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2006 Plenaries and Keynotes


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.,
Waterkeepers; Pace Law School; NRDC

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s reputation as a resolute defender of the environment stems from a litany of successful legal actions. Mr. Kennedy was named one of Time magazine's “Heroes for the Planet” for his success in helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group’s achievement helped spawn more than 125 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe.

Mr. Kennedy serves as senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and president of Waterkeeper Alliance. He is also a clinical professor and supervising attorney at Pace University School of Law’s Environmental Litigation Clinic and is co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio. Earlier in his career, he served as assistant district attorney in New York City. He has worked on several political campaigns, including the presidential campaigns of Edward M. Kennedy in 1980, Al Gore in 2000, and John Kerry in 2004.

He has worked on environmental issues across the Americas, and has assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada in successfully negotiating treaties protecting traditional homelands. He is credited with leading the fight to protect New York City’s water supply. The New York City watershed agreement, which he negotiated on behalf of environmentalists and New York City watershed consumers, is regarded as an international model in stakeholder consensus negotiations and sustainable development. He also helped lead the fight to turn back the anti-environmental legislation during the 104th Congress.

Among Mr. Kennedy’s published books are the New York Times bestseller Crimes Against Nature (2004); The Riverkeepers (1997); and Judge Frank M. Johnson Jr: A Biography (1977). His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Nation, Outside magazine, the Village Voice, and many other publications. His award-winning articles have been included in anthologies of America’s best crime writing, best political writing and best science writing.

Mr. Kennedy is a graduate of Harvard University. He studied at the London School of Economics and received his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School. Following graduation, he attended Pace University School of Law, where he was awarded a master’s degree in environmental law.

Gavin Newsom
Gavin Newsom,
Mayor, San Francisco "invited"

Gavin Newsom was elected the 42nd Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco on December 9, 2003. He was sworn into office on January 8, 2004 by his father, the Honorable William Newsom.

Mayor Gavin Newsom has made bold ideas the driving force of his administration. As Mayor, Gavin Newsom uses ideas, innovation and practical solutions to improve the quality of life for all San Franciscans. His administration draws upon San Francisco's greatest asset- the diversity and the talents of its people- to meet any challenges that face the City.

Mayor Newsom is a fourth generation San Franciscan who has dedicated his political career to improving the City. He was elected three times to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and served on the Board from 1997 until 2004.

As a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Newsom focused on the core issues that make a difference for all San Franciscans. He worked with residents from every corner of the city to restore our neighborhood parks. Newsom sponsored legislation implementing Rescue Muni's reform plan and helped put our Municipal Railway on the road to recovery. As a member of the Board of Supervisors, Gavin Newsom was willing to confront San Francisco's greatest challenge, homelessness, and he emerged with the most comprehensive reform of homeless policy in a generation.

Before embarking on his career in public service, Mayor Newsom was a successful small businessman. In 1992 he opened his first local business, the PlumpJack Wine Shop. Over the years he expanded this business and has created more than seven hundred jobs for San Franciscans.

Gavin Newsom was born October 10, 1967 to the Honorable Judge William Newsom and Tessa Newsom. He grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from Santa Clara University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

Sarah Susanka
Sarah Susanka,
Author, The Not So Big House

Sarah Susanka is a best-selling author, architect and cultural visionary whose "build better, not bigger" approach to residential architecture is leading a movement that is redefining the American home, and her "Not So Big" philosophy has sparked an international dialogue.

Ms. Susanka regularly addresses local and national conferences of the American Institute of Architects and the National Association of Home Builders. She has been featured on the Charlie Rose and Oprah Winfrey shows, and in USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. She was selected as a "top newsmaker" for 2000 by Newsweek magazine and as an "innovator in American culture" by U.S. News & World Report. She also ranked 15 out of 50 in Builder Magazine's "Power Brokers" - the most influential people in the building industry.

Ms. Susanka has won similar accolades for her series of books published by the Taunton Press. Described by The Washington Post as "the J.K. Rowling of home-design books," Ms. Susanka's The Not So Big House (1998) spent two years among the top five best sellers on's Home and Garden list. Creating the Not So Big House (2000) ranked among the top 15 books in The New York Times "Advice & How To" best-seller list. A regular contributor to home and design magazines, the best of her columns for Fine Homebuilding and Inspired House were compiled into Not So Big Solutions for Your Home (2002). Her latest book, Inside the Not So Big House (2005) will be followed in February, 2006 by Outside the Not So Big House: Creating the Landscape of Home.

