This was Sherwood’s 3rd annual trip to Greenbuild, and it was exhilarating and exciting to see nearly 30,000 people turn out in Boston to indulge in some “Revolutionary Green.” Despite the freezing cold Boston welcome, the event was bigger, the booths were bigger, and it’s obvious that while Green may still be Revolutionary to some, it’s definitely here to stay. People from all over the country and around the world were in attendence, and companies from every sector are getting in on the action.
And while a few of the old hands may miss the early pioneering days of the Green Building Council, it’s obvious that this movement has moved beyond builders, archiects, and engineers and caught the attention of business, community and political leaders as well.
By day we hosted folks at our booth, which was a great success. Thanks to everybody who came by! It was great to see old friends, and meet new folks as well.
By night we celebrated, co-sponsoring a party at the beautiful Artists for Humanity gallery to celebrate the opening of our new Cambridge office. Toasting old and new friends with local Harpoon Brewery Ale was definitely a highlight. The World Green Building Council, Nexus Green-Round Table and others also threw notable festivities “full of fun energetic green people,” says Mike Thornton.
There were notable speeches by Desmond Tutu, who basically said, “You guys rock.” In a very funny and inspiring speech he praised the election in US, saying what an amazing country we were and encouraging everybody there to think about green. Not being concerned about the environment is like not being concerned about human rights violations, said Tutu.
Echoing his statements, speakers Van Jones, author of “The Green-Collar Economy” and Majora Carter of Sustainable South Bronx talked about their efforts to ensure that the Green Revolution is all-inclusive, and socially equitable by bringing together “the folks that most need work with the work that most needs to be done.”
The closing plenary by legendary biologist EO Wilson, and “Biomimicry” author Janine Benyus were especially interesting, as these noted scientists pointed out new tools that can aid us in saving and understanding the natural world.
EO Wilson’s “Encyclopedia of Life” is an effort to catalogue the millions of species on earth – many fast disappearing, or too long ignored. Benyus’ Asknature.org is a site that describes biological solutions to technical challenges, allowing us to draw on Nature’s billions of years of research devising materials, transportation, shelter, and power generation.
Despite the economic crisis this year, Greenbuild 2008 once again confirmed that sustainable solutions are the best chance we have of creating a thriving, prosperous world for all of us.
The challenge now will be to wade through all the buzz and hype. To weed out the greenwashers, take a hard look at the easy answers, and avoid unintended consequences. There is still much work to be done to bring Green mainstream, but we’ve got an exciting year ahead of us, and we’ve already reserved our booth for next year’s Greenbuild in Phoenix, AZ.
We’ll see you there for: “Mainstreet Green: Connect to the Conversation.”