By Les McCabe, CEO Recent attendance at three major “green” conferences, including SxSW-Eco, International Well Building Institute, and Greenbuild, served as a reminder that the future really is Green and that Global Green USA continues, after 20 years, to be a leader in demonstrating the best practices in Green Urbanism. SxSW-Eco hosted an international audience of thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and friends of the environment, who came together from a number of disciplines to form a catalytic action group determined to find solutions to today’s most pressing environmental problems. Conference themes included advocacy & policy, behavior & design, data & technology, business & finance, energy, food systems, health & education, land & water, and smart cities. Two weeks later, the International Well Building Institute (IWBI) took place in New Orleans. The Institute was created by Delos founder Paulo Scailla in 2013, following a Clinton Global Initiative commitment to improve the way people live by developing spaces that enhance occupant health and quality of life. This led to the creation of the WELL Building Standard for buildings globally. Immediately following the IWBI meeting, Greenbuild (also in New Orleans), took place with over 25,000 attendees. This conference was decidedly more narrow and directed towards the global green building movement and better, healthier, places to live, work, and engage in the community.
Thought leaders at all of these events, including Paul Scalia, Laura Turner Seydel, Rick Fredrizzi, Paul Hawken, and Tom Steyer, among others, inspired and motivated those in attendance through their passionate and experienced perspectives on ways in which all of us in the environmental and sustainability arena can work together towards solutions to some of our most pressing problems, created by global climate change and nature’s response to the by-products of human economic development. As a new professional to these gatherings, it was rewarding to hear leaders in the field advocate for greater cooperation and resulting synergies from non-profits, like Global Green, that are working with others; capitalizing on each other’s strengths and experience in order to tackle major issues, as a collective, as opposed to attempting to do so on a smaller scale independent of one another. While it is our desire at Global Green USA to be seen as the leader in Green Urbanism, in a number of key areas that we have recently identified in our 2015-2019 strategic plan, in order for us to be successful we must engage and collaborate with colleagues in the non-profit, public-benefit corporations, and for-profit corporate sectors; joining those who both support and demonstrate positive environmental affairs practices.
Perhaps what is most rewarding about attending these conferences isn’t necessarily the educational sessions or the speakers, but the networking with likeminded professionals, many of whom are well aware of the good work done by Global Green USA over the last 20 years, representing those who are anxious to engage in discussions regarding prospective partnerships. It is through such partnerships and collaborative efforts that I believe Global Green USA will be enabled to be the most effective and preeminent NGO in the field of green urbanism and related. Likewise, it is rewarding to see our own well-respected professional staff, such as Walker Wells, presenting at Greenbuild while representing Global Green USA. Through the continuation and expansion of these collaborative efforts, I believe Global Green will continue to be at the forefront of the environmental and sustainability movement.