Conference Report: Dare Greatly

By Matthew Paul

Partaking in the 2008 West Coast Green Building and Innovation Conference was not just a learning experience it was quite simply, inspiring. With over 380 exhibitors showcasing the latest in resource-efficiency, green building and intelligent design, this conference displayed the extraordinary advances being made every year. Some of the most popular exhibits included: a two story home built of reused shipping containers, a bicycle with a built in water purification and storage system intended for use in developing countries and a sports car that runs on compressed air. Complimenting the ingenuity and technological advances, were over 100 experts and visionary leaders, presenting their latest developments, insights, and inspiring thoughts. Included in this field was keynote speaker Al Gore, who spoke in length about the need for a national energy grid and the hope for renewed federal energy policy. However, the dominant theme throughout the convention was “Dare Greatly.” Mr. Gore and many others touched on this topic, encouraging each and every one of us to act now. Not to wait for federal or presidential change but rather to take a risk, be inspired and in return help inspire others. Consequently it was hard not to feel inspired, feeding off the energy, enthusiasm and ideas people were creating; expanding the limits of what was previously thought possible.

In a time, where the media seems to dictate the somber mood and pulse of society it was refreshing to be in an “oasis” where there was such a strong undercurrent of optimism and hope. What is taking place right now, as witnessed through this conference, is nothing less than a revolution. From the bottom up, people are coming together to change the current system, to show a better way, a healthier way to live in interact in this world. And like a strong undercurrent, it eventually needs to surface, little by little at first, and then with little warning, it will erupt. Spewing an unstoppable force of innovation that will not be contained, nor corrupted by forces of the past. So it was with this optimism that I returned back to Monterey, re-energized to continue my studies and in my own way, dare greatly.

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