Everyone, everywhere has a critical role to play in advancing the next green economy through sustainable living. This resonates deeply in the united social consciousness of the events industry. Event professionals have stepped up and accelerated down a purposeful path towards just transition, and it is Green.
The Anishinaabeg people speak about the prophesy of the Eighth Fire – a time to choose between two paths: one is well-worn, but it is scorched. The other is untrodden, and green. The prophesy says the green path leads to a more peaceful era – in which there will be a return to the teachings of mino-bimaadiziwin, the Good Life. A time of balance between past, present, and future with reverence for the laws of nature.
Everything depends on our ability to sustainably inhabit this earth, and true sustainability will require us all to change our way of thinking on how we take from the earth and how we give back.
Deb Haaland, 54th U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Our social conscience as an industry is clear. There is little ambiguity around what a just transition to environmental and social responsibility means where events are concerned. Our individual and collective social impact potential is what drives us to implement sustainable event design and seek game changing solutions to achieve greater social impact and performance at our events. Like most, we face eco-anxieties knowing there are many levers to pull, but action plans and goalposts help us stay the course – including 17 common SDG goals that guide us along this path of universal intent. As an industry, we are outstanding communicators, committed to leaving no-one behind on this journey as we openly share our experiences with one another and collectively grow our knowledge and skillsets. The impact of an event’s carbon footprint is far reaching, but it is also measurable. As natural problem solvers and environmentally mindful professionals, we are making incremental change through continuous improvement – one step at time. And, with any meaningful change comes the need to willingly unpack our unconscious biases and challenge their truth so we can move forward and transition justly. This is no small task, and the irony that our collective effort to leave the smallest possible footprint actually achieves the greatest possible impact does not seem lost on this community.
So, in the spirit of communication and knowledge sharing, here’s a start to a green path resource roundup to help us all stay current and aim high with our event sustainability designs. This small but mighty sampling is in no way exhaustive. If you have additional sources send them here so we can share them across our community in future sustainability articles this year.
Britt Jackman, CMP | She/Her/Hers | U.S Green Building Council