This week I’m excited to be reporting to you from the AASHE 2011 Conference. AASHE (The Association for the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education) holds the country’s biggest annual sustainability conference; this year it’s in lovely Pittsburgh! I’m here representing my nonprofit organization, RuckusRoots. We’ll be presenting about TRASHformation, an interactive, collaborative art program that turns campus-generated waste into a sustainably built work of art. Students and faculty from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, where we’ve implemented the program, will be on the panel with me!
But besides presenting, I’ll also be attending some very inspirational seminars by fellow attendees. Yesterday, for instance, I was lucky enough to catch both keynote speeches from Bill McKibbin and Majora Carter. Bill McKibbin founded 350.org, and is now front-running the biggest global environmental initiative in the world. (There’s Bill and me, above!) He was an incredible speaker (I may have even shed a tear when he showed pictures of all the different communities and tribes across the globe who are joining his cause, despite low economic standing or political strife). He encouraged us to peacefully gather for Obama’s arrival in Pittsburgh tomorrow, to pressure him to say no to the Keystone XL Tar Sands pipeline. You can bet I’ll be there.
And Majora Carter, a MacArthur Genius Fellow and founder of Sustainable South Bronx, talked about her work “greening the ghetto” and pioneering one of the nation’s first urban green-collar job training and placement systems. Majora was actually the replacement speaker for the late Wangari Maathai, another groundbreaking force in the green movement. The entire auditorium participated in a moment of silence, honoring and remembering Wangari’s incredible contributions to humanity and the planet.