During the week of October 3rd, 23,000 green building leaders from around the world gathered in Toronto at the largest green building show held by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to listen, learn and share best practices of showcasing the latest in green building products, technologies and innovations.
The opening plenary celebration event at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday October 5, 2011 featured renowned leaders such as Thomas Friedman, Dr. Paul Farmer, Cokie Roberts and a live concert from Maroon 5. The conference and expo was a spectacular look into the future and what’s next for green building.
This event marked Greenbuild’s 10th year. Greenbuild has grown faster than any other traditional building conference & expo during the same time span. This was the first time Greenbuild has been held outside of the U.S. and Toronto was a fitting place to celebrate 10 years of Greenbuild since Canada is a leader in green building practices and technologies in so many ways.
Pulitzer Prize-winner Thomas Friedman talked about the necessity of a green revolution: “We’re not having a green revolution (right now); we’re having a green party. In revolutions, people get hurt – companies are forced to change or they die.” He added, “Our revolution will be here when the word green disappears.” Friedman also noted that those in attendance were “too dumb to quit,” and that comment was met with roars from the crowd and enthusiastic applause.
Several of the other speakers commented the green building movement will jump start a fragile and struggling economy. It was also noted that many in the crowd understood the challenge ahead and that instead of being in denial about climate change, this group was looking for solutions. Some of the speakers acknowledged the attendees’ work toward a greener built environment and several examples were cited of high level sustainable buildings in the US, Canada and around the world that were built with basically the same budgets as those non-sustainable, inferior buildings that will most likely be outdated within a generation.
The USGBC’s President Rick Fedrizzi ended his remarks projecting out to the year 2037, envisioning the day when the USGBC closes up shop, having accomplished its still far away unachievable mission. Fedrizzi proudly proclaimed that the USGBC would one day announce “we changed the world.” Hopefully that day will arrive soon.
Author: Robert E. Mattler, Green Agent Man, representing GreeningDetroit.com