As a green researcher I attend conferences on a variety of issues, not just green buildings. But it’s at the green building conferences and GreenBuild in particular, that I notice the greatest surge of like-minded intensity, of hope and real joy. This is because, I think, we have looked into the abyss of a climate change BAU - business as usual - scenario, we recognize the risks of singular self-interest, are convinced that green buildings present the greatest opportunity for restraining climate and other impacts we have imposed on our environment, and we have hope that our collective efforts can accomplish this. (In contrast to greens focused on other issues whose alternatives and action effects may not be so dramatic.)
This second year I’ve attended GreenBuild, I noticed in people an enormously increased pace and urgency. It reminded me of a ballet within a ballet called The Red Shoes, in which the ballerina puts on a longed-for pair of ballet shoes, but then can’t stop dancing until she is overcome, and the dancer portraying her believes she can’t dance the work she loves, and live a full life as well. I noticed at GreenBuild that, perhaps in recognition of increasing climate risks, many of us are dancing faster in our green building ‘shoes’ – at times paying scant attention to our other human needs in our passion to save our planet in time. Fortunately, GreenBuild’s impact came not just in business and collaborative development, but also in the private conversations and gatherings with other strong, committed minds out of which cascaded ideas, and new and renewed friendships. These replenished and balanced us in preparation for resuming this monumental ‘dance’.