The Master Lecture Series
ENVIRONMENTAL LECTURE Tuesday, March 22, 7 pm
Speaker: Daniel H. Janzen
The Master Lecture Series
The Master Lecture Series
ENVIRONMENTAL LECTURE Tuesday, March 22, 7 pm
Speaker: Daniel H. Janzen
Peter Wege’s grandson Andrew Goodwillie used the occasion of Earth Day to remember his grandfather when he introduced architect Edward Mazria as this year’s 19th annual Wege Foundation Speaker. “To ‘Grampie,’” Andrew told the crowd at Aquinas College’s PAC, “every day was Earth Day, not just one day a year.” Andrew went on to say about Peter M. Wege, who died in July 2014, “My grandfather dedicated his life to making West Michigan and the world a better place. He inspired us all.”
Goodwillie introduced Mazria’s talk on an international movement to reduce carbon emissions from buildings by saying, “Grampie never met a building he didn’t want to turn into a green building.” In 2006 Edward Mazria founded Architecture 2030, a think tank created to accomplish exactly that.
Since half the energy used in the U.S. is consumed by buildings, Architecture 2030’s mission is to reduce by 50% the amount of fossil fuels in the built environment by 2030. The long-term goal is to reach zero emissions from buildings by 2050. Because 75% of all greenhouse gas comes from urban centers, the 2030 movement targets cities, with Seattle having been the first.
In the nine years since Mazria launched Architecture 2030, eight more cities have signed on with pledges from both the public and private sectors to meet the 50% reduction by the 20230 deadline. The day after Mazria’s Wege Lecture, the city of Grand Rapids voted to begin the process that will make it a 2030 city by the end of the year. (See related news article.)
By 2030 today’s 7.2 billion people will be joined by 1.1 billion more, mostly in cities. Constructing enough new space to house that many more people is equivalent to adding another New York City every 35 days. “We must lock in our energy needs,” Mazria emphasized, “because if we stop emissions now, over time the planet will be able to reabsorb the carbon.” Architecture 2030 intends to help Earth make that happen by cutting energy used by buildings in half within fifteen years.
Three generations of the Wege family meet with architect Edward Mazria after he gave the annual Wege Lecture at Aquinas College. From the left, Peter O’Connor, husband of the late Peter M. Wege’s granddaughter Sara holding their baby Peter Charles; Mary Goodwillie Nelson, Wege’s daughter; Edward Mazria and Andrew Goodwillie, Mary Nelson’s son who introduced Mazria at the Wege Lecture.
This year’s Wege Speaker Series is the 19th annual environmental lecture event, beginning April 23 at Aquinas Performing Arts Center.
In this episode of Catalyst Radio we feature an interview with the keynote speaker of the upcoming annual Wege environmental lecture series, Edward Mazria. Mazria is the founder of Architecture 2030 – a nonprofit research organization with a stated goal to “transform the building environment from being a major contributor of greannhouse gas emission, to being a central part of the solution to the climate and energy crises.”
Edward Mazria will be in Grand Rapids April 23 at Aquinas College Performing Arts Center, presenting his talk, “The Road to Zero.”
Every spring since 1997, the Wege Foundation has invited scientists, authors and thinkers to present a free public lecture on environmental issues and their connection to healthy economies and communities — a connection referred to by Peter M. Wege as “Economicology.” This is the first speaker series since the passing of Wege Foundation founder Peter Wege in 2014. Some previous have been Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Chief Prosecuting Attorney, Riverkeeper; Tom Kiernan, CEO, American Wind Energy Association; and Dr. Marie Lynn Miranda, Dean University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment.
We talk with Wege series keynote speaker Edward Mazria, via telephone.
Louie Schwartzberg, an internationally recognized time-lapse photographer of nature, doesn’t like the fact that the average age of visitors to national parks is 57. No wonder, since Schwartzberg’s mission is nothing less than “the future of the planet.” And if it’s to be protected, he needs young people to do it. Louie’s plan of attack is to meet the next generations where they live. On their cell phones.
So Schwartzberg has created a free phone app called “Moving Art” loaded with his spelling-binding photography—time lapses that become video. Bees pollinating flowers. Bats eating cactus flowers. Monarchs gathering in Mexico. All free with a click on the app. Scwartzberg told a full-house crowd at the March Wege Lecture in Meijer Gardens, “We protect what we love.” And the stunning visuals his cameras have captured on film are intended “to make you fall in love” with Mother Nature. His “Moving Art” app is how he hopes young people will “fall in love” with the planet they need to take care of.
For 35 years this Wege speaker has kept his cameras running 24/7 year around. And out of all those gazillion photographs, he has twelve hours of films. The films he featured at Meijer Gardens were about “The Hidden Beauty of Pollination.” As his audience sat mesmerized by the images of bees scattering pollen dust, Schwartzberg told them that “pollination is the source of life…we wouldn’t be here without flowers…one-third of the food we eat depends on them.”
