Greetings Friends,

I wanted to take a moment at the end of this eventful year to reflect on life at Living Future, and to share some of my excitement for the work to come in 2022. My first 5 months as CEO have been packed with meeting brilliant people, engaging in thoughtful strategic conversations, poring over spreadsheets (I happen to love a good spreadsheet), and engaging in the deep work of setting up a culture with the ILFI staff that will lead us into the next era of the organization. I remain humbled and delighted to be in this role and in this amazing community of world-changers and visionaries. And I am thrilled with the work that we’ve been able to accomplish in the second half of this year. 

ILFI had a transformative and landmark 2021 in many respects: 

  • We registered more new projects than any previous year since our founding, which you can read about more in my fabulous colleague Richard’s blog here. We have seen major strides in projects pursuing Living Building Challenge, Zero Carbon, or Zero Energy certifications, including our first sports arena–the Climate Pledge Arena, in our hometown of Seattle. I’ve been particularly impressed by the Harvard Science and Engineering Complex and the new headquarters of PAE, the cutting-edge engineering firm that will open its living building to tenants and the Portland workforce in coming months. 
  • We launched a new Corporate Membership option to enable teams to be a part of our work at a firm level, and we are already so delighted by the firms that have joined us in that community. In the new year, we will begin stakeholder engagement around a new concept for our network that will allow us to scale our work globally, balancing the ever-challenging dynamic of centralized organization and grassroots, decentralized momentum that nonprofits like ours have to navigate.

The challenges of the global pandemic continue to be a part of our daily life at ILFI. It affects our work in concrete ways, especially as conveners of this community. We were hopeful that we could reconvene Living Future 2022 in person, but the constant news of variants and travel restrictions compelled us to apply an abundance of caution in our event plans. We really look forward to seeing you all virtually in May for LF22! It will be my first Living Future as ILFI’s CEO, so I am particularly excited about the speakers we are lining up, and for the opportunity to speak with you all about the work and the challenges ahead. If you register here for LF22 before Dec 31st, 2021, as a bonus you’ll get free access to our LF21 conference session videos on demand!

The pandemic has also impacted us personally: we have lost loved ones, it has changed our rituals and our wanderings, it has affected our communities. As people who think daily about the ways in which climate change is impacting our lives, we spend time mourning these losses and considering what enormous losses are still to come as we face more severe impacts of climate change. For me personally, this is a motivating force to get me focused on the work. But all of us have hard moments when we just need to mourn and take space for ourselves, and that has been the case for many folks at ILFI this year. If you are experiencing moments like this, please know that we are with you. Sharing grief with your community can connect us and create space for the type of action and change that the world needs today.

I am so thankful for the community that surrounds us every day at ILFI. I’m thankful for the passionate and wonderful staff of the Institute who show up every day with such enthusiasm and open hearts to do this transformative work. I’m thankful for our Board and Advisory Board, our passionate advocates and members, the teams engaging with our programs, and all of you who support our work in every way. And a special thank you to our donors and funders, who help to allow our work to grow and deepen. In particular, I’m so proud of the work we’ve been able to do with our Affordable Housing program this year- our current cohort is the biggest yet, and huge thanks is due to our funding partner, JPB Foundation. We had our most successful Giving Tuesday campaign ever this year, and we are so profoundly grateful for that.

I want to close by asking for your continued support. I’ve been a part of the professional community of people working to transform the building industry for many years, and I know the passion that this community has for the work that we do. We need a robust community of nonprofit organizations fueling this work for change. We are here to make sure that the momentum grows, to hold the industry accountable for change, to educate and mobilize and do whatever it takes to secure a better future built environment for everyone. That is the role we play in society, and we do it with your support. Without the non-profit community, the building industry would not be capable of rising to the challenges ahead. We are currently working on our 3-year Strategic Plan for 2022-2024 to continue charting an impactful path, which I’m so excited to share with our community in early 2022. So if you can, please consider donating to us, or to one of the other wonderful organizations doing work to transform how we build and operate our buildings and cities. 

Yours in pursuit of a living future for all,

Lindsay

Written By

Lindsay Baker

As CEO of the International Living Future Institute, Lindsay Baker is the organization’s chief strategist, charged with delivering on its mission to lead the transformation toward a civilization that is socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative. Lindsay is a climate entrepreneur, experienced in launching and growing innovative businesses. Her introduction to the green building movement began at the Southface Institute in Atlanta, where she interned before entering Oberlin College to earn a BA in Environmental Studies. She was one of the first 40 staff members at the U.S. Green Building Council, working to develop consensus about what the LEED rating system would become. She then earned an MS from the University of California at Berkeley in Architecture, with a focus on Building Science, and spent five years as a building science researcher at the UC Berkeley Center for the Built Environment. Lindsay applied her experience around the study of heat, light, and human interactions in buildings to a role with Google’s Green Team, and later co-founded a smart buildings start-up called Comfy, which grew over five years to 75 employees and a global portfolio of clients. She was the first Global Head of Sustainability and Impact at WeWork, where she built the corporate sustainability team and programs from scratch. Lindsay is a Senior Fellow at the Rocky Mountain Institute, and a lecturer at UC Berkeley. She serves on several non-profit boards, and is an advisor and board member for numerous climate tech startups.