People & Planet: Conversation Series

The phrase People and Planet conversations that make connections on a blue background with interconnected nodes.

Join us for a series of conversations exploring the many intersections of our changing global climate and the human and natural systems that also shape our world. Past topics include the planetary health framework, resilient food systems, drinking water contamination – and the connection between biodiversity loss and emerging infectious disease.

These conversations are free and open to all. Registration is requested to receive Zoom link.

All events will be streamed via Zoom and recorded.

We hope you can join us! Questions? Ideas? Drop us a line at

Spring 2024 Conversations

Tuesday, February 27, 12:00 p.m. CT, Virtual

As winter transforms the landscapes of the Upper Midwest lakes region, an undeniable shift is underway leaving its mark on the iconic winter scenes that have long defined the region. 

Once predictable winter patterns are evolving, posing unique challenges – from shifting snowpack dynamics and fluctuating ice cover to the changes in seasonal precipitation. Monitoring change, such as temperature and precipitation, is essential for understanding and addressing the myriad impacts on both the environment and the communities within this snow-covered realm.

Join Jay Austin, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Large Lakes Observatory, University of Minnesota – Duluth and Steve Shier, Climate Specialist, 1854 Treaty Authority for a discussion with Dr. Julie Etterson, Institute on the Environment – Duluth Director and Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Department of Biology, University of Minnesota – Duluth on:

  • How the noticeable effects of climate change around Lake Superior and the interior of the Ceded Territory’s region will impact communities,
  • The ongoing benefits from monitoring and collecting long term data,
  • Linkage between changes in seasonal phenology,
  • And more!

Monday, March 18,
12:00 p.m. CT, Virtual

University structures are often designed to offer degree specialization, however siloing knowledge and ways of knowing can hinder the cross-pollination of ideas and innovations. Entities like the University’s Institute for Advanced Study, Liberal Arts Engagement Hub, and the Institute on the Environment create intentional platforms for interdisciplinary work.

Within these spaces and others like them, scholars, researchers, artists, community members, students, and others can converge, bringing varied perspectives and methodologies to the multifaceted challenges facing our planet and people. Accessible grant funding, interdisciplinary teaching, and community-driven projects help spark both relationships and collaborative work.

Join Dr. Amelious N. Whyte, Jr., Interim Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota; Christine Baeumler, Professor and Chair, Department of Art, University of Minnesota, and IonE Fellow; and Laurie Moberg, Editor of Open Rivers, Institute for Advanced Study, and IonE Associate, for a discussion with Julie Hanus, IonE’s Director of Strategic & Public Interest Communications, as they explore the dynamic synergy between creativity and applied research within community engaged scholarship, including:

  • the opportunities and gaps surrounding interdisciplinary work,
  • best practices and lessons learned,
  • how teaching approaches have expanded to include this interdisciplinary mindset; 
  • And more!

Wednesday, April 24,
12:00 p.m. CT, Virtual

Join us for a special Earth Month discussion featuring Fayola Jacobs, Assistant Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and IonE Associate; Grant Domke*, Research Forester, U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and IonE Fellow; Heidi Roop, Director of Climate Adaptation Partnership, Assistant Professor, Extension Specialist, and IonE Associate; Dr. Melissa Kenney, Director of Research and Knowledge Initiatives, Institute on the Environment, and IonE Fellow; and Sara Smith, Midwest Tribal Resilience Liaison, College of Menominee Nation, of the Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) report as they share their top takeaways relevant to the Midwest region – including what we know at this time and what solutions give us evidence-based hope.

*Grant Domke will no longer be able to join us live for this event conversation on April 24.