Like most people, I like to keep myself busy with things that interest me. DC, and the metro area, seems to always be buzzing with activities and events. As the nation’s capital, many of these affairs tend to be politically charged (e.g. Glenn Beck’s Rally back in August and Rally for Sanity tomorrow). But the city is not lacking in other areas of interest either. The environment has become a hot topic these days (no pun intended..ha…) and so I have noticed these activities are not lacking in this department.
I recently attended a presentation run by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) entitled “A Peak at Progress – Federal Sustainability One Year Later” which featured two speakers who play a pivotal role in the federal government’s environmental agenda – the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Environmental Executive Michelle Moore and the General Services Administration’s Senior Sustainability Officer Stephen Leeds – who provided an insight into the progress the federal government has made a year after President Obama issued Executive Order 13514 which puts the federal government at the head of the sustainability movement. The New York Times covers this presentation in more detail.
I was happy to find out that the presentation was open to the public, though judging from the number of hands that shot up when asked who was a federal employee, it seemed like the general public was the minority in the crowd. Nonetheless, the presentation was encouraging and hopeful. It’s hard to say whether it was this way because it was a report on progress and not a critique on progress. There is no doubt that we are moving forward, but the question must be asked, are we moving as fast as we need to in order to reach our goals, and more importantly, in order to avoid a future of depleted natural resources? The presentation maintained positive energy throughout and revealed that stricter regulations will be pushed forward to ensure that the federal government not only practices what it preaches, but becomes a leader in what it preaches. I was satisfied with the presentation but plan to keep tabs on what’s going on more now that I am a resident of this country once again.
More recently though, I attended another environmental event where the general public was definitely not the minority, and where the agenda had little to do with federal sustainability. I went to “Green Fest” which is a renowned festival celebrating sustainability, headlining in DC and San Francisco every year. This festival is run by Global Exchange and Green America to help promote a greener lifestyle with stalls and booths that filled up the Convention Center giving out free samples of environmentally friendly foods and products or displaying their eco-friendly designs.
There were also plenty of advocate groups and speakers for enlightening the curious about poverty in developing nations, veganism, fair trade, education, human rights etc. I had my fill of free samples (eat in and take away) and walked out with over a dozen pamphlets and samples that I rummaged through when I got home. The festival lasted the whole weekend but left more of a lasting impression.
It was encouraging (yet again) to see so many people interested in this event because the festival focused on the general public, and the role that we play in our society. It puts the focus on us and how we can contribute to making a difference. Not everyone can drop everything and go work in a developing country on a whim, but some can; not everyone will stop eating meat for environmental or moral reasons, but some will. Catch my drift? Green Fest had something for almost anyone and looks to inspire everyone in attendance.
- Federal Agencies Plan for Sustainability (cleantechies.com)
- GSA Moves to LEED Gold for All New Federal Buildings and Major Renovations (prnewswire.com)
- Eaton Showcases Energy-Efficient Technologies at GreenGov Symposium (eon.businesswire.com)
- Theo Chocolate up for Green Business of the Year (fremontuniverse.com)