On May 21st, I joined like-minds in education and sustainability leaders in Herndon, Virginia to participate in TEDxHerndon 2016.  Perhaps you have heard about TEDx and the inspiring speakers at past events?  TEDx was created to spark conversations within local communities and among individuals around timely topics and innovative ideas.


Joe Plummer, the convener of TedXHerndon, has a special interest in green buy ambien extended release schools and sustainability education.  He has come to view the green schools movement as a model for transitioning to a sustainable society.  He sees his engagement with TEDx as a way to share the value of green schools, among other topics, with the Herndon community and to create a curated collection of TedX talks about green, healthy, sustainable schools.


I am truly humbled that Joe reached out to me to present at this year’s TEDxHerndon.  I was but one among a long list of bright and brilliant speakers (including Green Schools National Network Board Member Tim Cole and Mike Dietrich of Renew and Sustain Consulting!) who are doing incredible things to effect change in the worlds of sustainability and education.  Some of my fellow presenters included:


  • Rich Dooley, architect of the Arlington Energy Plan
  • Jesus de la Garza, the Vecellio Professor of Construction Engineering and Management at Virginia Tech
  • Bruce Hull, professor at Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment in Blacksburg
  • Aimee Kennedy, VP of Philanthropy at Battelle
  • Katie Beck, former COO of 4.0 Schools
  • Pat Hynes, current Chair of the School Board of Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Bob Dixson, Mayor of Greensburg, Kansas


For my talk, I wanted to challenge the audience to think what the future of education, and our society, would look like if the educators of today adopted a sustainability mindset in their approach to teaching.

This is the essence of the green schools movement, what drives so many of us in our pursuit of whole school transformation.  Think about it…The unique challenges that define our world today and the world that our children will inherit require us to rethink our schools’ priorities.  To me, putting sustainability front and center in the education reform movement will drive innovation in the classroom and positively impact not just how students learn, but where they learn as well.  Just as important as sharing this message, I also wanted to show that it can be done.  By highlighting schools who are reducing their environmental footprint, improving health and well-being, and promoting environmental and sustainability literacy, I wanted to impress upon the audience that this work can not only be accomplished, but can produce results that are meaningful.


I have to give kudos to Joe…the mix of presentations he pulled together around green schools and sustainability really set the tone for what we need to do to increase the number of green, healthy, sustainable schools across this countyr, and what that path looks like.  Above all, I was reminded that addressing the challenges of today and tomorrow requires a new way of thinking.  We need students to take ownership of their learning, to be forward thinkers and to acquire the skills needed to co-create a sustainable future.  More opportunities like TEDx, which encourage the gathering of like-minds to share knowledge and inspiration, are needed in the green schools universe to connect the dots and facilitate whole school transformation on a national scale.