Ed Mazria
Ed Mazria,
Author, The Passive Solar Energy Book

Edward Mazria is an internationally recognized architect with a long and distinguished career. His architecture and planning projects span over a thirty year period and each employs a cutting-edge environmental approach to its design. His published material includes technical papers, articles for professional magazines, and a number of published works including The Passive Solar Energy Book published by Rodale Press. His most recent article with Marci Riskin, Architectural Design: Nature’s Way, outlines the innovative design strategies and monitoring results of the award winning Rio Grande Conservatory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His buildings have been published in Architecture, Progressive Architecture, Architectural Record, Architectural Digest, Process, Kenchiku Bunka, Public Garden, Solar Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New Mexico Business Journal, and The New York Times.

Mr. Mazria has lectured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America, and has taught architecture at the University of New Mexico, University of Oregon, University of Colorado-Denver, UCLA and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is the recipient of numerous awards including an AIA Design Award, AIA Design Innovation Award, Commercial Building Award from the Department of Energy, Landmark Designation Award from The Albuquerque Conservation Association, Pioneer Award from the American Solar Energy Society and most recently, a 1999 Outstanding Planning Award from the American Planning Association for Tierra Contenta in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its Design Arts Roundtable. After receiving his Bachelors of Architecture Degree form Pratt Institute in 1963 he spent two years as an architect in the Peace Corps in Arequipa, Peru. He later worked with the firm of Edward Larabee Barnes in New York before beginning a teaching and research career at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in 1973.

His architecture and energy research at both UNM and the University of Oregon established his leadership in the field of resource conservation and his innovative design methodology, developed at that time, is currently in use worldwide. Since forming Mazria Inc. Odems Dzurec in 1978, he has completed a diverse number of award winning architecture and planning projects from the Mt. Airy Public Library in North Carolina, to the Genoveva Chavez Community Center, a 170,000 square foot sports complex in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is the principal-in-charge of design for all firm projects.


Robyn Griggs-Lawrence
Robyn Griggs-Lawrence,
Editor and Chief, Natural Home Magazine

As the editor in chief of Natural Home, a magazine that helps readers create healthy, serene abodes and lifestyles, Robyn Griggs-Lawrence spends a lot of time in homes that reflect the art of nurturing. She's crossed the country to write about and direct photo shoots of beautiful residences, studied several ancient design traditions, and tapped deeply into a burgeoning network of builders, designers, and artists who understand that optimum mental and physical health begins in the home. And after all that, her own home still isn't perfect. Robyn lives in a very wabi-sabi house in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband and two children.

Ray Cole
Ray Cole,
Professor, School of Architecture, University of British Columbia

Ray Cole is a Professor at the University of British Columbia. He has been teaching environmental issues in building design at UBC School of Architecture for the past twenty-eight years. Dr Cole heads the Environmental Research Group (ERG) at the School of Architecture - the focus of environmentally related research within the School. He was co-founder of the Green Building Challenge – an international collaborative effort to benchmark progress in green building performance and environmental assessment – and has served on numerous national and international committees related to buildings and the environment. Dr Cole was selected as a North American Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Distinguished Professor for "sustained commitment to building environmental research and teaching" in 2001. In 2003 he received the Architectural Institute of British Columbia Barbara Dalrymple Memorial Award for Community Service and the US Green Building Council’s Green Public Service Leadership Award. He was recently elected as a UBC Distinguished Professor and is a Director of the Canadian Green Building Council.

Ron Jones
Ron Jones,
Editorial Director, The Green Builder Magazine

Ron Jones is the owner of Sierra Custom Builders, a design/build company located in Placitas, New Mexico. His national award winning company specializes in challenging site projects and environmentally appropriate construction. His firm offers design, construction management and consulting services throughout North America and the Caribbean.

