Apr 10: Inspire lecture with the Planetwalker

Changing the world starts with one step...  please join the Green Building Alliance and Phipps Conservatory for an inspiring evening with Dr. John "Planetwalker" Francis, Patty deMarco, Mike Schiller, and students from the Environmental Charter School.  You'll hear a truly remarkable story from environmentalist, author and empowering change agent John Francis.  In response to witnessing the devastating 1971 San Francisco Bay Oil Spill, he set out upon a personal pilgrimage of fundamental protest in which he did not use motorized transportation for 22 years, and spoke not a single word for 17 years!  During his journey, he earned several degrees including a Ph.D. in land management, which positioned him in high demand as an expert on oil spills when the Exxon Valdez disaster occurred.  John walked from Wisconsin to Washington D.C. and broke his vow of silence by speaking at Earth Day in 1990.  As a United Nations Good Will Ambassador, John’s message of listening, caring and collaborating for a better world is a coming-of-age story of how any individual can make a profound difference.  

Joining Dr. John Francis on stage will be local community champions Patty DeMarco, Mike Schiller and a group of students from the Environmental Charter School. 

Dr. Patty DeMarco has spent a 30-year career in energy and environment in both the public and private sectors.  She is the former Executive Director of the Rachel Carson Homestead Association and was the Director of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University.  Her current research focuses on removing institutional barriers to sustainability.  As a Rachel Carson scholar, hear Patty explain how the legacy of Pittsburgh’s own Rachel Carson is still alive and singing to our region today.

Mike Schiller is the current CEO of the Green Building Alliance, but also has a long entrepreneurial career in Pittsburgh, helping to found Confluence Technologies Inc. (specializing in investment data management) and Venture Outdoors (helping to connect all of Pittsburgh to the outdoors).  Mike will double-dog dare you to care about reclaiming your connection to nature and your role in making our region a healthy and high-performing place to live, learn, work and play.

Students from the Environmental Charter School may be young in body, but they are bold in spirit and resolute in their visions for what is necessary to enable today’s youth to be tomorrow’s transformative leaders.  These strong voices will remind us of the importance of fostering curiosity in our youth, connecting them to their communities, and how we can create better conditions for our students to thrive.  Read a recent blog post as a preview!

5 – 8 p.m. at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (1 Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213).  Join us at 5 p.m. to enjoy delicious appetizers, a cash bar, an excellent banjo band, and great networking! Lectures begin at 6 p.m.  Sliding scale registration fee;  learn more and register here.
Click here to find out how you could have dinner with Dr. John Francis after the lecture.

You can also view a highlight reel of the entire Inspire Speakers Series events to date.

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