My sustainability journey
My first awakening into the world of sustainability was as a teenage girl growing up in San Antonio, attending protests planned to stop bulldozers. I observed my Father's heroic attempts to stop an urban freeway that would cut past our local zoo. Once the freeway was built, I was left wondering if there was a better way.
Green is my favorite color. My passion for nature, adventure travel, and history has taken me on many adventures. Throughout it all, sustainability is the thread that ties it all together. I helped create the first performance-based green building tool, Austin's Green Building rating system. This laid the groundwork for the creation of LEED®. In Seattle, I led the creation of the first LEED-based municipal green building policy in the world, the topic of my first book. Sustainability thinking shows up in my writing, public speaking, teaching, public policy work, and the designs of dozens of award-winning green civic buildings and planned communities to which I have contributed.
Collaborative leadership is my middle name. My creative partnerships and/or speaking engagements have included the National Academies of Sciences, Brookings Institution, Rocky Mountain Institute, Forbes IGNITE, Rockefeller Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, World Resources Institute, SXSW, Evergreen State College, Seattle Housing Authority, Climate Mayors, Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, and the Austin FC Football Club. I have served the Boards of USGBC, GBCI, and EcoDistricts.
Currently I’m in my twelfth year of service as the City of Austin’s first
Chief Sustainability Officer. We announced in 2020 that our city’s carbon emissions had peaked and are on a downward trajectory, even though
we are one of the country's fastest growing cities.