We’re fresh back from Greenbuild, and fired up by the words of Bill Clinton, Rick Fedrizzi, Paul Hawken, Ed Mazria, and many many more. With well over 20,000 people, the crowds and lines were sometimes daunting, but taking a step back, the sheer number of folks dedicated to Green Building is also quite inspiring. As Rick Fedrizzi put it, “Fifteen years ago Green Building was just a good idea…Today, it’s a Global Movement.”
In that spirit, here’s a ‘Heads Up’ look at some of my favorite quotes from Greenbuild 2007:
Rick Fedrizzi, President and CEO of the US Green Building Council started things off by crunching the numbers:
- “12,000 organizations strong representing employees, shareholders and communities of citizens that number in the millions.”
- “3.2 billion – yes BILLION – square feet, of LEED buildings in every state and 41 countries.”
- “12 federal agencies, 25 states, and more than 100 municipalities have adopted LEED as the benchmark for their own public building portfolios…”
- “40,000 professionals are LEED accredited, with 50 more taking the exam every business day.
“Behind every one of these numbers is the work that people like YOU do every day, and because of that work … WE are changing our world . . .”He spelled out the dream of Greenbuild: “Green buildings for everyone within a generation!”
He spoke about how this could help revitalize all of America, not just the lucky (very few really) who can afford to attend fancy conferences:
“Green Collar jobs are the kinds of jobs that can bring prosperity to American communities that today are languishing because of flat wages, and economic stagnation. Think about disadvantaged youth, or returning servicemen and women, those whose outsourced manufacturing jobs left them economically stranded. With more than 100 million individuals employed in the building and construction industry today… Just think about what we could accomplish if we all embraced that vision. Let’s also not forget that Green Affordable Housing MUST be a part of this equation.”
And about our responsibility to our children’s future:
“Just last year there were more LEED rated Prisons in the United States than there were K-12 Schools, and THAT Ladies and Gentlemen is the REAL crime. This issue is very important to USGBC, and we think each and every school should be green with no exceptions.”
“Kids in green schools can achieve 20% better test scores with a 28% better reading retention and a respiratory illness reduction of up to 40%. And flat out, green schools save money. The annual operational savings of ONE green school would pay for two new teachers, or 250 new computers, or 5,000 new textbooks. I’d challenge anyone to find a better community investment strategy.”
“Our new schools website – buildgreenschools.org –… is a place to commit to the green schools challenge. When you leave here today, go to the site and make your commitment. Let’s show the world the power we have when we commit to change.”
When the President of UTC, one of the largest technology companies in the world, told the crowd, “91% of Total Energy coming from the ground is wasted to get 9% useful work,” Rick replied, “That opportunity is huge, so lets go after it!”
Bill Clinton calls Green a “Staggering Economic Opportunity”:
“All new construction – all of it – should be green,” said Clinton, calling a green economy, “The biggest opportunity to create broad-based prosperity since WWII.”
“In 18 months we’ll be racing to see who can make the most energy positive buildings.”
“We’re not so good at complaining, and being divided, our heart’s not in it. But when Americans are in the solutions business, there’s really nobody better. We have to prove to ourselves and the rest of the world that this is not only something we have to do to save the planet, and our kids, but a staggering economic opportunity as well.”
He said lots more too, and you can watch the video at Greenbuild365.org .
Ed Mazria of Architecture 2030 says, “There is a Silver Bullet: No More Coal.”
The ice caps are melting, the seas are rising, this much we know. What we don’t fully appreciate yet, says Mazria, is that this could spell the end of our entire 200 year experiment as a nation.
On his website you’ll find the amazing depictions of how inundating a one-meter rise in sea level will be to hundreds of our coastal cities. But unlike New Orleans, these floodwaters will not be receding anytime soon. And while Hurricane Katrina impacted cities across the country with refugees, if half our cities sink at once, there will be no place for the literally millions of people to go.
Ed is going around asking the best minds in the country to solve this problem:
“The average house uses 42,000 btu’s of energy a year per square foot. Even in rainy, cloudy Seattle, over 650,000 btu’s of energy per square foot fall on your house. So I’ll give you 650,000 btu’s, distributed free to your site. You have to convert it into 42,000 btu’s of usable energy. Raise your hand if you can’t do it.”
Typically, nobody raises their hand, he says. “If we put our best minds to it – within a year we can solve this problem.”
“There’s just 2 things you need to do: Stop Coal. Be aggressive about it, make your voice heard, give support to those in your community who are doing it. And implement the 2030 Challenge. This is how we yank our kids out of the street of oncoming disaster.”
Paul Hawken feels Hot!
“I tested my DNA and found out I was Italian and Portuguese…Suddenly I felt hot, my skin got darker…so much of who we are is in our minds…But these identities have been used to divide us. What unites us is so much more important.”
In his new book Blessed Unrest, he talks about how the many millions of organizations fighting for social justice, environmental restoration and indigenous rights function like a global immune system. “We are doing something collectively we don’t understand individually. There is a magnificence, an intelligence that we have together that we don’t have individually.”
“There is a quadrillion cells in each of you, 90% of which are not human. You’re a community. Every second 1 to the 24 activities are going on inside you, 10x more than all the stars in the known universe. So the first question is: Can you feel it?….. If you don’t think you can, wait until you die and compare the difference.”
“So, the next question is, who’s in charge? Hopefully not you. Hopefully not the Bush administration.”
“We are moving from a world created by and for privilege to a world created by community. The USGBC is a community. You are a community, it’s inside you, you can feel it.”
“There are over a billion buildings in the world. What do we do in these buildings? We eat, and pray, we work and shop, we sleep and make love…But when our buildings destroy the roots of civilization they are not civilized.”
“We’ll be at the stroke of midnight for the rest of our lives…It’ll be tough. But Life is opportunistic, and so are we, like those cells that started out 40 million centuries ago in sulfurous vents in the ocean, and those cells are in you. There’s a molecule of my breath in you, and of Columbus, and Rachel Carson. We are exquisitely stitched together.”
“Your gift is you get to re-imagine, re-design, re-configure everything – so that civilization doesn’t just endure, but…(something poetic)…greatness.”
“This isn’t about making money. It’s about making meaning.”
We Are Revolutionary Green: Boston 2008.
There were many more inspiring thoughts and comments, and we’d love to hear your favorites, so drop us a line. Otherwise….See you in Boston!
Photo of the Grand Ballroom at McCormick Place West courtesy of Mateofiero.