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Sustainable Cities Roundtables Celebrate

5th Anniversary Celebration Presents an Inspiring Call to Action

This year marks the 5th anniversary of the King County GreenTools program convening the Sustainable Cities Roundtables – and it’s an anniversary that did not go unnoticed. On March 12th, nearly 200 representatives of the green building leadership community – including elected officials, government staff from around the region, and industry thought leaders and practitioners – gathered at the world’s greenest commercial building here in Seattle to celebrate accomplishments while putting an inspiring call to action out for what’s next.

The Roundtables series is a unique and innovative approach to fostering cross-jurisdictional collaboration, resource sharing, and access to inspirational and practical education and learning opportunities among the cities in King County. The lunchtime series, hosted by different cities each month, brings together experts, local practitioners and authors covering a broad range of topics concerning green building, planning for a sustainable built environment, and climate change.

The anniversary event kicked off with inspiring words from the representatives of the cities and community partners who have provided the drive and elbow grease to plan the Roundtables. A recap of some of the favorite local and national headline speakers such as Hunter Lovins, AP Hurd, Peter Calthorpe, Sim Van der Ryn, coupled with some of the key accomplishments and outcomes from Roundtable participation, helped paint a picture of the depth and breadth of this program.

The event also honored key players who helped found, evolve, and support the Roundtables, with Outstanding Leadership in Green Building Awards delivered by King County Executive Constantine and Department of Natural Resources and Parks Director Christy True.  The Government Leadership Award went to City of Shoreline.  In 2013, the City was one of three to pass the code initiatives established by the Regional Code Collaborative. However, Shoreline’s commitment to sustainability started years before this.  In 2006, O’Brien & Company, in partnership with AHBL, Inc., worked with the City to develop a comprehensive Environmental Sustainability Strategy.

The celebration did far more than take a walk down memory lane, however. Recognizing that gathering this caliber of thought leaders in one space was a ripe opportunity, presentations from Executive Constantine, Bullitt Founder and CEO Denis Hayes, and University of Virginia’s Professor Timothy Beatley shifted the conversation to how the Roundtables, and the work of the green building community, must continue to evolve and go deeper, further, faster to address the critical challenges ahead of us.

GreenTools Program Manager Patti Southard, who was also recognized at the event for her inspirational leadership in managing the Sustainable Cities Roundtable series, presented a locally made ‘Living Future’ Capsule to the Bullitt Center, with an invitation to the community (yourself included!) to send in written aspirations to be planted in the capsule, for what should be accomplished in the next 5 years.

O’Brien & Company has proudly supported this program for the past five years through our work with GreenTools, and was thrilled to have a role in helping organize and participate in the anniversary event.

Quotes from Roundtable Participants
“Sharing allows us to move forward in a powerful fashion.” Mercer Island

“We’ll accomplish more through shared goals, coordinated actions, and pooled resources than we will by acting independently.”  King County

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