Happy New 2014 to everyone in our greenroof and greenwall community, and to your families as well!
While implementing (and breaking) our New Year’s resolutions and planning for the new year, the world has also been dealing with some challenging freak weather lately.
As in other areas of the southern United States, here in the metro Atlanta area we just experienced a devastating near complete shutdown of interstates and highways after Tuesday’s snowfall – in fact, the governor issued a state of emergency for the entire state of Georgia. Due to the snow, heavy traffic and sheets of ice, motorists were inching by or stranded for hours on hazardous roads, children had to stay overnight at schools (reports say about 8,000 students across Georgia and Alabama woke up yesterday in school gyms or on buses), and we have experienced thousands of accidents. At present, there are still hundreds of abandoned cars all over the roadways.
“Tennis courts like a sauna” and “extreme heat.” – After 2013’s recently being declared Australia’s hottest year on record, Melbourne experienced three consecutive days of extreme heat above 40°C during the recent Australian Open. Some spectators, ball kids, and tennis players became ill or fainted during these sizzling hot days when temperatures reached up to 109°F (43°C) . To avoid heat stress they placed bags of ice on their heads and necks between points and the scorching heat even halted play.
Results of global warming? Maybe. At least these are examples of some major temperature extremes in just the first month of our new year!
On Tuesday, here in the U.S. we watched President Obama’s fifth State of the Union address before Congress. Just a couple of his economic proposals regarding climate and energy highlighted working with states and communities on climate change resiliency and cutting pollution plus urging our Congress to end tax benefits for the oil industry and use revenues to invest in advanced vehicles that use cleaner fuels. Awesome.
Obama says let’s make 2014 “a year of action.” Certainly we cannot continue to heavily depend on high-carbon fossil fuels but must continue to strive towards a sustainable approach to drive innovation and embrace clean renewable energy solutions.
In our greenroof and wall world we all, too, must take a look at how we conduct business and how we can make it better – more profitable, more sustainable, more inclusive. What are you doing within your organization to lower costs, increase sales or open up areas of debate? Share your 2014 stories and strategies with us – we’d love to share your experience through a Guest Feature Article or blog post here on Sky Gardens.
Here at Greenroofs.com we have been brainstorming ourselves. We sat down to plan: our activities for Earth Hour and Earth Day (should we bring back our Love the Earth, Plant a Roof Photo Contest?), which conferences we will attend (possibly Grey to Green in Toronto in June; World Green Infrastructure Congress, Sydney in September; Qingdao International Ecocity & Green Roof Conference in China in October; CitiesAlive in Nashville in November), and think about what we want to accomplish and how can we best maximize our time, serve our community, and continue to change to reflect the evolving needs of our readership.
We are convinced that information sharing and open communication are key to a vibrant, growing living architecture industry. As markets continue to open up across the world through private and public support, opportunities abound – locally and globally.
Along those lines I just wrote a chapter in the upcoming book entitled Green Cities around the World to be published soon by PRONATUR (a Spanish rooftop agricultural group head by Dr. Julian Briz and Dr. Isabel de Felipe, member of the World Green Infrastructure Network or WGIN) and WGIN itself. It’s entitled “Greenroofs & Greenwalls in the New Millennium: The Influence of the Age of Technology through Online and Social Media.”
I present an overview of how the advancement of greenroof and wall design, construction, and the industry itself has flourished since the turn of our new 21st century with the advent of the widespread use of the Internet, through its innate entrepreneurial spirit, and the continuing rise of information technologies.
Did you know that, according to Internet World Stats, by December 31, 2000 the Internet had 360,985,492 users worldwide and by June 30, 2012 the amount had exploded to 2,405,518,376 users? Our views of culture, social relationships, and how we interact in the world of e-business have forever changed through electronic media and smart devices. The Internet has altered the way we do business forever – surfing the net has become a way of life around the world.
And, as most people know, social media is no longer an emerging new world in cyberspace, but an exponentially growing online reality of fantastical proportions. The impact and importance of social media and how it is changing the landscape of both the personal and professional worlds cannot be overstated. Here are some recent figures of the most widespread social networking websites used to create new online business contacts and friendships with people who share similar interests:
Facebook (1.26 billion users as of December, 2013);
LinkedIn (259 million users as of October, 2013;
Twitter (500 million total users as of October, 2013):
Google+ (540 million monthly active users as of October, 2013):
Pinterest (70 million users as of July, 2013;
Tumblr (216.3 million monthly visitors as of May, 2013):
Flickr (87 million users as of March, 2013);
and Instagram (more than 75 million monthly active users as of December, 2013).
This brings me to planning for our third virtual conference, the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2015: Connecting the Planet + Living Architecture. We firmly believe this platform is the future, a synthesis of technology and social media – education, entertainment, and social networking – interacting directly with people across the world in our highly targeted community. We’ve been searching for a new, lower cost medium to be able to broadcast the amazing video content provided by so many brilliant individuals and hard working organizations and further engage everyone in lively video, audio and text chatting.
While strategizing new relationships and collaboration partnerships, we continue to investigate out-of-the-box ideas and certainly welcome your input for an even greater, fun and vibrant virtual summit in 2015. Next month we’ll start airing our 37 videos from our Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2013. We hope these keynote, panel sessions, and individual videos will inform and inspire you!
Let’s make 2014 a year of taking new actions: plan your business and marketing strategy along with your educational and personal growth goals; engage your friends, associates, and peers to help you execute your plans; and network with new social endeavors, online and in real life! If you’re not already connected with us, do so.
Stay warm (or cool), and try and have fun, no matter the circumstances.
I hope to see you at a physical conference or chat online soon!
~ Linda V.