Sustaining Hope in a Crisis | An ILFI Keynote

Sustaining Hope in a Crisis | An ILFI Keynote

Often, a keynote speech is an opportunity to get the various conference attendees from all over the world, with different backgrounds and goals, to refocus their attention on their common interest and come together as one body. In the times of COVID 19, this presents a very difficult challenge. Most conferences decided to outright cancel their event, but the ILFI determined that their mission (and maybe their bottom line) was too important to postpone or wait until next year to share.

The theme of “Sustaining Hope in Crisis” took on a double meaning, both for the obvious connotations related to the pandemic, but also for the larger and more challenging issues facing humanity due to climate change. The pandemic, it was said, indicated that society was capable of an adequate response to the threats facing it. The hope is that the positive changes brought about from the pandemic can be carried forward to be brought to bear on environmental problems.

After this rousing introduction, there was a guided meditation with intentional wiggling, and work-from-home orchestra which played a few measures of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. What would have been utterly surreal two months ago is now almost expected.

Finally, the proper Keynote by Jason McClennen, the CEO and Founder of ILFI, began. His overarching message was that we should all endeavor to make the thing we wish to move away from obsolete; in this case the implication is that unsustainable buildings should be made unthinkable because no one builds anything but the most efficient, healthy and environmentally responsible structures.

He presented the following list:

  1. Decarbonize everything this decade. No natural gas equipment, energy sources are 100% renewable.
  2. Ban all single use plastics and eliminate the use of Red List Materials.
  3. At a governmental level, preserve existing natural areas for posterity.
  4. Terraform the planet. Bring impacted areas back to their natural condition.
  5. Vote for policies of love over hate. Science over ignorance. There were some current political references throughout all presentations, unsurprisingly.

He closed with this thought:
This is the last decade to provide a living future.
We must mobilize.

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