SXSW Eco Conference Tuesday Keynote

By Marcie Barnes

Alex Steffen is “one of the world’s leading voices on sustainability, social innovation and planetary futurism” according to his website. He is about to kick off SXSW Eco with the Tuesday keynote titled “Carbon Zero Cities, Unimagined Opportunities and the Risks of Thinking Small.”

3:10: “We are pursing things with great passion…that don’t add up to what we truly need.”

3:11: “If we continue on the path we’re on we have no chance of slowing [climate change] down.”

3:13: “We need to be thinking along the lines of 100% reduction by 2030.”

3:15: “How we measure our emissions has tended to distort the picture a bit.”

3:18: “We really want access to [things we want]…we want to live well” (We don’t have a deep stake in how that life gets delivered).

3:20: “Most emissions come from burning fossil fuels…I totally support clean energy…we simply don’t have the capacities at this moment.”

3:23: “Most of the energy we use is determind by the kinds of systems we live in…the cultures we live in.”

3:25: “Denser communities use less energy.”

3:28: “We’re learning that we can…really increase the amount of people living [in large cities]” [at a profit].

3:30: “People change how they live, what they want.”

3:31: “We need to create spaces where cars understand that they share the road.”

3:35: “Technology is becoming more and more ubiquitous…we can see thing around us in a way we never could before.”

3:38: “Delivery has a much lower footprint than [people going to the mall].”

3:41: “The goal is no longer dream homes, it’s dream neighborhoods.”

3:42: “Cars are a leading cause of a lot of our health problems.”

3:44: “Active lives have true benefits…for many commutes, a slightly longer walk is better than a drive…it’s time you would have spent dead.”

3:45: “Poverty is growing much faster in suburbia than in cities.”

3:48: “Passivhaus Design…dense building have all sorts of green benefits…passive solar homes…district systems…smart metering…”

3:50: “We’ve been buying and using in ways that have been absolutely silly…they would be better used by many people.”

3:54: “Sustainable design…can be boiled down to…the designer…many impacts can be designed away.”

3:55: “We need to change the way we see wealth…there are ineffective and effective forms of wealth.”

3:56: “Many of the things we need to do are impossible or actually illegal under local or state codes.”

4:01: “We are headed into a storm of forces, we want to be the people who help our cities…”

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