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Date(s) - April 2, 2024
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm


This thought-provoking panel will discuss the intersection of climate change and democracy, focusing on the pressing issues of climate refugees and environmental justice. As the world faces unprecedented environmental challenges, negative impacts fall disproportionately on the poor and millions of people are forced to flee their homes due to rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and other climate-related disasters. Panelists will shed light on the effects of climate challenges on democratic systems of governance and the vital role of democracy in addressing the plight of climate refugees and fostering a more sustainable and just future.


Peter Backlund, Associate Director, School of Global Environmental Sustainability, Colorado State University
Peter Backlund has devoted his career to the planning, management and leadership of complex research organizations. His interests include the relationship of human activities, climate change, and other environmental changes; assessment of climate change impacts, vulnerabilities and response strategies; development and use of information and observational technologies for environmental research and education; use of scientific research for decision-making and public policy; and improving the communication of scientific information to non-technical audiences. Backlund was a senior advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 1995-2001 and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Max Boykoff, Professor, Environmental Studies, University of Colorado Boulder
Max Boykoff is a professor in the Environmental Studies Department at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a fellow in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. His interests are in science and environmental communications, science-policy interactions, and political economics and the environment. Boykoff has experience working on six continents, and is a co-author and editor of seven books and edited volumes, along with many articles, reports and book chapters. He earned a Ph.D. in environmental studies at the University of California Santa Cruz, an MBA from the University of Colorado Boulder, and a BS in psychology from The Ohio State University.

Jonna Yarrington, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Colorado State University
Jonna Yarrington is an assistant professor of anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and Geography at Colorado State University. She is a sociocultural and applied anthropologist who researches social, cultural, and economic liabilities of environmental change, including the ways in which practices of ownership, tenancy, and loss of land and houses are affected by anthropogenic climate change. Yarrington has long-term field research experience in the French Caribbean (Haiti, French Guiana) and in coastal and tidewater Virginia, USA.