Sustainable Industries Economic Forum comes to Seattle
Sustainable Industries hosted the third of our four Economic Forums in the 2010-2011 series in Seattle this morning.
As we did in San Francisco and Portland last week, we welcomed Cameron Sinclair, founder of of Architecture for Humanity as our keynote speaker. Once again, Sinclair left the audience wowed by his energy, drive and passion as he told story after story about his organization and the good work it is doing around the world. Talking about design and construction projects in far-flung places such as Haiti, Kenya and Pakistan where AFH is helping communities ravaged by natural disasters and extreme social ills get back on their feet, Sinclair's sustainability message seemed, at first glance, to be a global one. On deeper examination however, Sinclair is talking about building strong local economies that can support the communities they inhabit.
"Listen and understand what the needs of the community are," he told the audience of almost 200 sustainable business and thought leaders. "They are your power."
Sinclair wasn't the only one espousing the view that strong local economies are a key part of the new economy. Aaron Fairchild, founder of G2B Ventures, Michelle Long, Executive Director of BALLE and Dave Williams, CEO of Shorebank Pacific made up a panel discussing resilience in tough economic times. Each is focused on building and supporting local economies in one way or another. Their bias was clear as they discussed the need for banks to start lending to small businesses (something Williams said isn't likely to happen before new rules resulting from recently passed federal legislation are written) and self-perpetuating models that can be replicated over and over. Unfortunately, how to make that happen all over the country isn't an easy nut to crack, according to all three.
You can view a video of national and regional sustainable business leaders shown at this morning's forum. Footage of Sinclair's keynote and reaction from attendees will be available soon.
The fourth and final Economic Forum in this year's series will be Jan. 20, 2011 in Santa Monica.