USGBC Seminar by Kendall Argast-Watson

Last week, on Wednesday, May 1seminar: The Other Sequestration: Reducing Atmospheric Carbon Sustainably. It consisted of three speakers: Jeffery Greenblatt, Staff Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Jeff Cole, Vice President of Portfolio Development, Blue Source and Steve Hardy from Hayward Lumber Company.

The first speaker, Jeffery Greenblatt spoke primarily about coal with CO2 sequestration. This would entail taking a coal plant and capturing the CO2 from it and diverting it to underground in various situations such as depleted oil gas reservoirs, to name one example. It has yet to be tried on an actual coal plant due to costs but as Jeffery stated they are in no position of giving up on this idea. Installing CO2 capture and separation on all US coal plants would reduce carbon emissions by 75 million tons per year. So it is definitely worth investing and continually researching into.

The second speaker, Jeff Cole spoke mostly about carbon trading and helping business and landowners find ways of becoming more sustainable. They have worked with Google, Chevrolet and Shell to name a few companies that have hired them. For landowners who hire them they have a development model to make the most in terms of sustainability with the land and the building upon it.

The third speaker, Steve Hardy spoke on behalf of the FSC or Forest Stewardship Council. To say forests are important for the environment of the world is an understatement. Forests are a habitat for 70% of the animals on this planet. The destruction of them is the second leading cause in global warming. His company’s job is to help protect forests that are owned privately in creating land that is not only profitable for the owner but sustainable for the future generations of this world.

At the end of all the lectures we were given a chance to ask any questions we had. I asked them what was the biggest lie or myth standing in the way of the progress of sustainable practices. Here is what they had to say:

Steve Hardy said that people think or say, “It doesn’t matter what I do. I’m just one person.” – However if each person does the slightest thing to make a difference, it will! Each little act adds up no matter how small.

Jeffery Greenblatt brought up the problem that people think or say, “There’s no such thing as global warming.” Certain people want to create confusion about climate change to gain their own financial strength. Other people develop blinders for various reasons. Also some people think there’s only one way to create a sustainable world, such as using wind or solar power. But we need to think of using all sorts of methods to produce efficient and sustainable energy.

Lastly Jeff Cole stated that there is a myth that there are no viable solutions to these problems. We need more problem-solving instead of just throwing our hands up at any dead end. There is not going to be any silver bullet that comes along and solves these issues perfectly. It will take perseverance,  I went to the USGBC of Northern California, Monterey Branch, patience and creativity.

In the end I learned a lot from attending this seminar. What I gained from each of the speakers’ responses and lectures is that it’s up to each of us to educate people and to change the world in our own way. We need to take step by step however slow to further the education and implement ideas for a greener world. There will be trials and errors. And sometimes we will need to make compromises to make progress for a sustainable world. In the end though, we will succeed.

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4 Responses to USGBC Seminar by Kendall Argast-Watson

  1. Thanks for the great summary on this interesting seminar, Kendall!

  2. Carol says:

    The first speaker would have a hard time convincing me about coal. There are additional, big problems with coal… Co2 is not the only one!

    Good article – thanks!

  3. Izabel says:

    Great article, Kendall! I was particularly curious about Jeff Cole’s role and I went to his company’s website to find out more about it:

    Since they offer solutions for purchasing offsets, they may be a good company to help us implement the air travel carbon offsetting policy that is in the Presidents’ Climate Commitment (as an alternative to buying offset from the airlines).

  4. Yes! It is up to us. Great article Kendall. 🙂

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