Heading to Greenbuild

I’m lucky enough that part of my job description includes creating partnerships between DASNY and the USGBC, and I have been able to attend Greenbuild for the last eight or so years.  It has been well worth the time, travel, mental overload, missing my family, and physical exhaustion. I am especially pleased to have been able to support a few other DASNY staff attending as well, so we are sending four this year and we sent seven last year.  I have the experience that after attending Greenbuild, even stalwart nay-sayers begin to see the achievements in the world at large, and to recognize that these achievements are ours to obtain as well with a little work. It’s not fantasy, but present-day reality.

What does Greenbuild mean to me?  It is a heady and confusing mix of feeling great and feeling behind and lost.

The feeling “behind and lost” comes from my history of engagement with the USGBC that has, quite frankly, ceased to be. I want to be of use, and lately I have not been tapped for anything useful. I seem to be a “was” in the big arena of the USGBC and I’m no longer in the preferred seating, or invited to the VIP receptions. I have value to contribute, but am struggling to find the way to re-connect. Whine, whine. (yup, time to get off the self-pity train). Time to dance THOSE feelings away!

The feeling great part is due to the camaraderie, the energy, the information that helps me educate staff back at home and makes me feel “normal” as the sustainability person I am. I love the dancing, the inspiration, the vastness of the feelings of “hope” and “power” in this conference. I love the people. I get to see my friends from Hawaii, New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming, and yes, even New York as I rarely see even my own in-state partners in the normal work-a-day world. I get to talk about sustainability without having to deflect the label of “tree-hugger”, or even better, without worrying that someone means that title to be an insult! I CAN be about business success, health and well-being, smart design, beauty AND the environment all at once without anyone getting twisted up about it…and it is refreshing.

That’s what it is. It is a cool drink of water after a long hike, or a chance to breathe deeply by the sea after frantically travelling from the city. I am going to Greenbuild to be refreshed, even while I sleep too little, talk and learn too much, dance a little too hard, and try to connect across too many skills and countries and projects and goals and possibilities all in one short week.

I will board the train on Tuesday with my water bottle and travel coffee mug, ready to take notes and tweet like mad from every session (follow me @greenerjsa). I will take my few last moments while speeding down the east coast to trim up some of my work for my day-job, and then I will set that aside for the rest of the week. I look forward to these incredible few days of being refreshed, challenged, and supported so I can do even better work upon my return to the office.

And I hope to see you there,



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