Photo: JemingwayOdd locations are not unusual for green-leaning conferences, but this one might take the cake. I’m en route to Miami for a conference aboard, ahem, a cruise ship. What better place to contemplate the fate of the Earth, ocean conservation, and ways to right the planet’s social ills than on a giant diesel-powered city of excess? (Conference organizers, WTF?)
Leaving aside the venue, the conference looks to be amazing in a Fast Company-, Wired-sort-of way — lots of smart, highly successful, digitally wired superstars, all with an interest in making the world a better place. You know, folks like Shai Agassi, Shona Brown, and Blake Mycoskie. More names to drool over: “Sir to You and Me” Richard Branson, Russell Simmons, Sophia Bush, Bar Refaeli, The Roots (the house band on this cruise). I rank many decks below such luminaries, but still hope to catch up with some of them.
These types of gatherings are certain to be thrilling in the moment (OMG, I touched Kristen Bell!), but I hope this one will be meaningful, too. For me, the opportunity is to talk with many leading tech and social-good entrepreneurs about how to tackle climate change, the foremost challenge of our time — how to make true strides to cut back on emissions, surmount the communications challenges related to the issue, and push back against political intransigence. And also to discuss new ways to shine a light on all the amazing innovations occurring in the fields of energy, food, transportation, and design. Sometimes I feel as if a revolution is taking place, but not enough people are aware of the momentum and the revolution hasn’t yet been named. Among the crowd on the boat will be CTOs, artists, engineers, designers, marketers: plenty of minds to help figure out how best to connect the dots and, you know, save the world.
I’ll report back with some of what I learn, and may even post video clips of my discussions after I’m back on land. And, yeah, being the curmudgeon that I am, I’ll also try to bone up on the cruise industry and its environmental record. So bring on the glorious ship of steel! She’s named “Celebrity Century.” When doling out industry grades last year, Friends of the Earth gave my home for the next three days a C-. I’m hoping the conference merits an A.