I am not sure what happened, but for some reason I never posted this after the summit this past summer. For those interested in creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits, this is a great conference to learn how.
To me, with my efforts to generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits, how we live in our environment is key. Living in a sustainable way is the focus of the summit.
From July 18-20, 2016 I had the opportunity to attend the 5th Appalachian Energy Summit. The theme this year was Knowledge, Collaboration and Action, a great motto for what we must do. Once again I was able to learn from wonderful speakers. Amory Lovins and David Orr shared their vast knowledge and we also had the opportunity to hear Bill McKibbin of 350.org. Unfortunately some of the news is sad and scary, however there is hope and the message I got loud in clear is there also must be URGENCY with our efforts.
I love this conference because it is like the National Wellness Conference (NWC) because its focus is on how to help each of us be the best versions of ourselves with the overall aim of improving the common good. Coincidentally, or maybe not, the theme at this years NWC was “Spotlight on Sustainability”.An outcome from which everyone and everything benefits. Another very impressive part of the conference is that not only does it teach us how to be stewards of the environment, the conference is green. Linked description of specific efforts to green the event (also bel0w) are made in regards to Energy, Food Services (and the foods is outstanding), zero waste, water stewardship.
This conference demonstrates it is not about doing less, but doing it better and not using traditional methods. There are better ways and McDonough and Braungart explain in Epicycle and Cradle to Cradle (see post here). With regard to this conference, here is an explanation about how they practice what they preach:
Greening of the Summit
Our pristine mountain environment attracts a community of people dedicated to good stewardship. A walk across our campus is proof of our commitment to sustainability: a student-funded on-campus wind turbine, zero waste management initiatives, native landscaping and healthy buildings are among the most obvious indicators.
In good faith and commitment, Appalachian engages in the following activities which contribute to a sustainable summit.
Carbon Neutral Event
Like last year, our 2016 Appalachian Energy Summit will be a carbon neutral event. First we will work to reduce our carbon emissions and \ will purchase renewable energy credits (RECS) and carbon offsets. These offset conference operations, accommodations, car and air travel, and food preparation. We have worked with Shift Equity and NC Greenpower to calculate and offset these emissions.
Housing Conferences & Institutes
- Many participants will be housed in hotel-like accommodations at Mountaineer Residence hall, a LEED® gold certified residence hall
Energy Plemmons Student Union
- Summit space utilizes building automation to increase HVAC efficiency
- Summit space has temperature setbacks
- Summit space and hotel-like accommodations have commercial solar thermal systems
- Energy efficient high output lighting, including use of LED technology
- Use of lighting motion sensors
Food Services Appalachian Food Services
- All meals served will have local and organic content
- China, silverware, glassware, and cloth used
- Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free options offered
- All unopened leftovers donated to the local food shelter
- Bulk items used (condiments, sweeteners, creamers, etc.)
Waste Reduction Zero Waste
- We are making every effort to be a zero waste event
- Recycling containers available at all summit locations and meeting spaces
- Pre and post-consumer food waste collection at all meal events
- Use of bulk items rather than individual items such as condiments, sugar, cream, etc.
- Use of reusable food service items when possible
- Disseminate conference info and other information electronically
- Promotion of ‘BYO beverage’ container
Plemmons Student Union and Building Services
- Low-flow sink aerators
- Dual-flush toilets
- Green cleaning supplies
Transportation Parking and Traffic, Zimride and AppalCART
- Carpooling platform created using Zimride to make it easy for participants to share the ride
- AppalCART provides free and convenient in-town mass transit transportation for participants
- “These come from trees” signs on bathroom paper towel dispensers in Plemmons Student Union
- Renewable energy kiosk in Plemmons Student Union
- Electronic invites, announcements, registration, advertising
- Any printed material (Leadership Luncheon only) is sugar cane-based
I look forward to more conferences, functions and organizations taking similar actions. Please share your efforts and how this can be done even better.