Chautauqua Climate Change Initiative
Dedicated to exploring the most important issues of our times and stimulating creative responses, Chautauqua Institution is mission-bound to bring sustained focus to perhaps the most consequential issue today, climate change.
Climate change impacts are unfolding across the globe, affecting every community, ecosystem, and institution in ways that have become increasingly more destructive. Urgent action is needed if we hope to avoid the most catastrophic effects of the climate crisis.
This need beckons Chautauqua to use our unparalleled ability to convene, build bridges, establish communities, and encourage deeper intergenerational dialogue around climate change, both during and beyond the Summer Assembly.
The initial phases of the Chautauqua Climate Change Initiative have been funded entirely by philanthropic gifts to Chautauqua from Peter Nosler and Julie Veitch and Jane Batten.
Programs and Events
Climate Focus on Chautauqua’s Stages
Chautauqua Institution is dedicated to the integration of climate issues into its various platforms for engaged dialogue. Such examples during the 2022 Summer Assembly include:
Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Tuesday, July 5 @ 10:45 a.m.
Terry Tempest Williams
Author, The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks
Thursday, July 7 @ 10:45 a.m.
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Author, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants
Thursday, July 7 @ 3:30 p.m.
Chautauqua Green Fondo
Join Green Fondo, the cycling party that engages an energized community and benefits the sustainability revolution. This weekend event takes place at Chautauqua Institution, a non-profit, 750-acre community on Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York. Chautauqua is a community of artists and thinkers dedicated to exploring the best in humanity, and part of that is their effort to address climate change. Cyclists can overnight, enjoy food and drink, and meet new friends and thought leaders. Take a weekend to pedal for the planet in this beautiful part of New York and be part of creating a positive impact for the future. With three route options each day, there’s a sweet ride for seasoned to novice cyclists. Want to join your cyclist friends, but you’re not a cyclist? You can register for the non-cycling option and enjoy the weekend exploring Chautauqua.
Climate Change Channel on CHQ Assembly
Dedicated to exploring the most important issues of our times and stimulating creative responses, Chautauqua Institution is mission-bound to bring sustained focus to perhaps the most consequential issue today, climate change. Our collection of climate lectures showcases Chautauqua’s unparalleled ability to convene intergenerational, cross-disciplinary, and inclusive dialogue around multiple dimensions of the climate crisis. These lectures help inform and drive our own commitments, through the Chautauqua Climate Change Initiative, and we hope they similarly inspire action among our local, national, and global audiences.
About the Director
Mark Wenzler begins his service to Chautauqua Institution as Director of the Climate Change Initiative on June 14, 2021. He works primarily out of the Institution’s Washington, D.C., office while also maintaining a significant presence on the grounds at Chautauqua during each Summer Assembly and otherwise as called for by Climate Change Initiative programs and experiences. Under Mark’s direction, the Climate Change Initiative has three primary areas of focus: education, stewardship and justice.
Before Chautauqua, Mark served as senior vice president for conservation programs at the National Parks Conservation Association, a not-for-profit organization working since 1919 to protect and enhance America’s National Park system for present and future generations. He created and managed multiple programs focused on addressing climate change, air and water pollution, landscape conservation, energy development and sustainability.
Mark also directed the climate and energy programs at the National Environmental Trust (now the Pew Charitable Trust’s Environment Group). He is a lawyer who began his career as a deputy attorney general prosecuting environmental cases for the New Jersey Division of Law, Environmental Practice Group, and later joined the Public Justice legal advocacy organization to represent organizations and communities in pursing environmental justice against polluters.
Mark volunteers as chair of the board of trustees of Experience Learning, a high-alpine wilderness-based nonprofit focusing on experiential learning adventure programs for children and adults. He also volunteers as secretary of the board of directors of Climate Ride, a non-profit that runs multiday cycling and hiking adventures around the globe, raising awareness and funds to fight climate change and advance a just and sustainable future. He previously served as volunteer chair of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Sierra Club.
Mark earned his law degree at Syracuse University, where he also completed a master’s degree in international relations at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, with a focus on economic and environmental policy. He earned his Bachelor of Arts at Providence College. A New Jersey shore native, he resides in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C., with his spouse Dare, daughter Nina and dog Ranger. He is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys backpacking, bike touring, backcountry skiing, paddling, wilderness running and adventure travel.
See how Mark chose to arrive at Chautauqua for the first time:
- Join the new Chautauquans for Sustainability group on Facebook