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I’m home from Greenbuild with a lot to report, specifically about LEED 2009 and new procedures for LEED APs. And I will, but indulge me first while I reflect on larger green issues and two speakers who brilliantly and poignantly captured the crux of it all.
Bill McKibben is an environmentalist and writer and, of late, a global warming activist. He spoke without slides, preferring instead that the audience conjure its own virtual Power Point images, nor did he need them. His powerful message - we need to slow the pace of climate change and we need to do it quickly.
The problem in a nutshell: the safe upper boundary for carbon in the atmosphere is 350 parts per million. Any number more than that is not compatible with sustaining life on earth as we know it. Here’s the tough part – we’re already at 387 parts per million CO2, and climbing.
350. Remember this number – it’s the most important number in the world.
October 24, 2009. Remember this date. It’s a global day of action to make the number visible to the world leaders attending the Copenhagen conference in December ’09 as they formulate environmental policy post Kyoto. Want to get involved? Listen to the entirety of McKibben’s talk and let’s brainstorm. Seriously.
Van Jones, the founder and president of Green For All and of a new national coalition that is promoting the idea of a national "Clean Energy Jobs Corps" began his talk, as did so many others, by heralding Barack Obama’s election. This is a great thing for this country, Jones said, not because our prez-elect is black but because he’s green.
Jones listed the three environmental platforms of Obama’s campaign, all of which he continues to confirm as priorities. Together they will power our way through the recession by repowering America.
1. A cap and trade system that will signal the end of the carbon age and the beginning of the solar age;
2. Retrofitting America using off the shelf technology – caulk guns anyone? – and an idle workforce;
3. A clean, smart energy grid with two-way meters that lets everyone be an energy producer, not consumer.
Pie in the sky? Listen to Jones’ presentation and I promise - you’ll be as pumped as I am about taking America forward. Yes we can!