What do you think of when you hear the words "slum" or "poverty"? When Dr. Antwi Akom hears those words, he thinks of genius and hotbeds of green innovation. He thinks of masters of “TAO”: people turning adversity into opportunity. Akom is Associate Professor at San Francisco State University, co-founder of I-SEED, and co-founder of Streetwyze. He believes that a truly sustainable future relies on the local knowledge of ordinary citizens.
That was the motivation behind a discussion at Greenbuild 2016, and it served as the theme of our second season premiere of Changemakers. We are taking you inside a special TalentFX session featuring a conversation with Akom; Brendan Owens, Chief of Engineering at USGBC; Tessa Cruz, Program Manager for I-SEED; and Karla Ortiz, Youth Organizer with the East Los Angeles Women's Center. The discussion revealed why it’s important to make sustainability serve everyone, and how we can start doing that today.
Takeaways for changemakers
The conversation centers on access and opportunity. Akom’s work shows the powerful insights we gain when diverse perspectives and underrepresented individuals are brought to the table.
By democratizing data and decision-making in the poorest parts of our communities, Akom suggests, we can make progress toward solving the world’s greatest social problems—like poverty and global warming. Through the power of collaboration, we can have development without displacement. There can be social equity, clean energy, healthy schools and sustainable economic development.
Things you can do right now:
- Every USGBC member has the opportunity to propose pilot credits that focus on what they would like to see LEED address. From Bird Collision Deterrence to Informing Design Using Triple Bottom Line Analysis, LEED has a built-in testing environment to encourage innovation and explore new ways to effect the change that is so much a part of our mission.
- Learn who can propose a pilot credit.
- Find out how are pilot credits are evaluated.
- View the pilot credit library.
- Antwi Akom will join USGBC again as the opening plenary speaker at the Green Schools Conference and Expo, taking place March 21–22 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Now we want to hear from you. What was your favorite part of today’s episode? What were your takeaways? Use #ChangemakersUSGBC to share your thoughts on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. We’d love to know what you think.