Last week in Toronto, Victoria Waters and I attended Greenbuild, the largest green building conference in the world. The annual conference and exposition, hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council, brings together around 30,000 industry leaders and stakeholders in green design and construction to unite for a week of educational sessions, knowledge exchange, and B2B networking. A keynote by change agent Thomas Friedman and a performance by Maroon 5 reinforce just how big this movement has become.
A highlight was attending the Center for Green Schools press conference where Rachel Gutter, Director of the Center, announced the results of a nationwide survey, which found three out of four Americans support federal investment in green schools. In just one year since its inception, the Center is already accomplishing exciting work through sponsorship by United Technologies Corporation (UTC). Their Green Fellows program places full-time sustainability officers inside school districts for a three-year term to “collaborate with district leadership to change the culture of the district from the inside out by providing clear direction, comprehensive training and valuable resources.” So far, this groundbreaking work is being accomplished in two different k-12 school districts — Sacramento, California, and Boston, Massachusetts. They have plans to add more districts in the coming year.
The theme of this year’s conference “What’s Next?” visibly and refreshingly included the importance of schools and education. As GEF’s partnerships continue to grow and greening schools becomes a social priority, vast opportunities will exist for our mission to continue its success in preparing today’s students — tomorrow’s leaders – for a sustainable future. GEF will certainly be back to Greenbuild next year in San Francisco. We hope to see you there!
– Jacob Robinson, Director of Curriculum Production