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Sustainability Conference Features ‘UN Champion of the Earth’  

Gina Bell, Sustainable Communities Coordinator

Oct. 21, 2019 -- For Immediate Release

DUBUQUE, Iowa – The 12th annual Growing Sustainable Communities Conference will bring nearly 500 attendees and a variety of renowned presenters to Dubuque this week including Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist who recently received a 2019 Champions of the Earth Award, the United Nations’ highest environmental honor. 
The conference will be held Wednesday through Friday this week at the Grand River Center in Dubuque. It is the largest and longest-standing sustainability conference in the Midwest. The conference features a variety of sessions and presenters with a wide range of expertise, including representatives from federal, state, and local governments, along with business and academic leaders from across the country. 

Katharine Hayhoe received a 2019 Champions of the Earth Award, the United Nations’ highest environmental honor, in September for her commitment to understanding the effects of climate change and efforts to transform public attitudes. She will deliver the conference’s luncheon keynote address on Friday.  Hayhoe is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Texas Tech University and has devoted her research to understanding how climate change will impact people and the places they live. She evaluates long-term observations, future scenarios, and global models to develop strategies that will reduce the effects of climate change on food, water and infrastructure.  Hayhoe also hosts the PBS digital series “Global Weirding” and has been named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People and Fortune’s 50 World’s Greatest Leaders.

Dr. Lilia A. Abron will deliver Thursday’s keynote luncheon address at the conference. She is the first African-American woman in the nation to earn a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and the first African-American to start an engineering consulting firm focused on the environment and environmental issues.   Jim Shultz will deliver Friday morning’s plenary address.  He is the founder and executive director of The Democracy Center, a non-profit working internationally to strengthen struggles for social, economic, and environmental justice.

The conference agenda and additional information are available at or by calling 563.690.6038.   Keynote-only tickets are available for those interested in attending keynote presentations but not the entire conference.  The conference is sponsored by Crescent Electric Supply Company.

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