Thursday, November 27, 2008

GreenBuild 08, Boston MA: Highlights

By Sonja Persram, BSc., MBA, LEED® AP
Sustainable Alternatives Consulting Inc.

City of Boston has been deemed by Popular Science Magazine to be the “3rd Greenest City in North America” and was a beautiful locale for the conference. In cold and sunny November, Boston’s stunning architecture, beautiful harbour views, and friendly folks added much to the experience. Being in Boston also brought to life some of my favourite books[1] that were set in the city and its surrounds. Kudos – and thanks - to Conference Chair Jerry Yudelson, the USGBC, Kimberly Lewis, Vice President of Conferences and Events and her organizers, Ashley Katz for facilitative media relations and all the speakers, exhibitors, attendees and volunteers.


Strategic Plan for 2009-2013
Fostering Social Equity was added to the USGBC’s Guiding Principles and is imbued within the
Strategic Plan. Another key strategic issue: “lack of capacity in the building trades to meet the demand for green building.”

CEO Rick Fedrizzi reported that 30,000 were registered for GreenBuild from 80 countries, with over 15,000 people logged in worldwide. Some quotes from his inspirational opening presentation:
· Green collar workers will be the backbone of this economy that we will help create. It will transcend the financial mess we find ourselves in.
· Martin Luther King said we need to move ‘from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society.’ Our values have to include fostering social equity in everything we do, and everything we choose. We are at the beginning of a seismic shift in priorities.
· We must say to those who pollute our land… this will never happen again, not on our watch.
(The new paradigm) is not about Washington, or Wall St. but about us. Change comes from us. We are the people that we have been waiting for. We are revolutionary green.

Leadership Awards
Some of this year’s outstanding winners were Alex Wilson, Executive Editor of Environmental Building News for education, and Davis Langdon for research.


The energy and courage of the
African Children’s Choir was a joyful opener – and closer - for 1984 Nobel Peace Price winner/2007 Gandhi Peace Prize winner, most reverend Archbishop Desmond Tutu. A winsome, formidable speaker, he fed spirits we didn’t know were starved for his brand of radiant insight. He marked the opinion turnaround in response to people concerned about the environment – from being considered a ‘lunatic fringe’ about whom people would ‘nudge-nudge, wink-wink’ to (providing hope). His words are here.

This post is the first instalment of five. Stay tuned!

[1] Apart from works by the renown philosophers and naturalists of the region, here are some by more contemporary authors:;

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