Advanced Search

Please click here to take a brief survey

The Seattle Talks
Article Photo In November, shortly before heading off to COP-15, Alex Steffen spoke for two nights at Seattle's Town Hall. Over the course of these two talks, Alex explored why the planetary crisis we now face demands a different vision of sustainable prosperity - a bright green future in which sustainability becomes the means through which we provide increased prosperity, security and quality of life for every person on the planet.

Cities are the fulcrum point we can use to leverage that vision into reality. Alex explained that the powerful forces of urbanization and the global spread of knowledge (forces that some see as symptoms of unsustainability) may in fact be the very tools we need to build highly prosperous, ecologically low-impact lives. If we can develop a model of bright green urban living that makes very low-impact prosperity a reality now in the rich countries, we will create the building-block innovations that will help people in poorer countries replicate our rise to wealth without replicating our disastrous ecological footprints.

Where should we start? Wherever we are. Here in Seattle, our global green reputation makes us especially well-positioned to become a leader in the race towards a new kind of urban life, despite the serious environmental challenges our region faces. The ultimate measure, Alex suggested, of Seattle's commitment to a bright green future would be a target of city-wide carbon neutrality by 2030. Nothing less is good enough.

Along the way, Alex discussed a wide variety of new solutions and approaches which could make a bright green, carbon-neutral city a real possibility, now. From clean technology to the street as platform, smart grids to smart growth, attention philanthropy to parallel collaboration, these talks offer a window into what's next in sustainable cities, urban innovation, business and government.

We've had many, many requests to post the video of those talks, and now (with great thanks to the Bullitt Foundation for their support), here they are. We hope you enjoy them and find them thought-provoking:

Night One: Building a Planet with a Future
Introduction by Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin

Download for iPhone/iPod

Night Two: Seattle's Bright Green Moment
Introduction by Seattle Mayor-Elect Mike McGinn

Download for iPhone/iPod

Thanks to all our cosponsors and everyone who attended what became two terrific evenings.

Creative Commons License
Alex Steffen Seattle Talks by Worldchanging is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Image credit: Craig Allen, CC
Bookmark and Share


Thanks. Any chance you've got the presentation slides around and could post those too? They're not always legible in the videos.

Posted by: Joshua Daniel Franklin on 22 Jan 10

Thank you Alex (and The Bullit Foundation) for posting these talks! With the large amount of material that's out there on this subject, a concise summary of where we are and were we need to go is very useful for tying everything together. Are you planning on making this an annual (or at least semi-regular) event?

Posted by: Ryan Maloney on 25 Jan 10

Thanks for the comments.

Joshua, posting slides is on the to-do list.

Ryan, hadn't thought of making it an annual event, but maybe that would be interesting to do...

Posted by: Alex Steffen on 27 Jan 10

Absolutely fantastic talk. Admittedly I'm only through part 1 but I am wholly inspired already! I needed this too. Recent discussions on not just the Viaduct but 520 and the Bellevue light rail alignment have gotten me into a pretty depressing funk. I know the Seattle citizenry is up to the challenge and I'm excited about our newly (and some not-so-newly)elected leaders. But the truth is, Seattle can't become a Bright Green city unless our regional and statewide partners are also on board with the task and with the longstanding dichotomy that exists in this state, that is one daunting obstacle.

Posted by: JoshMahar on 1 Feb 10

Its super great!!!

Here in France, we are up to start to build the first UrbanEcovillage with the same method and thought, we have the green light of an afrcian bank to create the H2D network : hubs of sustanable devlopment on which is not far from the e community you are talking about!!!! Its incredible, we have files only in French can you make it translated, could we meet, would you like to come to France and join the project then we could start the community with seattle and B├Ęgles Bordeaux !!!! We wanted to start the network of urban ecovillages with south america, africa, northern americ, middle east and europe cause we have very good network on this area in several countrie, we should join and make a common program with bordeaux begles and seattle. Bordeaux Euratlantique will be the biggets french urban project ever made we MUST make it eco and the target is from now to 2030 same than Seattle, come on we are all ecologist, we have the same target and very close project and it would be very good for all of us to do that. My mail :, please contact me, thank you.

Posted by: hubert on 24 Mar 10

First of all, if we want to build something not only for us but also for the future generations, the first and foremost thing that we should take into account is the fact that we should be well prepared for building a sustainable environment with proper use of access control systems . The planetary crisis surely will affect the health of the current society and the insurance of a sustainable world is still far away! I just hope the authorities find out a way to resolve this!

Posted by: Sam on 3 Nov 10

Post A Comment

Please note that comments will remain open for only 14 days after the article is posted. While previous comments will remain visible, attempts to post new comments after this period will fail. This helps stop comment spam, so your forebearance is appreciated.

The Worldchanging comments are meant to be used for further exploration and evaluation of the ideas covered in our posts. Please note that, while constructive disagreement is fine, insults and abuse are not, and will result in the comment being deleted and a likely ban from commenting. We will also delete at will and without warning comments we believe are designed to disrupt a conversation rather than contribute to it. In short, we'll kill troll posts.

Finally, please note that comments which simply repost copyrighted works or commercial messages will be summarily deleted.

Yes No







MESSAGE (optional):

Search Worldchanging

Worldchanging Newsletter Get good news for a change —
Click here to sign up!


Website Design by Eben Design | Logo Design by Egg Hosting | Hosted by Amazon AWS | Problems with the site? Send email to tech /at/
Architecture for Humanity - all rights reserved except where otherwise indicated.

Find_us_on_facebook_badge.gif twitter-logo.jpg