, whether from wildfires, poor snowfall or global economic conditions, and to serve as a global resource to increase resilience far beyond.

From the Native Americans, miners and ranchers of Sun Valley’s early days to the Union Pacific engineers who built the world’s first chairlift to those who challenge themselves in its mountains and rivers today, Sun Valley is about history and tradition, grit and perseverance, well-being and enjoyment. The risks, assets and values of Sun Valley make it the perfect home for an institute dedicated to resilience.

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