10 reasons to watch #LF20 (*)

10 reasons to watch #LF20 (*)

The Living Future annual conference is a game-changing platform for the green building movement’s most innovative leaders to come together to ideate and exchange expertise. This year, ILFI is taking a bold approach to its flagship event by pioneering a new type of powerful, inspiring, motivating, and interactive online experience that can reach more people with more content at a lower cost.

Living Future 2020 Online will be a true ‘un’-conference that embraces the theme of “Sustaining Hope Within Crisis”, originally intended to reflect the climate emergency but even more relevant considering the global COVID-19 pandemic. During these challenging times we believe that coming together as a community is paramount to creating a collective message of hope that can reach more people with greater urgency.

Here are my 10 reasons (opinion) not to miss this year’s LF (my 7th in a row 😉)

  1. 80+ speakers

Amazing speakers, starting from Jason F. McLennan and Dr. Katharine Wilkinson.

Jason F. McLennan

is considered one of the world’s most influential individuals in the field of architecture and green building movement today. He has been called the ‘Steve Jobs’ of the green building industry, a “World Changer” by GreenBiz magazine. He is the creator of the Living Building Challenge – the most stringent and progressive green building program in existence, as well as a primary author of the WELL Building Standard.

Dr. Katharine Wilkinson

is an author, strategist, and teacher, working to heal the planet we call home. Katharine is Vice President of Communication & Engagement at Project Drawdown and Senior Writer for the New York Times bestseller Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. Her first book, Between God & Green: How Evangelicals Are Cultivating a Middle Ground on Climate Change, was dubbed “a vitally important, even subversive, story” by The Boston Globe.

  1. Change the way we think about changing the world

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) is a non-profit working to build an ecologically-minded, restorative world for all people. Using principles of social and environmental justice, ILFI seeks to counter climate change by pushing for an urban environment free of fossil fuels. ILFI is a non-profit, so if you really want to change the world and effectively address the climate crisis, consider where your support, also financial, should go. As the activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta says in this ground-breaking TED talk, too many non-profits are rewarded for how little they spend — not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses). In this bold talk, he says: Let’s change the way we think about changing the world. So, your support is fundamental.

  1. LF’s journey around the globe

Over the past decade, the market desire for ILFI’s programs has been proven, both nationally and internationally, and we have proven that Living Buildings are possible in nearly every climate zone and building typologies with 650+ registered projects and 120+ certified projects worldwide. Our partners + affiliates have found our programs are resonating with diverse cultures and supporting regional climate and sustainability demands around the globe. So, you can’t miss the Living Future Around the World: Action in the Decade of Delivery session with updates on our movement progress from Sunni Wissmer, James Connelly, Samantha McGavock (LF New Zealand), Victor Montero (LF Costa Rica), Laura Hamilton O’Hara (Living Future Institute Australia) and myself at Living Future Europe. It will be the closing workshop of LF20, on May 8th at 2:30-3:30 pm (UTC-7) just before the final Big Bang Celebration, Project + Hero Awards, Prize Announcement part. An ideal journey connecting the globe through different time zones from Seattle (2.30 pm) to San José (3:30 pm) Bolzano (11:30 pm) Sidney (7:30 am of the following day) and Auckland (9:30 am).

  1. Leading cities

When the cities can provide their best examples. In 2018, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee made a bold proclamation: all new state buildings must be designed to be Zero Energy or Zero Energy-Capable and reduce their embodied carbon. In service of this executive order, ILFI and the State Department of Enterprise Services (DES) have spent the last two years co-developing resources to help project managers and design teams transform these words into action. So, join ILFI’s Energy + Carbon team, DES and the State’s Efficiency and Environmental Performance (SEEP) office in this session, unpacking the targets, tools, trainings and culture shifts that support this goal to achieve Zero Energy across public projects. Presenters will share the actual tools with attendees as well as their perspective on affecting change in the public sector. Attendees will discuss how this toolkit can be used within or adapted for their specific municipality.

