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2008 Speaker Highlights


Al Gore
Al Gore,
Vice President

Former Vice President Al Gore is co-winner, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for "informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change." Mr. Gore is the author of An Inconvenient Truth, a best-selling book on the threat of and solutions to global warming, and the subject of the movie of the same title, which was awarded a 2007 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Gore also chairs the Alliance for Climate Protection, a non-profit organization designed to help solve the climate crisis.

He is cofounder and Chairman of Generation Investment Management, a firm that is focused on a new approach to Sustainable Investing. He is also a partner in the venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, heading that firm's climate change solutions group. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Apple Computer, Inc. and a Senior Advisor to Google, Inc. Gore is also cofounder and Chairman of Current TV, an independently owned cable and satellite television network for young people based on viewer-created content and citizen journalism.

Gore has been the leading advocate for confronting the threat of global warming since his election to the U.S. Congress 30 years ago. His pioneering efforts were outlined in his best-selling book Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit (1992). He led the Clinton-Gore Administration's efforts to protect the environment in a way that also strengthens the economy.

David Suzuki
David Suzuki,
Author & TV Host, The Nature of Things

David Suzuki is an award-winning biologist and broadcaster who has has pioneered efforts in sustainable ecology. For his work Suzuki has received a UNESCO Prize for Science, as well as the United Nations Environmental Medal. His best-selling books include Good News For A Change: How Everyday People are Helping The Planet, Genethics: The Clash Between the New Genetics and Human Values, and The David Suzuki Reader. He is also host of the award-winning television show The Nature of Things. David Suzuki is a brilliant interpreter of science and nature for the non-specialist and engages audiences in an informative and profound discussion of our place in the natural world. He is currently Professor Emeritus in Zoology at The University of British Columbia.

David Suzuki's Links:

Sarah Susanka
Sarah Susanka, FAIA,
Author, The Not So Big House, Susanka Studios

Bestselling author, architect and cultural visionary Sarah Susanka is leading a movement to redefine the American home and lifestyle. Her "build better, not bigger" approach to residential architecture has been embraced across the country and her "Not So Big" philosophy is evolving beyond our physical habitations and into how we inhabit our lives.

In May, Random House released Susanka's latest title, The Not So Big Life: Making Room for What Really Matters. In the book, she reveals that quality-over-quantity serves not only architectural aims, but life goals as well. She unveils a process for changing the way we live by fully inhabiting each moment of our lives and showing up completely in whatever it is we are doing. Through this process, readers will discover more meaningfulness, vitality and that sense of being "at home" in life that so many people are searching for today.

Thought Leader, Speaker and Expert Resource
Susanka has shared her insights with "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "Charlie Rose" and HGTV. She is regularly profiled in leading shelter and lifestyle magazines and featured in newspapers including The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

Fast Company named her to their debut list of "Fast 50" innovators whose achievements have helped to change society—an honor preceded by her selection as a "top newsmaker" for 2000 by Newsweek magazine and an "innovator in American culture" in 1998 by U.S. News & World Report. Builder magazine consistently ranks her as one of the "50 most influential people in the building industry." Recently, Midwest Living magazine declared Susanka one of 20 style innovators. In May, Susanka received the Anne Morrow Lindbergh Award by the Lindbergh Foundation for outstanding individual achievement, demonstrating a spirit of initiative and exemplifying great dedication toward making positive contributions to our world.

As a leading advocate for the re-popularization of residential architecture, Susanka has improved the quality of home design while countering the elitist image of architects so commonly held by the public. She is regularly tapped for her dynamic presentations by Fortune 500 companies, homebuilders, nonprofits and trade organizations.

