For the past year I have been trying to figure out what the tagline for this year’s Greenbuild “We Are Revolutionary Green” meant. Today I found out. This year is the 15th anniversary of the U.S. Green Building Council and year eight of the Greenbuild Conference. David Gottfried (via film) and Rick Fedrizzi (in person), two of the three co-founders of USGBC, reflected on the “seismic shift in priorities” that the past 15 years represent – in our world culture as well as the organization. Each speaker in the opening plenary stressed how the green building movement is not really about buildings – it’s about people, people taking control of our world, our actions and yes, our buildings.
Boston's Mayor Thomas Menino performed his duty of welcoming the 10,000 (yes, you read that right, 10,000) people in the Hall. But then he spent the next five minutes talking about Boston’s leadership among U.S. Cities in sustainability and declared, “Green building is about more than policy, it’s about people.” In Boston, 74% of the greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings (that’s about 30% more than the national average!). Their green building zoning is helping to create a new green work force, with new skills for these new “green jobs.”
“We are changing people’s minds about what really matters”
Rick Fedrizzi (CEO & President, USGBC) presented the best speech I have ever seen him give, and one of the best I’ve seen anyone give recently. As one of my colleagues commented when I mentioned this, “He didn’t strike me as the type to give inspirational speeches.” Exactly, that’s what made it even more special. I’ll admit it, I was weeping silently when he finished his 20 minutes with “We are the people we have been waiting for.” The underlying theme throughout the past two days has been the monumental change in administration that we all voted into being on November 4th.
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