Although I was only planning to update this blog perhaps a couple of times a month, I already felt inspired by a recent event I participated in, the 3rd annual Asia Environment Lecture, which is jointly organised by NUS’ Master of Science in Environmental Management and Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) Programmes and the NUS Law Faculty’s Asia-Pacific Centre for Environmental Law. As a BES lecturer, I not only attend the lecture, but also get to interact with speakers. Our speaker this year was Christine Ervin, a world expert on green building. Before I describe my experience, I’ll give you a bit of background info about Ms Ervin, but you can find out more from her website.
Ms Ervin is a strong champion of the environment and sustainability, and has held leadership positions in pretty much every sector you can imagine. This includes NGOs – she was a Project Director for WWF, where she handled the prevention of pollution and life-cycle assessments (LCAs). If you aren’t familiar with LCAs, these essentially document all the various impacts of a given product or service. She has also worked in government, at state and federal levels. She was Director of the Dept of Energy of Oregon and Assistant Director for the Planning and Budget Agency of Missouri. During Bill Clinton’s term, from 1993 to 1997, she was Assistant Secretary for the US Dept of Energy, where she handled a 1B dollar portfolio of programmes related to energy efficiency and renewable energy. After serving in Washington DC, she entered the private sector, as the first President and CEO of the US Green Building Council, which, under her guidance, grew tremendously and developed the LEED green building scheme. Illustrious career, no?
She came to Singapore with her husband, Dr David Ervin, who is no less interesting. He’s a Professor of Environmental Management and Economics at Portland State University. I enjoyed meeting him because one of his research interests is ecosystem services for urbanising areas, and hope to connect with him further about that.