On Friday, March 16, 2012, 13 motivated Johnson & Wales Environmental Leadership Academy students and staff packed Fluid Meeting Spaces in Denver to learn more about environmental issues and what they can do to address them. The Cottonwood Institute put together an exciting day of activities and guest speakers to highlight examples of people and organizations that are truly changing the world. Here are a few takeaways from the day:
In the morning, Ford Church spoke about how he started the Cottonwood Institute, we walked through an interactive process highlighting how their students tackle local environmental issues, and learned about the Cycle of Cynicism and the Cycle of Hope. After showing Derek Siver’s video called How To Start A Movement, a big takeaway was that you don’t always have to be a leader to change the world – the first follower is critical to starting any movement.
We showed a video called the Story of Stuff and learned more about our waste cycle, including extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal and what we can do to help. We were shocked to learn that 99% of the things we buy from stores end up in a landfill within six months. Click Here for 10 little and big things you can do to address this problem.
Next, we heard from Jeff Aitken, Owner of Fluid Coffee Bar. He shared the core values of Fluid Coffee Bar and how they make decisions through a triple bottom line lens. If opportunities are not good for profit, planet, and people, they get creative about how they can partner with other folks to solve the problem or table the idea.
JD Prater from Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) gave an incredibly powerful, interactive presentation about climate change, including examples of ways that people all over the world are responding to this crisis. The big takeaway from JD’s presentation was to Do One Thing (DOT).
Adam Schlegel, the Co-Founder of Snooze A.M. Eatery, hosted an amazing lunch for us and told us more about how he and his brother launched their wildly popular breakfast joint. A big takeaway from Adam’s presentation was to start small and make environmental initiatives fun. Most restaurants do not recycle, so Snooze started small by starting a recycling program. Then they added composting and now divert close to 90% of their waste stream!
Finally, we wrapped up the day with John-Paul Maxfield, Founder of Waste Farmers. Waste Farmers is a next-generation, sustainable agricultural company focused on helping humanity meet current and future food demands while decreasing agriculture’s environmental footprint. Waste Farmers is an excellent example of a for-profit, socially conscious venture that is a true leader in the sustainable agriculture movement.
A special thanks goes out to Johnson & Wales and all of our dynamic speakers who volunteered their time to inspire us to continue to come up with creative solutions to our most pressing environmental problems.