Courtesy of http://www.vanjones.net/

1. Van Jones

Van. Jones. Need we say more? The talented civil rights leader, former Obama White House advisor, and CNN political correspondent will be one of our keynote speakers. Van is the Founder and President of Dream Corps – an incubator, platform and home for world-changing initiatives that empower the most vulnerable in our society. Not to mention, he was a beacon of hope, and someone we always looked forward to watching, and listening to, throughout the 2016 Presidential election.


Courtesy of Eric Slomanson, Copyright 2011 http://bit.ly/2ggnW37

2. Naomi Klein

If you haven’t read This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate (2014) or watched This Changes Everything, the documentary narrated by Naomi Klein and inspired by the book she wrote – do yourself a favor and read/watch them. Naomi is a fierce earth advocate an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of international bestsellers. Plus, her Twitter bio reads: they say I’m polarizing. We’re just on the 2nd reason you should attend LF17, but this is already shaping up to be the best conference of the year.


Courtesy of Kathrin and Stefan Marks http://bit.ly/2gpawQH

3. Kirsti Luke

Kirsti Luke holds the honorable position of Chief Executive of Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua, Ngāi Tūhoe’s Tribal Authority, and she’s one of our heroes and sources of inspiration. Luke’s goal is to build the organization and the tribe’s economy and improve descendants’ quality of life. One of Kirsti’s biggest roles is to develop policies to improve or coordinate options for housing, health and employment for Tūhoe, and provide business recommendations to build up the tribe’s economy. In summation, she’s epic, and we are proud to have her as one of our keynote speakers.


4. The Genius and Courage of a Dream

George Bandy Jr., Vice President of Sustainability at Mohawk Group, is leading an interactive session on inclusivity and regenerative concepts in the built environment of the most underserved communities. He’ll explore solutions to achieve the communities we desire for ‘ALL’. George identifies opportunities to position environmental, economic and socially responsible solutions for both Mohawk and its customers, and he brings the dreams for inclusion to life.


5. Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Jevons Paradox?

Earth Day: the most-widely observed secular holiday in the world. Denis Hayes, pictured above, was its first principal organizer in 1970. Denis will be leading an awesome talk at LF17 with Zack Semke, a specialist in business development to catalyze the growth of mission-driven organizations, particularly ones devoted to ultra-low-energy building design and construction. Denis and Zack will unpack Climate defeatism and denialism, and draw upon environmental economics to connect Net Zero Energy building with the imperative to “keep it in the ground.” Prepare to be wowed.

6. Genius & Courage in the Workplace: Women in Leadership

Did you know that studies have long demonstrated that female leadership improves communication, mentorship, collaboration, and creative problem solving? These are all factors that bolster a company’s marketability and profit. Lauren Holmes of Lease Crutcher Lewis, Connie Hovotec of Ankrom Moisan Architects and Nicole Isle of Glumac will lead a session of Genius and Courage, showing us how women can seek leadership roles, identify and address gender bias in the workplace, and support female colleagues.


7. Tangible Change: Materials and the Living Building Challenge Workshop

On the first day of the conference, James Connelly of the International Living Future Institute is leading a workshop on the Materials Petal of the Living Building Challenge. James is an engaging speaker, fluent in Mandarin Chinese, an avid writer/blogger, and the perfect candidate to help you understand how to meet the materials-related imperatives of the Challenge. James will highlight examples of leading projects around the world, identify innovative products and share stories of how projects have changes the materials marketplace.

8. Small Things Matter: Inspiring the Next Generation’s Inner Conservationist

The design of the bird-friendly and net-zero energy Education Center at the Oregon Zoo responds to the Zoo’s mission to inspire respect for animals and action on behalf of the natural world. Get inspired at this session where The ZooTeens will lead the audience through an exercise to prototype an interactive exhibit based on the eco-services insects provide. Plus, Heather DeGrella & Alec Holser of Opsis Architecture, and Grant Spickelmier of the Oregon Zoo will educate us on the theme #SmallThingsMatter, showing us that small things aggregate to have a big impact, nature is closer than we think, and we accomplish more by working together.

9. Biophilic Design Summit

Okay, we’re pretty excited about this one. The International Living Future Institute together with members of the Biophilic Design Initiative are teaching us about the tools and resources that have been developed over the first year of the program, as well to explore strategies for achieving broader adoption of Biophilic Design among the design community, building owners, and cities. Amanda Sturgeon, ILFI CEO, will be speaking. She is a part of the top ten most powerful women in sustainability in 2015, recipient of the Women in Sustainability Leadership Award, and probably the best architect and CEO we know (excuse the bias).

10. Leadership at the End of the World: Finding Inspiration and Community through Grief and Compassion

Number 10. We had to choose one final session for this list, which was hard because there are so many great sessions and we wish we could attend all of them. But we chose this one because it impacts everyone, and can be translated to any part of your life. It is a session to cultivate courage and resilience. It will tap your ability to find compassion and insight in the most harrowing places in your heart and in our world. You will re-awaken to the vision of a Living Future, you will build community, you will laugh, and you’ll do a traditional meditation practice: the Cultivation of Compassion.

We hope you’ll join us for our most unforgettable unConference to date! See everything you’ll need to know for LF17 and register here: http://www.livingfutureunconference.org.

Written By

ILFI Staff

The International Living Future Institute is committed to working toward a future that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative.