The first annual GreenGov Symposium was kicked off last week with keynotes from the
Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Nancy Sutley, the
U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Secretary, Tom Vilsack and President of the Biomimicry Institute, Janine
Benyus. Harkening back to
President Obama’s Executive Order 13514 last year, the keynote speakers
critically assessed America’s progress towards sustainability. The audience was
reminded of the contents of the Executive Order, which included leveraging our
assets, our purchasing power, and generating a work force to advance clean air
The symposium and the three day long conference was itself a measure of the
tremendous strides that the government is making to become more
sustainable. The conference was
attended by 1,200 people, 60% of which were from the federal government. The remaining participants at the
conference represented non-governmental organizations and the private sector,
who are working just as, if not harder to combat climate change in innovative
and groundbreaking ways.
Many believe that that the most noteworthy aspect of the symposium was Secretary
Chu’s and Nancy Sutley’s announcement about solar panels and solar hot water
heaters on the roof of the White House.
These installations symbolize American’s green technological capacity
and reliability. They also represent America’s renewed and ongoing commitment
While solar installations on the White House are definitely dinner table conversation, it is important to
recognize the other milestones and events that took place during Greengov.
Quite simply, the dialogue between the government and the private sector
symbolize real change.
An excellent example of this was the established and ongoing
conversation and focus on the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). SFI
attended the symposium seeking to demonstrate to government officials how SFI
can help federal agencies promote/support forestry and purchasing. Representatives for SFI feel very
strongly that they effectively communicated to federal agencies /government
officials and created concomitant efforts between the two sectors. For more
information about the SFI at Greengov, click here.
Greengov was an informative and pioneering event that helped change the shape of the
Green movement into a more collaborative and collective approach. It encouraged every citizen, both
entrepreneur and federal employee to participate in fighting this critical