[ Alex Steffen presenting at IDSA/ICSID Connecting Congress 2007 ]
Just some guy from Seattle who was invited to give the closing plenary talk at the upcoming Copenhagen Mayoral Climate Summit. And who also happens to be the executive director of Worldchanging, a non-profit that runs the second largest sustainability site on the web, and that published a 600-page international best seller on sustainable solutions with a forward written by Al Gore. And who apparently also has a habit of referencing the Simpsons while addressing the lecture halls of the intelligencia.
It is no exaggeration to say that Alex Steffen is a rock star on the international sustainability lecture circuit—he has probably spent as much time living out of a suitcase as Metallica. Yet strangely, he seems to be less well known in his own home town than he is in cities all across the globe.
This week, Seattleites will have a rare opportunity to hear Alex Steffen’s rap. His big-picture, international perspective on the massive challenges facing humanity and the hopeful prospects for tackling those challenges is precisely kind of Kool-Aid Seattle needs to drink.
Details on the two events are below. And note that the talks will be introduced by Richard Conlin and Mike McGinn, the two most powerful politicians in Seattle (come January). I hope they listen well.
Alex Steffen: Building a Planet with a Future
A two-night talk presented by Town Hall’s Center for Civic Life, 11/11 and 11/12
The future is unfolding as far more dangerous and chaotic than we hoped… and more full of opportunity and reasons for optimism than we imagined. As we lead up to the Copenhagen Climate Summit, a new global consensus is emerging that problems like population, global health, poverty, urbanization, climate change and environmental decline are not separate issues, but symptoms of one giant planetary challenge. The answer to that challenge must be a new kind of prosperity, one that allows billions of people to achieve a better life without destroying the planet.
At the same time, new tools and innovations are redefining the possible and changing what we thought we knew about sustainability. We’re seeing potential revolutions everywhere in how we build, eat, move, work, shop and communicate. In this new world of possibilities, Seattle has a unique opportunity to transform itself into a model of sustainable prosperity and to again become a global leader in the process.
Alex Steffen is Executive Editor of Worldchanging.com. As a world expert on bright green futurism, he spends much of his time traveling to speaking with leading international businesses and governments from Norway to New Zealand; he rarely speaks at home in Seattle. But for two nights this November, he’ll take the stage at Town Hall and share the latest thinking about how we here in the Emerald City can confront our planetary boundaries and how Seattle citizens can become leading innovators in a sustainable economy. Want to know what the future holds for your career and your community? Don’t miss this one-time opportunity to explore some of the most important trends shaping our lives, with one of the most sought-after green futurists working today.
A New Global Future – Night One – Alex Steffen, introduced by Richard Conlin
Nine billion people on a straining planet is a recipe either for catastrophe or transformation. Which future we get – tragic disaster or sustainable prosperity – will depend largely on the choices we here in the developed world make. What is possible for billions of people rising out of poverty will be determined largely by the shape of the economy we create in places like Seattle. How do we understand what a bright green future looks like and how do we propel our region toward it? This first night will explore the breakthroughs in renewable energy, green building, clean technology, smart infrastructure and sustainable design that can enable the Pacific Northwest to not only help lead the planet away from catastrophe, but also to become an economic power house.
Seattle’s Bright Green Moment – Night Two – Alex Steffen, introduced by Mike McGinn
Cities are the engines of a bright green economy. A new urban way of life is emerging that is not only ecologically frugal, but wealthier, healthier, and more enjoyable. At the same time, smart cities are becoming the hothouses of sustainable innovation, growing the designs, technologies, policies, and start up companies that will thrive in the new global economy. Learn how leading urban regions like London, Copenhagen, Melbourne and Seoul are scrambling to rebuild themselves on bright green lines in order to lead in the economy of tomorrow. Join the conversation on how we can use cutting edge practices such as innovation networks, metropolitan coalitions, and government 2.0 to break through the logjams blocking Seattle’s progress to build a more vital, sustainable and prosperous home.
Both talks will be in the Great Hall at Town Hall Seattle, and start 7:30 p.m. (doors at 7:00 p.m.). Each talk is 90 minutes, no intermission. Presented by Town Hall’s Center for Civic Life.