Thanks to everyone who attended Greenovate Boston’s first Community Summit. The event was a huge success, with over 500 residents, businesses, and community leaders participating from all over the Boston area! We are busy compiling all the notes from the Innovation Sessions, summarizing the Wall of Ideas, and compiling results from Ideactive and your written responses. All this information will be relayed to the Strategy Committees in the coming weeks. But for now, here are our top 10 favorite moments from the 2014 Greenovate Boston Community Summit
10. The Gong
Okay, so this wasn't a single moment, and maybe it was just us, but between the Gong and the Chimes, we probably had just a little too much fun shuttling folks around.
9. Carbon Cup Awards Presentation
Talk about moving the needle! Between these four institutions' carbon reduction accomplishments and commitments alone, they will have reduced Boston's overall greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3% by 2020, The Carbon Cup is a new program to encourage deep carbon cuts among Boston's largest building portfolio owners. Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard University, and Boston University - welcome to the Cup!
8. Geoff Chapin's carbon cycle explanation
Geoff Chapin, CEO and founder of Next Step Living, gave an honest assessment about the ridiculousness of our consumption patterns and its relation to climate change. We burn fossil fuels to cool our homes; meanwhile this very act is warming our plant, and prompting us to use more air conditioning and burn more fuels! It's time we break the cycle.
7. Boston's progress on climate action
Onwards! Brian Swett, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space, explained that Boston has reduced carbon emissions by approximately 15% since 2005. If you look at the latest numbers in 2012, it's closer to 18%, but that was due to the particularly warm winter, so we can't get too excited. Chief Swett did make one thing clear: we can't rest on our laurels. The low-hanging fruit have been plucked, and we need to step it up to reach our 2020 goal. And about that 2050 goal? We'll need a serious transformation in how we consume and produce energy.
6. Cynthia Loesh: inspiration, personified
What normal citizen wakes up and decides to build Boston's first LEED Platinum home? But Cynthia, who was frustrated by developers telling her and her neighbors that they couldn't build affordable green homes in Dorchester, defied the norms. Not only did she learn all about green construction through the experience, but she took her contractors along for the ride as well. Moving forward, they are incorporating green building practices into other construction projects throughout Boston.
Cynthia's home was constructed three years ago for less money than what nearby homes are selling for. And the best part? Living on the third floor of their triple-decker, they haven't once turned on their heat. Now that's how you prove a point. You rock, Cynthia.
5. The Idea Wall
Also not exactly a moment, per se, but we loved seeing all the activity it received!
4. Tim Hall
Clearly, the Greenovate Boston Award ceremony's fan favorite. And well deserved! Since his days in the US Army, Tim has prided himself as a veteran aiming to remake himself and create sustainable business opportunities for himself and those around him. He has been involved with leading the Green Committee of Boston Workers Alliance, where he took on a project called Roxbury Green Power that aimed to turn waste vegetable oil from area restaurants into a commercially viable biodiesel. He was also a founding member of CERO, a new worker-owned cooperative business created by unemployed and under-employed African-American members of Boston Workers Alliance and Latino members of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health.
(Plus I can't wait to see Mayor Walsh rocking that new shirt).
3. The reality check from 6th graders
Nothing like a group of 10 to 12 year-olds talking about impacts of climate change to provide a little motivation. Sure, we talk about the seemingly distant impacts of global warming all the time. But we'll either be long gone or almost there by the time they actually happen. Not these kids, though. Lia's line was one of our favorites:
"By mid-century, when I am 44, the coldest years will be warmer than today’s hottest."
2. Dr. Beverly Scott's explanation of her 'aha' moment.
Dr. Scott gave one of the most personal, compelling and motivating talks on climate action we have ever heard. Beverly was frank with us: she had not always been informed on this issue, but once she was, she accepted the responsibility and started taking action. Once anyone is in the know, he has even more of a responsibility to act. She capped her talk with another emotional punch. When a member of the audience asked Beverly what triggered her 'aha' moment on climate change, she responded with two words: "My son."
1. Your feedback and participation.
I hope you saw that one coming! It may be cliche, but it's definitely true. Not only did over 500 people show up, they participated, shared, and connected with one another. We've already heard from many of you how eye-opening it was to learn about what people are doing in other neighborhoods. When it comes to climate change, we know that we still have so much work to do. It isn't often we can really lift our heads up from the corner and look around to see what others are doing. Not only can we learn things, but isn't it nice to know you aren't alone out there?
We need to keep connecting, keep feeding off each other's energy, and bring our homebred climate movement to new levels. And that is what Greenovate Boston strives to do. If we act together, and find our shared voice and vision, we can reach our goals and make Boston the greenest, most climate prepared city in the country and the world.
Keep the conversation going at Engage.GreenovateBoston.org.