Living Future 2009: The UnConference for Deep Green Professionals – Day One

Blogger Laurie Dickson is blogging from the Living Future “unconference” in Portland, Oregon, this weekend. Living Future is devoted to promoting innovative green design that focuses on real solutions for real planetary problems.

Day One: May 7

8 a.m.
Janine Benyus

How do you write in just a few short paragraphs the inspirational presentations of the sustainable world’s leading thinkers? Let’s back up and review last night with Janine Benyus. If you haven’t heard of Biomimicry and the Biomimicry Institute, check it out online.

Janine Benyus, founder of of the Biomimicry Guild, has led the world with her challenge for all of us to not just learn about nature, but to also learn from nature.  “How does a gecko stick to a wall…why are spider webs so strong…how can we use photosynthesis for our next generation of solar designs?”

Here is a scientist who reaches beyond the science and into the passionate realms of nature inspiring and educating our designs. “We need a change of heart which is not one of pity towards nature but instead respect,” Janine says. When we ask the question, “How would nature solve this problem?” then we search the world’s creatures and ecosystems for the answers.

As if that is not enough, Janine and her dedicated researchers and scientists have developed a web site where we can ask those questions…only 1.8 million species to ask! Those answers are readily available online.  

1 p.m.
Denis Hayes

Denis Hayes launched Earth Day in 1970.

Unless you have been living in a cave the last few weeks, then you probably celebrated one of the largest non-religious events in the world (with more than 180 nations participating): Earth Day

In 1970, Denis Hayes launched the single biggest celebration of our planet, and it continues to be the event that inspires communities to plant trees, recycle, join a neighborhood food cooperative and more. Time magazine selected Hayes as one of its “Heroes of the Planet.” Look magazine named him one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th Century, and the National Audubon Society included him in its list of the 100 Environmental Heroes of the 20th Century. 

What does he consider some of the pressing environmental issues we need to address today? Reducing our footprint by approaching zero population growth. His current heroes? Barack Obama and Al Gore. Denis is a hero in the world of sustainability and continues his work through foundations, spreading the environmental word and reaching new heights in helping the planet.

Published on May 8, 2009

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