Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 2018 Appalachian Energy Summit. It was a “Net Positive”. I am better, and I believe the world is better, because of this event. To me it fulfilled its theme, “Leadership for Good”. This was the 7th annual event, if you are interested you can see posts about previous events at the bottom of this post.
I also learned there has been tremendous progress in clean energy generation with solar and wind. They explained how it is increasing fast and is currently, without even accounting for externalities, is cheaper than oil and gas. Externalities are defined as a side effect or consequence of an activity that has other impacts without being reflected in its costs. Some of this information was provided by Brian O’Hara – Sr VP Strategy and Government Affairs, at Strata Solar and many others.
The new beneficial economics of clean energy was also explained by Mark Fleming, President & CEO of Conservatives for Clean Energy. He said he was getting conservatives on board with clean energy using only economic reasons without even mentioning climate change.
It was also interesting to learn about efforts by Mars Incorporated from Ashely Allen, Sustainability Sr Manager for Climate & Land. I was also interested to learn about the We Are Still In Movement which is a group of companies doing what they can to support the Paris Agreement even though Trump pulled the US out.
Other things of interest to me from the energy summit included Georgia Tech’s Living Building Challenge. They are doing what can be done to make living buildings energy producing and comfortable instead of being energy hogs. Their message was that we can no longer be just less bad, we must cause good so we regenerate and restore our environment. That message was echoed by Nicole Hagerman Miller from Biomimicry 3.8. More information about their work is at www.Asknature.org
Nicole shared some of Jane Benyus’s amazing work related to Biomimicry. If you do not know of her fantastic work, you can see her TED Presentation and more information at Parallel NOT Linear Means Create Positive AND Prevent Negative. I also strongly recommend her book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature..
Nicole made this message clear by reminding us that Dr. Benyus says we will be sustainable when the city and the forest are functionally indistinguishable. My favorite part of her speech, however, was when she explained that efforts must be focused on causing a “Net Positive” instead of just working toward the uninspiring 0. This is the message I try to promote with Exceeding Expectations.
I liked this conference because, for the most part, they did not take the typical approach of showing us or scaring us about how awful things are and that we need to fix it. That approach, as Chris Anderson of “TED” explains, is emotionally exhausting and causes compassion fatigue. Often that has been my experience from the many environmental messages I hear.
Overall the summit was about ideas that were interesting. The summit also provided many possible solutions to help work on the riddle of climate change. For me this summit was about how to generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. In other words, it provided many ways to Practice Paneugenesis.
Help make it a Great Week for everyone and everything!
***You can see previous summit posts at Energy Summit Reveals Sustainability Contradiction; Fantastic Energy Summit – Knowledge, Collaboration, Action; A New State of Energy Summit; Post 2 – Presentations from New State of Energy Summit; and Green events Provides Great Practices to Copy
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