Louie Schwartzberg’s inspiring presentation is exactly why the late Peter Wege set up these talks at his friend Fred Meijer’s botanical gardens. The Wege Foundation’s original logo asks the question, “Is the Planet Worth Saving?” Louie Schwartzberg is devoting his professional life to helping the world, especially young people, answer with a collective, “Yes!”
Architect and founder of Architecture 2030 to talk about developing architecture districts that serve as a business model for urban sustainability
The Wege Foundation will host the 19th Wege Speaker Series on Thursday, April 23 at 4pm at the Aquinas College Performing Arts Center. It is the first speaker series event since the passing of Wege Foundation founder Peter Wege in 2014.
At this year’s event, the key speaker is Edward Mazria, founder and head of Architecture 2030, an organization designed to rapidly transform the built environment from the major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to a central part of the solution to the climate and energy crises. His talk is titled, “The Road to Zero.”
“Peter Wege’s decades-long leadership in promoting green buildings makes Mr. Mazria the perfect choice to deliver the 2015 Wege Lecture and to inspire Grand Rapids to continue Mr. Wege’s Economicology legacy,” said Ellen Satterlee, CEO of the Wege Foundation. Mazria will powerfully illustrate a core principle of Economicology, that creating a healthy environment generates a prosperous economy.
Mazria is an internationally recognized architect, author, researcher, and educator. Over the past decade, his seminal research of the built environment has redefined the role of architecture, planning, design and building in reshaping our world to create access to no cost/low cost renewable energy.
Of particular interest in Grand Rapids are 2030 Districts, an initiative of Architecture 2030. These unique private/public partnerships bring property owners and managers together with local governments, businesses and community stakeholders to provide a business model for urban sustainability. Established in Seattle, 2030 districts in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Denver, Stamford, San Francisco, and Dallas comprise over 180 million square feet of real estate. New 2030 Districts are currently forming in cities across the U.S. and Canada.
Joining Mazria will be Vincent Martinez, Director of Research and Operations, Architecture 2030.
Partners for the 19th Wege Speaker Series event include:
The Aquinas College Performing Arts Center is located at 1703 Robinson Road S.E. in Grand Rapids. The public is invited and the event is free. Registration is required at www.aquinas.edu/wegespeaker
Edward Mazria BIO:
Edward Mazria, FAIA, Hon. FRAIC
Founder and CEO, Architecture 2030
Edward Mazria is an internationally recognized architect, author, researcher, and educator. Over the past decade, his seminal research into the sustainability, resilience, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions of the built environment has redefined the role of architecture, planning, design, and building, in reshaping our world. He is the founder of Architecture 2030, a think tank developing real-world solutions for 21st century problems.
Mazria issued the 2030 Challenge, and recently introduced the 2030 Palette, a revolutionary new platform that puts the principles behind low-carbon/zero carbon and resilient built environments at the fingertips of architects, planners, and designers worldwide. This past year he issued the Roadmap to Zero Emissions at the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) calling zero emissions in the built environment by 2050; and the 2050 Imperative that has been adopted by professional organizations representing over 1.3 million architects in 124 countries worldwide. And recently, he developed The Urban Climate Initiative, a framework of incremental actions that governments can put in place to ensure carbon neutral built environments by the year 2050.
Mr. Mazria’s awards include AIA Design Awards, American Planning Association Award, Department of Energy Awards, American Solar Energy Society Pioneer Award, Equinox Award, National Conservation Achievement Award, Mumford Award from Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility, inaugural Hanley Award, Distinguished Career Award from Pratt Institute, Zia Award from the University of New Mexico, Game Changers Award from Metropolis Magazine, 2011 Purpose Prize, and the 2015 Kemper Award from the American Institute of Architects. He is a senior fellow of the Design Futures Council, Honorary Fellow of the RAIC, and received an Honorary Doctor of Architecture degree from Illinois Institute of Technology.
Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, refers to the free potential of wind-energy as “the magic of wind” because it can “power a cleaner, stronger, America.” As this year’s presenter for the 18th annual Wege Foundation Speaker Series, Kiernan happily announced that wind-powered energy has increased ten-fold over the past decade
Today 4.4% of the USA’s electricity supplying the equivalent of 15 million homes comes from Mother Nature’s free, clean wind. By 2030, wind power is expected to account for 20% of this nation’s electricity. The state of Michigan is now the 16th biggest provider of wind energy in the country having tripled its capacity in the past two years.
Kiernan called wind energy a “perfect example of economicology,” Peter Wege’s term for finding a balance between the ecology and the economy. The for-profit electric companies using Shelley’s “wild spirit” now employ 80,000 people in 550 plants – 40 in Michigan – across the country. While Europe was the world’s early leader in wind energy, the USA has moved ahead with 900 wind farms now and 100 more under construction.
A wind farm typically consists of 50 turbines that have increased in height since the 1980s from 20 meters to 100 meters, the three spinning blades 100 meters long. At the same time, the per-kilowatt cost of electricity powered by wind has decreased 90% since 2000.
Kiernan, the former President of the National Parks Conservation Association, advocated for federal tax credits that triggered the growth spurt in wind energy. He urged the audience to vote this year for candidates who will support increasing wind energy by renewing tax credits.
