Natural Health

Healthy living, herbal remedies and DIY natural beauty.

Add to My MSN

Greenbuild Build Up

11/9/2005 12:00:00 AM


It’s hot here in Atlanta. In more ways than one.

This morning during his keynote address, Interface chairman Ray Anderson, author of Mid-Course Correction, told a packed ballroom that 12,000 people had registered to attend this year’s Greenbuild, the annual U.S. Green Building Council conference. He reminisced about the first such conference ten years ago in Big Sky, Montana, when 135 visionary souls showed up. “The point is, something’s happening,” he said. “A new day is dawning.”

I don’t love these conferences, honestly. There’s something inherently wrong about sequestering ourselves in windowless, brutally over-air-conditioned rooms and talking about connecting with the earth that just doesn’t work for me. I’m not all that good at “networking” in these big groups; I like smaller, less rigid settings. Yet I come every year to get a sense of where green building has landed and where it’s going. And Ray is right…something’s definitely happening.

I’m fascinated and repulsed by the exhibit hall, which I have to check out in small doses. The evil Vinyl By Design group is here, passing out doo-dads made from the recycled remnants of Central Parks’ 'The Gates' exhibit. (I did always wonder what the heck they were going to do with all that vinyl when the exhibit came down…) I couldn’t quite make out what was green about many of the exhibitors. But the corporatization is telling, as is the fact that the showroom floor was sold out. Everybody wants a piece of this green thing, whether their products are truly environmental or not.

But maybe despite myself (because I’ve become a little bit cynical about the “usual suspects” who tend to keynote these things), I left the opening plenary session completely inspired. I was right with Biomimicry author Janine Benyus when she said, “I dream for this community that as we grow larger and more diverse, that we grow proportionately wiser.”

And I love the change in Natural Capitalism author Paul Hawken’s new tone; an infamous pessimist for years, he titled his address “Chicken Big.” “There’s an extraordinary movement about,” he declared. “People are reclaiming their rights to restore the world.” Paul ran a video showing names of local groups working for environmental and social justice; as the names rolled across the screen, he told us that to view all of them, we’d have to stay in that frigid ballroom until the end of November. His point was that small groups are forming not in pursuit of a Big Idea or a movement such as environmentalism, but just to address what needs to be addressed in their worlds. “Big ideas have been killing us for centuries,” Paul said. “This is not another ‘ism.’ It’s totally pragmatic.”

Toward the end of the day, I ran into my friend Kevin Salwen of Worthwhile magazine, who’s taking this blog thing to new heights. Worthwhile is podcasting from the show; you can go in and download reports and interviews with the luminaries who are there. It’s the next best thing to being here—and you get to control the temperature while you listen.

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.