It is Monday morning here in Austin and after one day experience SXSW all I can say is wow. After my last blog I was able to catch some panels and walk the tradeshow. In the evening I caught a start-up award show and found some new inspirations.
50 Shades of Green was the first panel I was able to make. AT SXSW there are a handful of hotels surrounding the convention center that hold interactive events. One is the Hilton and the other one is the JW Marriot. Both are centrally located in the city of Austin on opposite sides of the convention center. I was smart enough to walk to the wrong one. After realizing where I was I speed walked across to the JW Marriot to see the panel. The moderator was Robert Raben, founder of Green 2.0 and the Raben group. The panelist were Leslie Fieldm, who is the director of environmental justice and community partnerships programs for the Sierra club, Mark Magaña, CEO of green Latinos, and Paul Miller aka “DJ Spooky’. All four were very well versed in community partnership and creating a culture of awareness when it comes to environmental sustainability. This panel however was on diversity and identify as an environmentalist. In leading groups like the World Wildlife foundation (WWF) over 95% of their board members and high up leadership are white. This is coupled with facts like, only 20% of Latinos identify as a environmentalist skew the reality. Over 60% of Lations say the believe in conservation and were raised with principles similar to being a environmentalist but do not identify this way. This is a huge demographic that then has their opinions looked over in these issues. Out of the whole panel they way DJ Spooky spoke of art and cultures relations back to creating a greener world connected to me. He talked about how in the 70s the first environmentalist moment started with a connection to art and that new generations and kids will need the same to truly make a difference. He joked that if a tree falls in the forest who has the cell phone to recorded it. This in his mind is technology’s ever growing role, but also that ever one can be a catalyst of change in their community. Really a great panel.
Later in the night I went to see the 2016 SXSW Accelerator awards. This award ceremony is for start-ups in every field from fintech (finical technology) to VR/AR innovation. One of the start-ups that really sparked my interest is the Rorus Company. This group from Carnegie Mellon University developed and prototyped the filter pack. This pack is comprehensive solution for carrying and instantly purifying drinking water. It is a sustainable solution that rapidly filters contaminated water by the use of magnets and nanotechnology. They had a random selection of 25 participants spit into the bag earlier in the week then try the water afterwards as one of their sell pitch. I am inspired to see great packaging design, and environmental forward thinking taking the stage. I keep thinking there is no reason why CU Denver should not have someone here presenting, up for a award, or a group of students showcasing their work.
SXSW is blowing my expectations from the first day out of the water.