In stressing the importance of clean energy, Kiernan told his audience in Aquinas’s PAC that “the future of the planet, life, and wildlife depends on what we do in the next ten years.”
In a talk titled Math to Maps to Moms, Dr. Marie Lynn Miranda gave the 17th Wege Foundation Lecture at Aquinas College April 18. The dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources & Environment is a leading authority on how environmental toxins are poisoning our children’s health—especially children whose families live in poverty.
Babies are not small people, Dr. Miranda explained, which puts them at the highest risk for ingesting toxins like lead. They crawl on the ground where cleaning chemicals are concentrated and put everything in their mouths. Even worse, because their metabolisms operate faster than in adults, babies are more apt to suffer brain damage from lead than their parents. Faster metabolisms mean babies take in more food and water per pound and breathe more air than adults making them more vulnerable to environmental toxins including lead.
Visible symptoms of lead poisoning include colic and wrist drop. But the worst consequences can’t be seen. Lead damages babies’ and children’s central nervous systems, hearing ability, and attention spans. Dr. Miranda’s research is directed at locating neighborhoods with the highest number of lead-poisoned children – almost always in impoverished parts of town.
She and her team find these children from blood samples that have been tested for lead. In those with elevated levels, Dr. Miranda found clear evidence of developmental deficits attributed to the lead in their blood stream.
But Dr. Miranda, who came to Michigan from Duke University, sees hope for mitigating the neurological damages of lead. And she starts with a colorful backpack full of new books and a library card for each child. Lab studies on rats have shown their lead-poisoned brains start functioning better when the rats are put in cages full of bright toys they can manipulate. For the children hurt by lead poisoning, Dr. Miranda sees the stimulation of books and mentors reading to them as the best hope to improve their brain function. Passionate about her cause, Dr. Miranda told the Aquinas audience, “These children deserve every opportunity all our children do.”
Jessica Wege McLear and Caitlin Wege are pictured above with Dr. Mary Sue Coleman, President of the University of Michigan. The sisters came across the country, one from Boston, one from San Diego, to attend Michigan’s annual Peter M. Wege Lecture started by their grandfather in 2001. This year’s speaker was Achim Steiner, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and head of the UN Environment Programme. His title was, “The Imperative of Change: Environmentalism in the 21st Century.”
The UN executive’s thesis took a page out of Peter M. Wege’s two books on ECONOMICOLOGY when he addressed the need to balance the economy with the ecology. Steiner’s argument is that “nature is also capital” and must be treated for its financial worth. “Functioning wetlands have value,” he told the audience in Rackham Hall. “Pollination services by bees are free but shouldn’t be.”
Because humans have considered the natural world as a free resource, we have exploited it without regard to its financial worth. “Mankind’s non-valuation of nature over time is tragic,” Steiner said. “We have to become more economically literate about the environment.”
And echoing Peter M.Wege’s top global concern, Achim Steiner spoke to the threat of over population. “We have seven billion people today, nine billion by 2050.” His ‘Imperative of Change’ is that we must act now to conserve Earth’s finite resources in the face of the exploding number of people dependent on nature for survival.
Steiner noted that the difference between our reaction to the smog pollution of the last century and the global climate-change damage in the 21st is that people could see and smell dirty smog. But the destructive pollution of carbon dioxide is invisible and odorless. Most discouraging to his audience was the statistic that world governments now spend eight to nine times more money subsidizing carbon industries than they spend diminishing emissions.
“We must transition to a green economy,” he said, before it’s too late.
Chris Palmer delivered the 15th annual Aquinas College Wege Lecture at 4 pm April 15. Earlier in the day, the internationally known environmental filmmaker began sharing his films and stories with 120 enthusiastic sixth-graders from the Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Blandford School, Zoo School and the Center for Economicology, housed at City High Middle.
The students learned that the underwater camera he used to make the IMAX whale film weighs 300 pounds and has no audio; the battery only lasts three minutes so the divers have to constantly resurface. Eleven hours of filming resulted in the 40-minute whale documentary and cost $3 million to make. In the IMAX theaters, the Southern Right Whale film grossed $7.5 million.
In his talk with 7-12th grade students, Chris noted that wildlife filmmakers often have to “stage” the action, as his crew did by digging a den themselves to film the female wolf with her cubs. Palmer, who struggles with the ethics of staging such settings, asked the students their thoughts on the subject. In general, the students did not object as long as the staging did not harm animals involved.
The Wege Foundation-sponsored speaker was delighted to meet the students at the Center for Economicology because his own work reflects Peter Wege’s passion for ecology and education in balance with the economy. A faculty member at American University, Chris Palmer founded the University’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking, teaching his students how to make environmental movies that will educate theater audiences. Palmer takes advantage of his contacts in the movie business to bring world-class filmmakers to his campus as speakers and mentors for his environmental-filmmaking students.
***Pictured abover is Palmer posing with City students. Pictured from left to right: Joshua Eid-Ries, Timothy Larson, Roya Oliai, Alondra Vergara, and June Rayburn.