Bioneers is a pretty huge conference, and we know what kind of carbon footprint conferences can make, what with energy use, waste, water use and so on.
But the instant I arrived at Bioneers, it was clear that the organizers walk the walk of sustainability, taking measures to ensure that there is a far bigger intellectual footprint made than a carbon one.
Everywhere you turn, there are water stations, and not a single plastic water bottle. In fact, a biodiesel recycling truck is on site and sports Chris Jordan photographs underscoring the impact that plastic bottles make on our environment. Luckily, I brought my canteen. But I also took advantage of the free coffee being handed out, a stellar brew of organic, fair trade shade-grown coffee from Café Mam.
Going farther than just water, all the food packaging and cutlery is made with compostable materials. There are barrels everywhere in which a person can sort their recyclables and their compostables, helping Bioneers reach their goal of Zero Waste.
When I signed in, I was offered a reusable bag to carry around any press materials I gathered. I was also handed a hefty stack of beautifully printed conference catalogues, yearbooks, and other papers.
Puzzled at why a green conference was allowing so much printing to happen, I flipped the catalogue over and saw that it is printed by New Leaf Paper, and the stats on how much energy, water, trees, solid waste and greenhouse gasses were avoided by using the recycled, chlorine-free paper made me realize that a highly professional conference can be done in a very green way.
It doesn't stop there. I walked into the Exhibit Hall to see a sign telling me about the solar energy used by the center. 744 solar panels are on the roof of the Exhibit Hall, which generate 40% of the energy the Marin Center consumes. Also, 920,000 callons of fresh water are saved each year by the waterless urinals in the men's rooms. Bioneers picked a great site to help them walk the walk of sustainability.
An inspiring way to start off a green conference, I couldn't wait to dive in. More posts about Bioneers 2008 to come.
More on Bioneers 2008:
Bioneers 2008: Familiar Faces - Interface Carpets, WiserEarth, Nepalese Paper and More
Bioneers 2008: Mark Sommer Creates Educasts for Mobile Learning
Bioneers 2008: Opening Speech by Kenny Ausubel
Bioneers 2008: Nature and Technology Joining Forces
Bioneers 2008: A Green Conference Standard
Bioneers 2008: Solar-Powered Water Fountain a Great DIY Project