Ron is the only person ever to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of both the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). He served as charter chairman of the NAHB Green Building Subcommittee and is an original member of the LEED Homes committee for USGBC. He has served as a speaker and consultant to a variety of organizations including the American Solar Energy Society, National Recycling Association, Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, NAHB, USGBC, International Housing Conference of the Americas, Fannie Mae Partnership Foundation, National Arbor Day Foundation, and many others in the private and public sectors.

Hunter Lovins
Hunter Lovins,
Author, Natural Capitalism

Hunter Lovins is an international consultant, professor, speaker and author on enhancing business value while practicing environmental sustainability. She presents regularly to audiences ranging from business, government, community groups and universities. For over 20 years, she has been widely published, quoted and referred to on how being environmentally friendly increases profits.

Hunter is one of the founders of the new field of Sustainable Management, a co-developer of America's first accredited MBA Sustainable Management program and a Professor of Business at Presidio School of Management.

Hunter's best-known book, Natural Capitalism- Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, is widely considered to be an inspiration and an essential reference book. President Clinton called it "A huge deal." The Economist stated, it will "...leave every reader with the hope that the old battle between business and the environment can reach a peaceful and constructive conclusion." She has authored hundreds of articles and books.

Debra Lynn Dadd
Debra Lynn Dadd,
Author of Home Safe Home

Debra Lynn Dadd brings over twenty years of research and real-life experience to her work as a consumer advocate for health and the environment. With her books A Consumer Guide for the Chemically- Sensitive, Non-toxic & Natural, and The Nontoxic Home, Debra was the first to alert consumers to the toxic chemicals present in everyday household products and reveal both the short-and long-term health effects, as well as safe alternatives. She was the first to catalog nontoxic products, making them easily accessible to everyone.

Debra has an on-line directory of hundreds of links to thousands of non-toxic, natural, and earthwise products. Debra has appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows, including the Today show, CNN, and Geraldo. She is an advisor and subject editor for and has been a regular contributor to Natural Home & Garden and Ecological Home Ideas magazines.

Tom Paladino
Tom Paladino,
President, Paladino Consulting LLC

A nationally recognized leader in the green building industry, Tom is the founder and president of Paladino & Company. Drawing upon his technical expertise in both architecture and engineering, Tom brings innovative ideas, a building science knowledge and perspective, and a proven process for design integration to the over 250 green and LEED projects he has consulted on. From concept and system design assistance, to cost/benefit evaluation and analysis, Tom contributes inspiration, expertise, and implementation-focused tools to each project team.

Peter Pfeiffer
Peter Pfeiffer,
Principal, Barley & Pfeiffer Architects

Peter Pfeiffer is a professional Architect and Building Scientist practicing throughout the United States and Canada. He is the founding principal of the Austin based architectural firm of Barley + Pfeiffer Architects, specializing in "Green" building practices since 1987. The firm is a national leader in the fields of energy and resource conserving design, healthier living & working environments, and practical "Green" construction methods. Mr. Pfeiffer has spent the past twenty-eight years developing and advocating pragmatic "Green" building principles and methods — so you don't have to go through the same "school of hard knocks". Because of this Peter was recently named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects for his lifelong achievements in "Mainstreaming Green".

Peter Yost
Peter Yost,
Principal 3-D Building Solutions, LLC

Peter Yost is a principal at 3-D Building Solutions, LLC. He has over 20 years experience in residential construction, green building and building science research. Peter has served as Director of Resource and Environmental Analysis at the NAHB Research Center, Senior Editor of Environmental Building News, and senior research associate with Building Science Corporation.

Peter is a frequent presenter at the Energy & Environmental Building Association’s Building Solutions conference, Greenprints, Affordable Comfort and other building industry forums. Peter is a contributing editor for Green Builder magazine and frequently contributes to other industry forums such Home Energy magazine.

Sim Van der Ryn
Sim Van der Ryn,
Founder, Ecological Design Institute

Sim Van der Ryn is internationally recognized as a leading pioneer of the green design movement. A recent New York Times profile writes, "Long before sustainability became the buzzword du jour, there was Sim Van der Ryn, the intrepid pioneer on the eco-frontier". His career includes thirty five years teaching at UC Berkeley, a tour as California's first energy conscious State Architect, many award winning years in practice and the author of seven influential books, most recently "Design For Life" and "Ecological Design".

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