Thirsting for Water

Saturday, September 17, 2022 - 9:00am



Videos from the Thirsting for Water event, September 17, 2022:

Morning session: Peter Backlund

Morning session: Eugene Kelly, Rev. Joshua Bruns, Kurt Rager

Afternoon session: Peter Severson, Senator Chris Hansen, personal actions panel

Bishop Jim Gonia's closing message


PowerPoint presentations from the Thirsting for Water event, September 17, 2022:

Dr. Ryan Cumming, ELCA World Hunger: Finding Our Way in God's Creation

Peter Backlund, CSU: Climate Change in Colorado

Eugene Kelly, CSU: Climate Change in Colorado

Senator Chris Hansen, Colorado Legislature: The Colorado Approach to Just Transition


Speaker Bios from the Thirsting for Water event, September 17, 2022:

Sen. Chris Hansen is the Senator for Colorado Senate District 31 and Co-Founder of Colorado Energy & Water Institute. He specializes in energy sector economics and data analytics, with 20 years of experience in the global energy industry. He was formerly the Representative for House District 6 from 2017-2019, representing the east-central neighborhoods of Denver. He currently serves on the Joint Budget Committee. During his time in the State Senate, he has served on the Finance, Appropriations, and State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committees. Throughout his tenure in the Colorado House of Representatives, Hansen served on the Capital Development, House Transportation & Energy, Appropriations, and Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources committees, and as Chair on the House Appropriations Committee. In addition to his current role in the state senate, Hansen serves as the Co-Founder and Director of Programming at the Colorado Energy & Water Institute, and as Co-Founder of the Colorado Science and Engineering Policy Fellowship.


Peter Backlund is the Associate Director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University. Mr. Backlund has devoted his career to the planning, management and leadership of complex interdisciplinary research activities. His interests include the interactions of environmental, societal, and economic factors in sustainability; the relationship of human activities and environmental changes; assessment of climate change risks, impacts and response strategies; use of scientific research for decision-making and public policy; development and use of information and observational technologies; and improving the communication of scientific information to non-technical audiences. Mr. Backlund has helped lead assessments of the effects of climate change on land resources, water resources, biodiversity, agriculture, and global food security. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a recipient of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Abraham Lincoln Honor Award for exceptional achievement and outstanding contribution to American agriculture.


Dr. Eugene Kelly is a Professor of Pedology, Deputy Director of the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station and serves as the Associate Dean for Extension for the College of Agricultural Sciences (CSU). Dr. Kelly conducts research and lectures nationally and internationally on various aspects of soils as related to global change issues. His scientific specialization is in Pedology and Geochemistry with primary interests in the biological weathering of soil and studies of soil degradation and global biogeochemical cycles. His current research is centered on Global Soil Degradation and fundamental role of grasslands in global biogeochemical cycles. 

  • Dr. Ryan Cumming, Director of Education, ELCA World Hunger
  • Rev. Joshua Bruns, Pastor of Covenant Lutheran Church, Wheatland, Wyoming
  • Rev. Bonita Bock, former Professor & Director of Wartburg College West


Day's Agenda at a Glance:

9:00 a.m.  -  Gather, Welcome, Orientation to the Day

9:30 a.m.  -  Theological Reflection: How do we relate to creation? (Dr. Ryan Cumming, ELCA World Hunger)

10:10 a.m.  -  State of the Climate in the Western United States (Peter Backlund, CSU)

10:50 a.m.  -  The Impact of a Changing Climate on Agriculture (Dr. Gene Kelly, CSU)

11:30 a.m.  -  The View from Rural Wyoming (Rev. Joshua Bruns)

12:15 p.m.  -  Lunch

1:00 p.m.  -  What is "Just Transition"? (Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy)

1:20 p.m.  -  Building Political Will to Act (Sen. Chris Hansen)

2:00 p.m.  -  Panel Discussion: What Can I Do?

2:20 p.m.  -  Closing Q&A

2:40 p.m.  -  Closing Message & Sending (Bishop Jim Gonia)

3:00 p.m.  -  End


Recommended reading & resources for Thirsting for Water:

Climate Change & Drought

Lutherans and Care for Creation

Personal Responsibility and Actions

Books & Reference List

  • A Perfect Moral Storm:The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change (2013) Gardiner, Stephen M.
  • Braiding Sweetgrass – Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants (2013) Kimmerer, Robin Wall
  • Climate Church, Climate World: How People of Faith Must Work for Change (2018) Antal, Jim
  • On Fire:The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal (2019) Klein, Naomi