During last fall’s Sustainable Building Week, we ran a series of interviews with some of Portland’s sustainability community and shared their answers to questions we posed.
Let’s keep the ball rolling throughout the year!
For January we chatted with Amanda Ingmire. She’s a connector, convener, and collaborative strategist working to co-create policies, programs, and practices that address the impacts of the built environment at the intersection of climate, health, equity, and racial justice. She’s also a registered Architect, Senior Policy Analyst, LFA, with the Oregon DEQ Built Environment Program. And, of course, she’s been a driver for the Sustainable Buildings for All (SB4A) framework.
What does sustainable mean to you?
Sustainability has to be holistic. It cannot be about just one issue but needs to address all impacts. In the built environment this includes climate, health, ecology, biodiversity, social equity, racial justice, and more. We are exceeding many of the planetary boundaries of Earth and we urgently need to find a way to reduce our impacts to live within them. We also need to find ways to make sure that everyone has enough. We continue to see too much for a few and not enough for most. Our current systems are set up to these ends, so in addition to doing our best within the current system, sustainability also has to be about envisioning and creating new systems that are based in care, reciprocity, and responsibility. And this work cannot be led by the same voices that have brought us to this point. It must be led by the people who have been and are most impacted, who best understand the issues and injustices.
Name a Portland (or Oregon) project or collaboration that has inspired you and tell us why you are inspired by it.
I’ve been very honored to have the opportunity to participate in a number of cohorts of Your Street Your Voice (YSYV) and EmpowHER. These programs, founded and managed by Jackie Santa Lucia, provide paid learning opportunities for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth to learn about how to utilize design for racial justice within the design and construction industries. I left every class feeling so inspired and hopeful about what our future will look like under the leadership and vision of the next generation.
Why should people attend Sustainable Building Monthly? And what have we learned from previous ones?
I think it’s important that we find a place to gather, share resources, educate, and advocate for the kind of work we want to see in the built environment. SBM feels like a great place to do that. Every month we hear from people with different experiences and perspectives, coming at this work from different places. We have learned about projects that are putting sustainability into practice, policy efforts that people can engage in to drive the change we want to see, community-led efforts that demonstrate a change in practice that centers the needs and priorities of those who are most impacted in developing the policies and projects that we design and build.