Acclaimed Author, Six Best-Selling Books In her groundbreaking book, The Not So Big House (Taunton, 1998), Susanka encourages homeowners, builders, remodelers and design professionals to focus on quality over quantity—on what makes us feel comfortable rather than what impresses the neighbors. Her second book, Creating the Not So Big House, released in 2000, features 25 examples of "Not So Big" homes and remodels. This was followed by Not So Big Solutions for Your Home in 2002, a small but densely packed volume that's full of fixes and ideas for common house problems. In 2004, Susanka launched Home By Design, a companion to her "Not So Big House" series, that describes many of the principles and concepts that allow one to build "Not So Big." One year later, Susanka partnered with Marc Vassallo to write Inside the Not So Big House, zooming in on the built-in details that bring character and personality to a home. In 2006, Susanka collaborated with acclaimed landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy, and released Outside the Not So Big House, weaving inside and outside together and showcasing 20 examples of gardens that surround "Not So Big" houses.

Susanka is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects and a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council. She was born in Kent, England, and lives in North Carolina.

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Hear more about Sarah's experience at West Coast Green.

Sarah Susznka's Links:

Michelle Kaufmann
Michelle Kaufmann,
Principal, Michelle Kaufmann Designs

Our office is a leader in sustainable design. WE have been published in the New York Times, Time, Money, USA Today. The National Building Museum in Washington DC is building our Glidehouse in their museum for an exhibit they are doing on Green Building. Michelle Kaufmann has been a speaker at Prefab Now, hosted by Dwell magazine and UCLA hammer museum, at the Walker Art Center, DWR studios, Prefab Proactive by Dwell, AIA Minnesota convention, has been a professor at Iowa State University, and Woodbury University.

Michelle Kaufmann's Links:

Hunter Lovins
Hunter Lovins,
Founder & President, Natural Capitalism Group

Hunter Lovins is an international consultant, professor, speaker and author on enhancing business value while practicing environmental sustainability. She presents regularly to audiences ranging from business, government, community groups and universities. For over 20 years, she has been widely published, quoted and referred to on how being environmentally friendly increases profits.

Hunter is one of the founders of the new field of Sustainable Management, a co-developer of America's first accredited MBA Sustainable Management program and a Professor of Business at Presidio School of Management. Hunter's best known book, Natural Capitalism- Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, is widely considered to be an inspiration and an essential reference book. President Clinton called it "A huge deal." The Economist stated, it will "...leave every reader with the hope that the old battle between business and the environment can reach a peaceful and constructive conclusion." She has authored hundreds of articles and books.

Hunter Lovins' Links:

John Knott
John Knott,
Founder & CEO, Noisette Project

President and co-founder of the Noisette Company, LLC, John Knott leads the Noisette Project development team, which is collaborating in a public-private partnership with the City of North Charleston to restore 3,000 acres of the city's historic urban core. Mr. Knott has 38 years of experience in the urban redevelopment, historic preservation and community rehabilitation fields. He is an internationally recognized leader in the redevelopment of cities, and has served as an advisor to municipalities throughout the United States and Canada, in addition to cities in China and Russia.

As the Noisette Company's visionary, Mr. Knott guides the Company's master planning process with the local community in North Charleston, emphasizing the balance between business and residential uses with the restoration of the region's ecosystem. In 2001, Dewees Island, a 1,206-acre eco-friendly residential development managed by Mr. Knott, won the Urban Land Institute's prestigious Award for Excellence.

John Knott's Links:

Mayor Chuck Reed
Chuck Reed,
Mayor, San Jose

Chuck Reed is the 64th Mayor of San José. Launching the San José Green Vision in October 2007, he has laid out 10 ambitious goals that will guide the City of San José over the next 15 years including a commitment to receive all electrical power from clean renewable sources. As Mayor of San José, Chuck is committed to improving the quality of life in the City, boosting the public's trust in local government, and fixing the City's structural budget deficit. The Reed Reforms, a comprehensive strategy to return honesty, fiscal responsibility, and open government to City Hall, are part of Chuck's vision to make the political process more accessible to the general public. The reforms require further disclosure from elected officials, add restrictions on lobbyists, and increase the role of citizens in San José government.

Chuck Reed's Links:

Allison Arieff
Allison Arieff ,
Editor, Sunset Magazine and "By Design" Columnist, New York Times

Allison Arieff writes the "By Design" column for the New York Times, Editor at Large for Sunset magazine, and lectures frequently on sustainability, architecture and design. Arieff was the Editor in Chief of Dwell, and was the magazine’s founding senior editor. She is the author of the books Prefab and Trailer Travel.

