Aside from my own PechaKucha presentation on opening night of the Renewable Cities Global Learning Forum, 10 other people gave wonderful presentations of their own. Below are 5 of those presentations, as well as a long video covering most of the event.
To kick things off, Shauna Sylvester, Director of the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Centre for Dialogue, discusses how Renewable Cities came about — how the initial ideas stemmed from the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009, the big sponsors who have made it possible, and what is unique about the Renewable Cities Global Learning Forum. And, indeed, unique is a great way to describe it.
I’ve been to many cleantech conferences and forums, but this one was especially focused on bringing good ideas and best practices to actual implementation in more places. It wasn’t just about people talking to each other, but about people spreading real-world successes and information to others who could and would implement better cleantech solutions in their realms of influence. As Shauna stated, “people told us that there are a lot of opportunities to listen, but there are not a lot of opportunities to roll up our sleeves and get to work.” People wanted a “doing space” as well as a “learning space,” and that’s exactly what the Renewable Cities Global Learning Forum was.
Following Shauna was Ross Beaty. Ross has founded 14 companies in his life, but the hat he was primarily wearing here was as executive chairman of Alterra Power. In his presentation, Ross talked about his childhood growing up in the outdoors, his success starting and growing numerous mining companies, and his shift to working in conservation philanthropy and renewable energy development.
Mark Z Jacobson, a CleanTechnica favorite, talked about a shift to 100% renewable energy and his research on the matter, but I’ll highlight that in greater detail in a separate article, so hold your horses.
Esperanza Garcia is a renewable energy and climate consultant who has the following claims to fame: founder and CEO of Clean Tech Impact; cofounder & member of executive board of the International Youth Council; founder of the Philippine Youth Climate Movement; founding president of Columbia University Coalition for Sustainable Development; and much more. She decided to leave the mic on the table for here presentation, having plenty of power in her vocal cords to speak to the 350 or so people in the theater. She talked about youth climate action, climate disasters in the Philippines, the large share of electricity that the Philippines gets from renewable energy resources, and youth entrepreneurship in cleantech. After giving a very high-energy presentation, Renewable Cities executive director Michael Small cleverly noted that she should count herself among the Philippines’ renewable energy resources.
Dr Harry Lehmann — general director of the Federal Environment Agency in Germany (Umweltbundesamt), executive chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energies, head of Factor X International Club, general director of the Department Sustainable Development Strategies (Fachbereichsleiter Nachhaltigkeitsstrategien), former head of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions and Innovations, and much, much more — followed by highlighting the story in Germany, the Energiewende, and how Germany can transition to a carbon-neutral society by 2050. The presentation contains a number of interesting facts and perspectives, even for those well versed in the Energiewende. Check it out:
Next in line was Bárbara Rubim, a climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Brazil. I found her presentation particularly interesting and inspiring, so I will follow up with a longer article solely focused on her presentation.
And Merran Smith followed by telling the story of Clean Energy Canada. I again want to spend a full article on this presentation, so stay tuned.
The next speaker after Merran was Chris Henderson, president of Lumos Energy and board chair of the Globe Conference and Exposition, who talked about the massive NYC climate march as well as helping to bring renewable energy to aboriginal communities. You can watch it here:
I’ll discuss the last two presentations in a bit more depth in individual articles, but as a quick summary, they are about 1) clean energy art, and 2) the city of Vancouver’s renewable energy work.
And here’s the “full event” video if you prefer to watch with the flow of the night: