Join us at NZ21 and Humanize Resilience in a Net Zero World

Remember in-person? Net Zero 2019. Photo by Reuben Herzl

 

Well here we go again, summer is coming to an end, and the Fall season of conferences and events will soon be upon us. This was supposed to be our post-vaccination summer of emergence and reconnection, and for the most part it was. Yet here we find ourselves a bit lost, clinging to hope, and a little unsure of where everything stands. 

The same could be said for those of us who spend our working hours somehow playing a role in this fight against climate change. Yes, Biden is in office and federal policy feels like it will finally be on our side; corporate net zero commitments are up and companies are hiring sustainability professionals at a never-before-seen clip, and yet…there is the latest IPCC report on climate change and the stark reality that we will not avoid its impacts. Sure, we can affect the severity of climate change, we can alter the course amidst that damned margin of error, but here we are trying to find meaning in an uncertain future.

Just like COVID, it is so easy to get lost tracking the data, digging to find more of it, and trying to read the tea leaves of trends to guide our reactions and emotions. This is the trap of being an analog human in a digital world, looking for straightforward, slidedeck-style answers to the complex problems of the intersectional realities found in many layered ecosystems. We will get vaccinated, we will wear masks, and we will still have a virus to deal with, just as we will build amazing net zero buildings with carbon negative materials, and we will still have climate change. 

The struggle is real, and this why we need to take a moment to be human, to realize that this struggle for progress is eternal, the joy is in the small moments of triumph, the happiness is in the friends you make along the way, and the haunting sorrow is that we will live only to see glimpses of our success reflected in the eyes of our children. That is the collective resilience of our species, a past and a future of adaptation and evolution, of technological innovation, and societal conventions in an infinite game. 

So enjoy this Fall for what it is and the progress it represents — a collection of inspiring virtual, hybrid, and emerging in-person events, starting with Verdical Group’s 8th annual Net Zero Conference, taking place September 13 – 16, 2021. Share with and learn from your colleagues, both virtually and in person. To take the moment to connect with someone new who is arm in arm with you in this fight, and keep them inspired on their journey. Explore the new Climate+Change platform on the first day of the event, September 13th, where you will hear stories of amazing people from across industries who are tackling the climate crisis. Take the time to wonder at how far we have come. 

We need this inspiration, we need to gather with our tribe for support, for expanding our minds, and for hardening our will for the journey ahead. Even though we have perhaps swapped the glow of the campfire for the glow of our laptop screens, we are making progress. In the decades that come, we will see our cities powered by renewable energy, our lives electrified, transparency in our materials, and a healthier and happier built environment, all driven in part by the cultural change taking place right now in conferences such as NZ21.

Join us to be part of this movement and find USGBC-LA in the program to hear from the innovative startup companies in our Net Zero Accelerator (11:30am on Sept. 14 & 15), all of which are delivering solutions to help make net zero carbon, energy, water, and waste a reality in buildings today. We’ll also be presenting at the “Find Your Career in Climate Action” fair on September 15 and sharing a short update on our new initiatives earlier in the week. Then celebrate this grand challenge with us on Wednesday, September 15th, at our Mini-Golf Tournament at our offices at the La Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown LA. The event will support this year’s Legacy Project, a resilience hub in Boyle Heights, reminding us of the good work we can do right here at home to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Together we will find the hope to push ourselves further, the stable ground on which to build our net zero future, and the knowledge that it will all be okay in the end. 

About the Author

Ben StapletonExecutive Director for USGBC-LA. A native Angeleno, Ben Stapleton is a recognized sustainability leader, who brings to this position extensive experience and connections across real estate, technology and innovation. He launched and managed the La Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown Los Angeles, most recently serving as SVP, Operations & Finance for the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI). The Campus has become an epicenter for sustainability in the region featuring events with prominent local, national and international leaders, while being home to a community of cutting-edge businesses and nonprofits. At LACI, Stapleton led major operational growth, program development, and partnerships to triple revenue for the non-profit. Simultaneously, he helped lead efforts that resulted in the La Kretz Innovation Campus becoming an iconic green building for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the City of Los Angeles, with multiple certifications, as well as pilot projects targeting waste, water, and energy efficiency. Stapleton has also held the positions of Managing Director of the LA Better Buildings Challenge and Vice President & Cleantech Practice Group Lead at JLL. He has served on the boards of LA Bioscience Hub and USGBC-LA. Representing competing schools in Los Angeles, Stapleton holds a MBA from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, and a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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