  1. LF is going … mural

LF20 this is year will be not only virtual but also mural 😉 Yes, join our own Sunni Wissmer, ILFI Global Network Manager and myself – aka MMMs or the Mural Masterminds – to provide your inputs, thoughts, ideas on how you sustain hope in times like this. Yes, you will have the possibility to interact with the other conference attendees posting your thoughts onto a Mural dashboard specifically created for LF20. MURAL is a digital workspace for visual collaboration, and there will be fun for all. Further instructions will be provided to registered attendees. Are you ready for the coolest regenerative whiteboard ever?

  1. Are you ready for Zero Carbon?

Over the last two years, ILFI and the building industry have made tremendous strides in driving awareness and action in embodied carbon, highlighting its critical role in near-term climate action. But even with this momentum, how can we as owners and practitioners help scale the impact? This next decade requires our community to take bold action — to help develop embodied carbon literacy across the entire building industry and promote a compelling business case to drive private sector adoption. LF20 includes three sessions on ZC strategies and tools: Zero Carbon Accelerator: Tips & Tools to Decarbonize Your Building on May 7th, Zero Carbon At Scale: Updates from a Volume Approach to Zero Carbon Certification on May 8th and finally the Embodied Carbon Summit (last session of LF20) on June 23rd.

  1. The revolution of transparency’s running full speed ahead
Etsy headquarters, Brooklyn NYC

It’s exciting to see the materials economy evolving. A lack of transparency has long concealed the usage of toxic chemicals from consumers. However, through the leadership of forward-thinking manufacturers pursuing the International Living Future Institute’s Declare and Living Product Challenge (LPC) programs, there are now hundreds of fully-disclosed and healthy products available in the market. This Re-imagining the Materials Economy through Declare and the Living Product Challenge two-hour workshop on May 7th featuring ILFI’s Materials team will help you understand the core requirements of both the Declare and Living Product Challenge programs, as well as the unique benefits of each and what it takes to get started.

  1. Silver linings
Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

Following ILFI Board Chair Anthony Guerrero “The global pandemic caused by the novel corona-virus is grabbing all the headlines, our attention, and more and more, our well-being. The only thing certain is that we’re not alone.” We need to be united, even if remotely connected, to be safe, following all the strict codes of conduct our governments are putting into force, and to keep our spirit of advocacy alive more than ever, looking forward to a Living Future. In one word, we need to be resilient. It is frequently said that the Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of two characters signifying “danger” and “opportunity” respectively. This is, however, not true, the second character is more something like “crucial point” (in the sense of something that starts or changes). I feel like we are about to live a big change. Anyway, let’s take the good from the bad; and there are a lot of positive linings even from the Covid-19 situation. For instance, this year LF20 attendees will save a tremendous of CO2 emissions, and this is surely good news.

  1. Best in class is the new normal
Kendeda Building, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta (GA, USA)

The number of Living Building Challenge registered projects is about to reach 700, with 125 certified projects. Even if taking on the Living Building Challenge is one of the most difficult and rewarding accomplishments in the building industry, the iconic Bullitt Center, Te Kura Whare, VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre are not alone, there other great examples across the world, demonstrating that LBC is technically feasible and financially viable. Each project is unique in its type, location and opportunities and each project comes with its own set of valuable lessons. The owners who have made these buildings possible have lit a beacon for all of us to follow in the dim realities of the climate crisis and varying global environmental and social challenges. This said, you can’t miss the session on Seven Living Buildings – Why and How They Did It on May 8th, featuring Denis Hayes (Bullitt Center) and others

  1. You’re tagged

The 10th reason why you cannot miss LF20 is … you. Yes, you are the most important reason you should attend this year’s LF. There is an amazing brilliant speech of Jeff Bridges (Mr. Lebowski for his thousands of fans) after receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2019 Golden Globes Ceremony last year. He quoted Richard Buckminster (“Bucky”) Fuller (pure genius) – “I’ve taken a lot of direction from him” – he said. Well, please watch this short video, you will realise why you’ve been “tagged”.

Have an amazing LF20, see you – virtually – soon.


(*) I deliberately said “watch” and not “attend” because I discovered that the former term has been searched on Google last month 8o times more than the latter. I think this is due to the Netflix boom effect of the Covid-19. I do apologise for this very S.E.O. vile expedient.

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