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Lauren Wheeler wrote an interesting reflection on historian William Cronon‘s plenary talk at the 2011 American Society for Environmental History conference in Phoenix a few weeks ago. Wheeler’s reflection is titled “Reflection on Sustainability: Cronon’s 2011 ASEH Plenary Address,” and Cronon’s talk was titled “Sustainability: A Short History for the Future.”

Among other things, Wheeler has the following to say: (more…)

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On Feb. 9, 2011, the Cascadia Green Building Council will feature Kath Williams speaking on “Opportunities in Eco-communities: People, Planet, and Profits”

    Globally the title “Eco-city” is used as a descriptor for every municipal project that is even the lightest shade of “green.” From newly constructed communities in China and Middle East to sustainable infrastructure projects in developed and developing nations, it is easy to bestow upon oneself the title. The questions becomes what are the motivations and what are the criteria? From lessons learned while working around the world, Kath Williams proposes all measurement tools should be framed in terms of values and opportunities for people, profit, and the planet if the goal of sustainability is ever to be achieved.

Williams is Principal of Kath Williams & Associates. She was Past president of the World Green Building Council and Executive Vice President of the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL).

The event will be held on Wednesday, Feb 9, 2011, at the Turnbull Open Space, White Stag Building, University of Oregon, 70 NW Couch St., Portland. Doors open at 5:00PM, lecture begins at 5:30PM Cascadia Members and students are free (RSVP mandatory), general audiences pay $10.

See the event announcement for more details.

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The Illahee Lecture Series was founded in 1999 and is a program of the Portland-based non-profit Illahee Institute. The organization’s mission is to provide participants with “practical tools for understanding the nature of our home here in the Pacific Northwest, and for taking care of it. We provide the region opportunities for science-based, policy-relevant environmental inquiry.”

The group’s founders chose the Chinook word illahee, which describes “‘earth, ground, land, country, place or world.’ Unlike the word ‘environment’ that implies a separation, illahee conveys the all-encompassing relationship that ties the people of a place to the land and each other.” (Source)

One of Illahee’s ongoing questions has been: “Why is it so difficult for individuals, nations and the international community to address obvious issues like water needs, energy transition and climate change?” To address this question, their 2011 lectures center on the topic “Searching for Solutions: Innovation for Public Good.”

Upcoming lecture details and dates can be found here; archived lecture details and dates can be found here

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There’s an intriguing documentary premier upcoming:

“The Greenest Building”

(A Wagging Tale Productions Documentary)

Monday, Jan. 31, 2011, 6:30 – 8:00 P.M.

The Gerding Theater at the Armory
128 NW Eleventh Ave., Portland

Movie description:

    Over the next 20 years, Americans will demolish one third of our existing building stock (over 82 billion square feet) in order to replace seemingly inefficient buildings with energy efficient “green” buildings.

    Is demolition in the name of sustainability really the best use of natural, social, and economic resources? Or, like the urban renewal programs of the 1960’s, will this well-intentioned planning result in devastating environmental and cultural consequences?

    (more…)

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Onward Oregon is

    part of growing grassroots movement to restore civic power to the people of Oregon and their communities. We envision a state where all of us can enjoy comfort and prosperity, equal opportunity and a beautiful and healthy environment. But this will not happen without your participation. Many Americans have forgotten that government is actually, “We, the people,” not—as some would have us believe—an alien, inept or untrustworthy entity. Let us reclaim our constitutional right to a truly democratic government. Our path is not left or right, but onward.

One of Onward Oregon’s current initiatives is their Mapping the Commons workshop series:

    Oregon Commons, a project of Onward Oregon, is presenting a series of workshops this fall as a step toward our larger goal of strengthening active stewardship of the commons — the gifts of nature and civilization we share across generations. Join us for “Mapping the Commons,” a fun and interactive workshop designed to help grow our awareness, our network and our commitment to serving the common good. Together, we’ll explore the many facets of the commons and identify opportunities to become more active as its caretakers.

Onward Oregon is hosting two of these free workshops this fall:Salem on Nov. 13 and Portland on Nov. 20.

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The Portland State University (PSU) Institute for Sustainable Solutions hosts Solutions Seminars every Wednesday from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., at PSU’s Shattuck Hall Annex (1914 SW Park Ave.). These seminars “explore visionary and desirable solutions to the environmental, economic, and social challenges of our time.”

PSU’s journal Solutions: For a Sustainable and Desirable Future helps sponsor this series. Learn more about the Solutions Seminars series at the Solutions website here.

Past speakers have included:

    Robert Costanza, PSU professor of sustainability, director of the ISS, and co-founder and editor-in-chief of Solutions. He spoke on “Solutions for a Sustainable and Desirable Future.”

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I just learned about a book of relevance to the SHP that is soon to be released:

This book is “a collaborative exploration of how small businesses can effectively and efficiently shift toward sustainability and thrive.” This exploration involves “Fifty-one small-business people from Portland” who “share their experiences with implementing sustainable practices in their companies.” The collaborative effort to create the book involved crowdsourcing. As the book’s website identifies:

    The difference between crowdsourcing and ordinary outsourcing is that a task or problem is outsourced to an undefined public rather than a specific other body. The difference between crowdsourcing and open source is that open source production is a cooperative activity initiated and voluntarily undertaken by members of the public. In crowdsourcing the activity is initiated by a client and the work may be undertaken on an individual, as well as a group, basis.

Mercy Corps Northwest is hosting a free-of-charge book release party for Portland Bottom Line on Wednesday, November 10, from 5-8 pm (with a program at 6) at Mercy Corps HQ, 45 SW Ankeny St., Portland.

The book’s website provides some sample chapters and a forum for other regional business professionals to share their stories.

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** Updated soon after posting, with information from the editors. Thanks, editors!

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