Allison Arieff's Links:

Eric Corey Freed
Eric Corey Freed,
Principal, organicARCHITECT

Eric Corey Freed is principal of organicARCHITECT, an architecture and consulting firm in San Francisco, with 15 years of experience in green building. Eric teaches the Sustainable Design program he developed at the Academy of Art University and University of California Berkeley. He is on the boards of Architects, Designers & Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), Green Home Guide and West Coast Green, as well as the advisory boards of nearly a dozen other organizations. He is one of the founders of ecoTECTURE: The Online Journal of Ecological Design. His monthly column at is syndicated to over a dozen other publications. Eric lectures around the country at 40+ conferences a year, and his work has been featured in Dwell, Metropolis, Town & Country, Natural Home and Newsweek. Eric is the author of "Green Building & Remodeling for Dummies", a best seller with 50,000 copies in print.

Eric Corey Freed's Links:

Randy Hayes
Randy Hayes,
Senior Staff, IFG

Randy Hayes, working from the US, is a Climate Policy Officer at the World Future Council. The World Future Council, based in Hamburg, is a global forum composed of 50 respected individuals from around the world championing the rights of future generations and working to ensure that humanity acts now for a sustainable future Randy Hayes is also the founder of Rainforest Action Network. Hayes, a filmmaker in the '80s, is a veteran of many high-visibility corporate accountability campaigns, has advocated for the rights of Indigenous peoples. He also worked as the President to the City of San Francisco Commission on the Environment (5 years) and Director of Sustainability in the office of Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown (2 ½ years). He worked at the International Forum on Globalization (4 years), a think-tank on the global economy is based in San Francisco.

Randy Hayes' Links:

Jeff Oberdorfer
Jeff Oberdorfer,
Executive Director, First Community Housing

As Executive Director of First Community Housing, a non-profit affordable housing developer in San Jose, California, Jeff Oberdorfer AIA, CDS has pioneered in the arena of "Green", sustainable, multi-family housing for working individuals and families in the greater Bay Area. First Community Housing coordinates all financing, entitlements and award winning design on their mixed use developments. Jeff is a LEED Certified Professional and a frequent speaker at forums focused on smart growth and affordable housing.

Jeff Oberdorfer's Links:

Shyam Kannan
Shyam Kannan,
Vice President Director of Research and Development, RCLCO

Shyam Kannan is a Vice President at Robert Charles Lesser and Co. based in our Washington, D.C. Shyam has expertise in all aspects of real estate development, including large-scale mixed-use ventures, complex infill projects, and high-rise mixed-use developments. He brings over a decade of experience in green buildings to clients needing strategic advice and market analytics surrounding green building and brownfield redevelopment. He leads RCLCO's research endeavors surrounding green and sustainable development as well as changing consumer preferences for residential development. He is currently a full member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and sits on its Transit-Oriented Development Council.

Shyam Kannan's Links:

Josiah Raison Cain
Josiah Raison Cain,
Landscape Architect and Ecological Designer, Rana Creek Living Architecture

Josiah Raison Cain is a landscape architect carrying degrees from UC Davis and Harvard, with 15+ years of dedication to "green" design. He was raised on a remote organic farm in Northern California.

Josiah Raison Cain's Links:

Chris Jordan
Chris Jordan,
Photographer and Designer

Chris Jordan is an internationally acclaimed photographic artist and activist whose work explores the detritus of American mass culture. His newest series, titled Running the Numbers, depicts the staggering statistics that define contemporary America, in huge intricately detailed panels as large as thirty feet wide. These huge works invite the viewer to walk up close and see every detail as a metaphor for the role of the individual in our hypermodern society. Chris's work is exhibited widely in the US and Europe, and has been featured in magazines, newspapers, weblogs, documentary films and television programs all over the globe. A sought-after speaker on the subject of mass culture, Chris also has appeared on several national television programs recently. Currently Chris is spokesperson for National Geographic's Earth Day 2008. He lives in Seattle with his wife the poet, Victoria Sloan Jordan, and his son Emerson.

Chris Jordan's Links:

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