Getting the memo about sustainability at Greenbuild 2012
It’s Greenbuild 2012 and the Moscone Center in San Francisco is teeming with people who clearly got the memo about sustainability. And even though thousands here have seen the light and understand what we’re doing is essential to the long-term health of the planet, not to mention our children and theirs, I realize there are many more out there who remain in the dark.
But what excites me – truly excites me – and what occurred to me as I was about to set foot on the main stage to deliver the keynote address, is that after so many years, so many dreams, many of them broken, so many meetings, so many missed connections and late night flights, so many speeches, so much pain, so much heartbreak, and so many small but significant victories, is that we’re moving closer and closer to mainstream thought; closer and closer to the hearts and minds of not just the zealots and the true believers, but of the kind of people who frankly couldn’t care less about the difference between a carbon footprint, a carbon cap-and-trade and a carbon copy.
And as we move closer to the tipping point – the point at which we wake up one day and realize we no longer a well-informed minority, but, in fact, the majority – I can see it now. At some point, the national media will marvel at how quickly the green building movement has grown into mainstream acceptance in places like the heartland and they’ll call us an overnight sensation.
At that point I’ll look back and remember all those long nights, all that blood, all that sweat, and all those tears, and I’ll know what so many comedians or rock bands have felt after so many years of small clubs and hostile crowds when someone calls them an overnight sensation.
And at that point my sense is I’ll do what so many of those comedians and musicians have done time and time again. I’ll probably just smile and say, “Yeah, you’re right.”
This post originally appeared on USGBC.org. Image: courtesy USGBC.