Portland has an amazing sustainability community and we want to highlight the amazing people and work that shapes our unique city. We’re sharing their answers to questions we posed.
If you’ve attended any of our previous Sustainable Building Monthly events or have been involved with any sort of sustainable organization here in Portland, you probably have met or know Alex Boetzel.
During the day, Alex is Head of Residential Innovations at Earth Advantage where he leads and facilitates the organization’s research efforts, focusing on innovative technologies, best practices, and market transformation. He’s also our very own coordinator for Sustainable Building Monthly (SBM)!
Let’s get rolling with Alex!
What does sustainable mean to you?
Sustainability pursues a cooperative and balanced world by responsibly managing the environment, promoting social equity, and making beneficial economic choices. It requires recognizing the interconnectedness of diverse systems.
Understanding sustainability involves a systems-thinking approach, considering environmental, social, and economic aspects together. It aims to address the bigger picture and find inclusive solutions.
Now sustainability goes beyond mitigating negative impacts. It focuses on restoring resources and communities through regenerative practices, biodiversity conservation, and responsible resource management for sustainable development.
Building resilience is crucial for adapting to climate change. Strengthening social, environmental, and economic systems, implementing climate adaptation strategies, and promoting disaster preparedness is key to ensuring long-term community well-being.
And sustainability is a global effort that requires international cooperation, advancing sustainable development practices, and addressing pressing global challenges together.
Name a Portland (or Oregon) project or collaboration that has inspired you, and tell us why you are inspired by it.
The ZERO Coalition is an inspiring example of a collaborative effort that brings together a diverse community of businesses, nonprofits, and local jurisdictions. Their approach precisely involves applying this system thinking to the built environment and accelerating decarbonization efforts. By acknowledging the injustices and shortcomings of business as usual, ZERO actively strives to transform the industry and address the pressing needs of our communities.
The coalition recognizes the importance of community resilience and aims to create a regenerative approach within an inherently resource-intensive industry. Their commitment to meeting today’s challenges through sustainable practices demonstrates their dedication to serving all members of society.
By working together, ZERO endeavors to ensure a more sustainable future where the built environment plays a vital role in supporting the well-being of both people and the planet.
What can Portland (or Oregon) be doing better to be more sustainable?
Oregon, our state known for its abundance and natural beauty, can foster a healthy and sustainable life for all its residents, both present and future. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that our diverse communities’ genuine and significant concerns are at risk of being drowned out, hindering the collaboration necessary to nurture the essential creativity required for finding impactful solutions.
To address the pressing and immediate needs we face, we must create a space where diverse perspectives are heard and valued. By recognizing the importance of inclusive collaboration and nurturing a supportive environment, we can find innovative and effective ways to address Oregon’s real and urgent needs. Through this collective effort, we can build a sustainable and thriving future for all Oregonians, one that respects the concerns and aspirations of our diverse communities while striving for meaningful progress.