Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Keynote Conversation

Thursday, March 12, 2020
7 p.m. in Mundelein Auditorium

Keynote conversation with youth climate leaders
moderated by Jerome McDonnell of WBEZ

Twenty-three-year-old Kelsey Juliana is suing the United States government for her constitutional right to a livable planet. Teenager Tokata Iron Eyes organizes and advocates for indigenous rights and against fossil fuel interests as part of the Standing Rock Youth. Across the country, the climate crisis has mobilized young people to action.

Listen to their stories, respond, and become inspired to act on behalf of the planet during this year’s Keynote Conversation at Loyola’s sixth climate change conference. 


Tokata Iron Eyes
Tokata (Future) Iron Eyes is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and has been confronting injustice since she was 9 years old testifying against a uranium mine in the sacred Black Hills. Now at 16, she continues to demonstrate her commitment to compelling the world to listen to Indigenous Nations— from the NODAPL movement at Standing Rock to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women across the US— she understands the power of media and utilizes her voice to evoke change in complacent hearts. She travels all over the world lifting the collective consciousness in response to the human-caused climate crisis.

Growing up on the Standing Rock and Pine Ridge reservations she has received both Western and Indigenous teachings, giving her the natural ability to relate to multitudes and share an uncensored perspective on the uncomfortable truths of colonization and capitalism. Tokata was recently featured on the Marvel Hero Project on Disney+, a series shining light on young people who are changing the world. She is also a singer, songwriter and recently began attending college in January 2020. Tokata hopes to inspire more youth from indigenous communities as well as around the world to use their voice and confront injustice.


Kelsey Juliana
of Eugene, Oregon, has engaged in climate activism since age 10. When she was 15 she co-filed a lawsuit, with the support of nonprofit Our Children's Trust, against the Oregon State Governor, asking for a climate emissions reduction plan and to protect the atmosphere under the public trust doctrine. By 16, Kelsey was a trainer and organizer for the Sierra Student Coalition’s organizing camp. At age 18 Kelsey participated in the Great March for Climate Action, marching 1,600 miles from Nebraska to Washington, D.C. urging climate action from world leaders.


Premier Investor:


Keynote Conversation Investors:

Honoring Lee Botts, Champion of the Great Lakes 


Enjoy an excerpt from Missa Gaia, Earth Mass before our Keynote Conversation. 

This dance and choral arrangement will be performed by Loyola's Department of Fine and Performing Arts. Loyola dancers and singers will perform an excerpt from their March recital as part of this year's conference.