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Speakers 2014


Pliny Fisk IIICo-Director, Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems (4:00 pm, main stage)

Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems (The Center) Co-Director Pliny Fisk III will present selected protocols, policies, and prototypes from The Center’s 40-year history of cutting edge sustainable design and planning. Operating at the edge has been a hallmark of The Center’s innovative approach: neither a landscape architecture nor architecture office in the conventional sense, The Center offers a living laboratory environment that tests methods and materials to explore opportunities to realize a maximum potential future. These approaches signal how the profession needs to operate in the context of rapidly changing conditions of resource availability, climate, environmental health, and other global trends. They also highlight a legacy of breakthrough innovation in projects developed outside the formal professional boundaries of landscape architects and architects.


Archbishop Sterling Lands, Organizing Pastor of the Greater Calvary Bible Church (4:30 pm, main stage)
Faith-based Justice: Answering the Higher Calling for Peaceful Action in Today’s Environment
Based in Austin, Dr. Lands is an international speaker, author, musician, affordable housing advocate, youth mentor and social justice organizer. he worked with Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Dr. Bernard Lafayette and Captain Charles Alphin from 1978 through 1984 as a Nonviolence field trainer and as president of the Missouri MLK Support Organization. Dr. Lands will speak to environmental justice, including housing, youth and race issues.


Kathie Tovo, Council Member Place 3, City of Austin (2:30 pm, main stage)

Kathie Tovo was elected to the Austin City Council on June 18, 2011. Prior to taking office, she taught writing and interdisciplinary studies at the college level and worked at Humanities Texas, the state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She holds a Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. with honors from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As former president of the Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Association and vice president of the Austin Neighborhoods Council, Tovo has a long history of neighborhood advocacy.

Dave Cortez photo

Dave Cortez on Organizing for Power and Climate Justice: Why Strong Anti-Racist, Anti-Poverty Strategies Are Needed to Win the Fight Against Climate Disruption (3:30 pm, main stage)

Dave Cortez is the Central Texas Organizer for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. He has been with the organization for more than 3 years and currently he serves as a regional organizer working to retire the coal-fired Fayette Power Project, and to push for the adoption of strong renewable energy policies in Austin. Dave will speak to address his work with underserved communities and communities of color regarding the devastating southeast Austin Halloween floods, Hurricane Katrina and the Texas drought.


Laura Morrison, Council Member Place 4, City of Austin
“YOU Make the Government Work–A Call to Action!”(12:20 pm, main stage)

Laura Morrison was elected to serve as an Austin City Council Member in June of 2008 and re-elected in 2011. She is a champion on the Council for protecting the environment, open government, sustaining neighborhood character, promoting affordable housing, supporting local businesses and improving public health and social services.  With a background in mathematics and engineering she brings an element of sophistication to technology and analytic issues.

Council Member Morrison serves on several Council committees including the Emerging Technology and Telecommunications Committee (Chair), Audit and Finance, Comprehensive Planning and Transportation, and Public Health and Human Services. She also represents the City on the Greater Austin Chamber Technology Partnership Board, the Community Advancement Network Board of Directors and the City of Austin/Austin Independent School District (AISD)/Travis County Joint Subcommittee.


George Luc – Earth Awesomeness = Dillow Dirt + Ghandi’s “Be The Change” Movement (2:10 pm, main stage)

George Luc is Co-Founder and CEO of GivePulse, a civic marketplace that matches people to causes and enables nonprofits, festivals, companies and groups to manage volunteers & donors, list opportunities, and track engagement along with service hours in one central community. GivePulse has mobilized over 15K volunteers in Austin to contribute 150K verified Austin service hours. He is a TEDx Austin speaker, a WhiteHouse Champion for Change, and a civic hacker delivering social good at a massive scale He will address Gandhi’s legacy of being the change you wish to see in the world. HACK ON!



Bob GedertDirector of Austin Resource Recovery at City of Austin

“Austin Dared to Go Zero: 2014 Zero Waste Update” (2:50 pm, main stage)
Bob Gedert has been involved in recycling and waste reduction programs since 1975, and is considered a leading national expert in Zero Waste program implementation. He is the Director of the Austin’s Resource Recovery Department, which provides direct services to residents, including solid waste, recycling, and yard trimmings collection, street sweeping, household hazardous waste, and the implementation of the Austin Zero Waste Master Plan. Mr. Gedert will recap 2013 Zero Waste successes and challenges and highlight opportunities in 2014 that will get Austin closer to its goal of 90% waste diversion by 2040.


Check out our Speakers from 2013 HERE.

Check out our Speakers from 2012 HERE.