Designers: Educate Thyself
Here’s the deal: If we are to save the planet, and everyone says we must, then we must know what we are doing. Even if you think you know a lot, you probably don’t know enough. Thankfully, there are numerous ways to fill the voids.
The conference season is upon us and dozens of events will be vying for your time, attention, and dollars—IIDEX/NeoCon Canada, World Worldplace, High Point, NeoCon East—to name a few. Though each will have green speakers, seminars, and products to showcase—for who can avoid it these days?–the best of the offerings are those with a green focus.
West Coast Green (September 25 to 27; San Jose, California) is no longer positioning itself as a strictly residential design gathering. Rather, it’s opening its door to all participants in the green building movement, including the consumer with a special Homeowner Day. Standout speakers include Sarah Susanka, David Suzuki, Hunter Lovins, and the big guy—Al Gore. The program has some good sessions for interior designers. Three that I especially like:
- Building Green from the Inside Out with David Johnston and Martin Melaver
- Products and Process: The Elegant, the Ugly, and the Needed with Alex Wilson and Peter Yost of BuildingGreen
- Myth Busting: New Directions in Sustainable Interior Design with Kari Foster and Rowena Finegan
Greenbuild (November 19 to 21; Boston) is the behemoth of green conferences. USGBC’s big show keeps getting bigger, and continues to attract impressive speakers. Archbishop Desmond Tutu will keynote, as will the brilliant Harvard entomologist E.O. Wilson and biomimicry founder Janine Benyus. A diverse list of master speakers are sure to inspire, including one of my favorite green writers, Bill McKibben. This year’s program includes a number of sessions geared to the interiors crowd. (I’ll write in more detail as we get closer to the conference.)
The Green Festival is coming to two cities this fall, Washington, D.C. (November 8 to 9) and San Francisco (November 14 to 16). The joint project of Global Exchange and Co-op America celebrates green businesses and communities. The shows are informative and great fun, including a unique marketplace featuring Fair Trade chocolate and coffee, natural body care products, and sustainable building materials. Green Festivals are also scheduled for Seattle, Denver, and Chicago in 2009. Did I mention the chocolate?
If conferences are not in your plans this year, consider online educational offerings. More about those later this week.