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The Future of Sustainable Travel | American Swedish Institute

January 28 @ 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

With Starlight Williams (National Geographic), Julia Cosgrove (AFAR), and Sara Clemence (The Wall Street Journal). Moderated by Kate Nelson.

How does the climate crisis impact our relationship to travel? The worsening effects of climate change have made decarbonization a top priority for the global travel and tourism industry, which accounts for between 8 and 11 percent of the world’s emissions. Travel activity is expected to increase by 85 percent from 2016 to 2030, accelerating the already outsized impact of the sector.

While reducing demand for travel may be part of the answer, what are the other ways individual travelers and the industry at large can make more sustainable choices—and potentially create value while doing so?

Join us for this engaging conversation among three top travel journalists from outlets including AFAR, National Geographic, and The Wall Street Journal about their predictions, research, and trends on the topic of sustainable travel, as well as frameworks travelers can consider when deciding how and when to travel in the future.

About the panelists:

Starlight Williams, a National Geographic travel editor, focuses her work on conservation, accessible adventures, and cultural and paranormal tourism. Before joining National Geographic as a research editor in 2018, Starlight worked as a staff reporter, covering education, business, and city government at Community Impact Newspaper in Texas and as a culture and festival contributor for The Times-Picayune and When not on the hunt for engaging story ideas, you can find Starlight on her yoga mat working on her niyamas and yamas.

Julia Cosgrove is Vice President and Editor in Chief of AFAR, the critically acclaimed travel media brand that makes a positive impact on the world through high-quality storytelling that inspires, enriches, and empowers travelers who care. AFAR launched in San Francisco in 2009 with AFAR magazine and Learning AFAR, a nonprofit foundation that has funded trips abroad and in the U.S. for more than 1,000 underserved high-school students. In its print magazine, digital platform, and podcast, AFAR’s credo is consistent: Travel can be a radical force for good for the planet, local communities, and travelers.

Under Julia’s leadership, AFAR is the only brand to win a Lowell Thomas Award every year since launch and the only travel brand to be a National Magazine Award finalist for General Excellence across both print and digital. In 2018 Julia made the Folio: 100 list of the most influential people in magazine and digital media. Julia speaks frequently to large audiences about travel, and she has led panels, interviewed industry leaders, and delivered keynote addresses at the Travel Classics conference, the Society of American Travel Writers Editors’ Council, the Skift Global Forum, the IMAG Conference, the Women’s Travel Fest, the Family Travel Association Summit, the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, the Public Relations Society of America Travel and Tourism Section Conference, the State of Washington Tourism’s Responsible Outdoor Travel Summit, U.S. Travel’s Future of Travel Mobility conference, and more.

Prior to launching AFAR in 2009, Julia was a writer and editor at media companies big and small, including Time Out, BusinessWeek, and ReadyMade. A graduate of Barnard College, Julia has taught magazine writing and design at the at Stanford University. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and two daughters.

Sara Clemence is the former travel editor for The Wall Street Journal and news director at Travel + Leisure. Now she is a freelance writer about travel, real estate, business, gender issues, lifestyle and other topics. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Esquire, Conde Nast Traveler, Bloomberg, Fast Company, Inc, The Washington Post, Travel + Leisure, New York Post, and many other outlets. She’s also the author of Away & Aware: A Field Guide to Mindful Travel.

Sara’s first journalism job was at the Anniston Star in Alabama, where she covered chemical weapons and environmental issues. (She also spent a memorable New Year’s Day typing up obituaries).

Sara was raised in New York City and graduated from Hunter College High School, Johns Hopkins, and Columbia School of Journalism.

An Alaska Native Tlingit tribal member, Kate Nelson is an award-winning writer and editor based in Minneapolis. She is the editor-in-chief of Artful Living, a top independent boutique lifestyle magazine. A proven leader and visionary in consumer publishing, she is one of the youngest female chief editors in the Twin Cities market. In addition to her work at Artful Living, Kate focuses on telling the stories of BIPOC change makers. Her writing has appeared in top publications including Esquire, ELLE, Architectural Digest, Bustle, Saveur and more.


January 28
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Event Category:


American Swedish Institute
2600 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55407 United States
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