Scenes from a Net Zero World: BizWest Net Zero Cities Conference

Mar 9, 2020DMA Engineering, Steven Forrester - Principal

I made it a priority to attend the Net Zero Cities conference last week. Why? In a word, “care”. I care about what happens not only in Colorado but around the globe with our environment. In case you couldn’t make it, here is what stood out most for me:

  • Northern Colorado is doing a great job to reduce their carbon footprint — some cities are further ahead than others, but there is significant momentum behind carbon footprint reduction.
  • The City of Boulder found that the greatest impact of carbon entering Boulder (supplies, food) are significantly greater than the carbon produced within Boulder. Whoa!
  • We cannot meet the 1.5°C temperature rise target and are tracking to 2-3°C as a reasonable target (Backlund, School of Global Environmental Sustainability). We cannot easily slow the warming of the ocean.
    Commercial enterprises are stepping up to lead, such as Black Rock, avoiding investments which “present a high sustainability-related risk”. Patagonia has set extremely high carbon reduction goals to be net zero by 2030. Jax Mercantile is adding solar to all stores and trying to reuse/recycle as many elements as possible.

Where do I stand post-event?

Hopeless to a degree, yet feeling a strong sense of conviction in my professional mission at DMA. It does feel like an uphill battle at the federal level, where science is not viewed as a friend and climate change is yet to be believed.
That said, they say climate change begins at home. I personally have converted our 1980’s track home to be net zero, drive a Prius, compost at home/office, recycle everything, allow my team to work from home to avoid peak traffic. When I go to work, I look to make each structure on our planet a good member of society through conscious, sustainable solutions. We want to help our clients figure out the best way to reduce carbon impact with whatever type of improvement or upgrade they are looking to make.
I do believe that our efforts will add up. We should continue pressing forward as part of our shared humanity.

If you’re interested in going net zero or work in a field that complements net zero, I’d love to talk with you. It’s going to take a village and I’m inspired to work with other likeminded people who want what’s best for our planet.