Excitement Building for Bright Ideas Keynote, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

posted by Kristen Weaverling on Monday, September 28, 2020

With my social calendar effectively cleared for the foreseeable future, I’ve been left me with more downtime than usual. Much of that time has been spent scrolling through my social media accounts, searching for content to help me feel plugged-in, connected, and informed. With social justice and environmental issues at the forefront of media coverage this year, much of that reading has surrounded those very topics.

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

To my surprise, this new routine became extremely relevant during a work meeting where it was announced that Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson would keynote IEC’s Bright Ideas Breakfast event. It took me a minute or two to connect the dots, but it wasn’t long until I had that “ah-ha!” moment and realized that she was the respected author of several articles I’d just come across.

For those of you not familiar with her work, Dr. Johnson is a reputable marine biologist, decorated writer, and self-proclaimed “policy nerd” whose work has been featured in publications like TIME, Washington Post, and Scientific American to name a few. Last week saw the release of All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, a collection of works authored by women working in the climate movement which she co-edited. I for one can’t wait to receive a copy of the book as a part of the Bright Ideas event ticket package. 

In what feels like a lifetime ago, but was just earlier this year, she served on the Warren campaign as a policy advisor, where she co-created the Blue New Deal – a revolutionary roadmap for the inclusion of the oceans into climate policy. The proposal pushes policymakers to recognize and harness the potential of our oceans, assuring the emergence of a “Blue Economy” by doing so.

All We Can Save - Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

To add to her laundry list of projects, she recently launched the aptly named podcast, How to Save a Planet, which she co-hosts alongside journalist Alex Blumberg where they discuss climate-related challenges and solutions. This podcast has been added to my rotation, and I look forward to newly released episodes each week.

To say I’m excited to have her as the Bright Ideas keynote would be an understatement. I’m ecstatic to hear Dr. Johnson speak to the interconnectedness between Iowa’s clean energy landscape and her efforts on the coast. I’ve gotten to know her voice through her work – and can’t wait to hear the insight and clarity she brings to the clean energy conversation here in Iowa.

Join me at the Bright Ideas Breakfast - now virtual and now for lunch! - on Wednesday, October 7. Get details on tickets at iaenvironment.org/brightideas. I look forward to being inspired with you!

  1. clean energy
  2. climate change
  3. renewable energy

About The Author

Kristen Weaverling joined the Iowa Environmental Council in 2020 as a Clean Energy Field Organizer and is now in the role of the Energy Communications Coordinator. In her prior role, she spent several years implementing energy efficiency programs for small business customers on behalf of utility ... read more