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A Sustainable cities Congress should be sustainable. Right?

October 27, 2009

Picture 6Today was the first day of the first international congress for sustainable cities in Mexico. It is a four day event and is being held at Concenexpo oin Morelia. The event had barely begun and I found myself frustrated, partly because  of the very late and unorganized opening but mainly for the many contradictions the event has.

Now don’t get me wrong, nothing can take away the fact the having a congress for sustainable cities is a good thing but there really does need to be more effort made. For example our exposition is in a large marquee in the main plaza and the entire floor in lit from underneath like some sort of 80’s dance floor (only its only white lights) and given the event is during the day these do not have any effect. They are just a waste of energy. Much of the rest of the event follows the same theme of un-thoughtful and unsustainable thinking.

The venue itself has a large theatre which must hold at least 700 people and four smaller conference rooms which hand about 200 in each. Each containing many lights (I counted more than 40 in one of the smaller ones), sound systems and projectors.


One of the sustainable laps we are showing. Made from 16 plastic bottles

Now this sounds like a pretty normal set up right, but when speakers have an audience of about 8 it really does seem like a huge waste. I saw the minister for the environment speak and although he new his stuff (as expected) he was less than inspiring and with lines like ‘Mexico really doesn’t have much of a problem compared to china and the USA’, he really didn’t excite the audience to act.


Lunch, was this sustainable in any way? To my eyes, not at all. Meat everywhere, lots of food, lots of waste and absolutely no information about any of it. So either it was in no way sustainable which means the event is massively floored or if it is in any way sustainable it was not advertised so it was not leading by example or showing any kind of forward thinking.

The is a list longer than my arm in which this event frustrates me but I won’t bore you with more details.

I just believe that if we really want to make a change we have to try a lot harder. Having a congress is great but using the same techniques just doesn’t cut it. We need an event that will show change, prove its possible, lead by example and make everyone want make a change. This is the type event I want to be a part of, this is the event I will create with The Waste Project.

Lets see what day two brings tomorrow.



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