Sunday, August 23, 2009
A Meeting of the Greens
Leaders and innovators in the San Francisco environmental community met and mingled at the Bently Reserve last Thursday for the first annual “Common Green” event. Sponsored by the Bently Reserve and Orchard Hotels, the IFCSF had a chance to meet with approximately 200 like-minded collaborators in the stunning LEED-certified space. The key speaker for the night was Wade Crowfoot, formerly the Director of Climate Protection under Mayor Newsom, and now the West Coast Political Director for the Environmental Defense Fund. Zem Joaquin, founder of ecofabulous.com and recipient of the 2009 Global Green Millenium Founder’s Award introduced the event’s hosts Chris and Amber-Marie Bently and Stefan Mühle from Orchard Hotels.
Stefan talked about the challenging, yet personally fulfilling feat of running a completely eco-friendly hotel. What I found most compelling was his idea of the “triple bottom line”, where you take care of the social, environmental and economical aspects. When these aspects are aligned your business can be a true powerhouse. The Orchard Garden Hotel is referred to as a “green boutique” hotel with eco-friendly guestrooms and restaurants featuring local and organic ingredients. Not a bad place to stay for a stylish eco-ista.
Crowfoot, whose leadership with Newsom helped to put San Francisco on the map as a leader in solving the global environmental crisis, was instrumental in the city’s invitation to participate in the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Crowfoot framed his talk by asking us to think back through the last five years and how far we’ve come as a country in facing the crisis. He described his time working in the Mayor’s office as a “bright light in an otherwise dark space in the U.S. “ It’s truly the cities that need to play a key part in fixing the environment, and cities like San Francisco and the state of California are leading the way. He likened the great work accomplished here during the last administration to being inside a “bubble during a troubling time. “
Crowfoot spoke very strongly of the need to take advantage of the opportunity we have with the new administration to make a difference for the environment, and how crucial the next four months leading up to Copenhagen are in making lasting environmental change. Essentially, if the conference is going to come up with an agreement to reduce greenhouse gases to sustain life on this planet, the U.S. must step up prior to December. The way to do that is to legislate the Clean Energy and Security Act. Already passed by the House and endorsed by President Obama, the bill needs 60 affirmatives from the Senate. If the bill doesn’t pass during this session, Crowfoot said, “then all bets are off.” He encouraged us not only sign those email petitions, but to use our business voices to talk to undecided Senators. Want to find out more about this legislation? Click here.
Speaking with Amber-Marie Bently after the presentation, it sounds like Common Green will be back for another event in the near future. For news and updates, join A Common Green on Facebook.