Green events coming to Southern Nevada

It’s spring again. Several green events for Southern Nevadans are underway or coming soon. To be clear, green events have become so popular that they happen all the time in our community; it’s just that some major ones tend to occur at this time of year.

Creating a sustainable community requires the participation of everyone at every level. When businesses and government get involved and join other green leaders on the same page, things can happen very quickly. That is exactly what’s happening today at Convene for Green.

Convene for Green is a local sustainability summit that fosters collaboration on initiatives focused on turning Southern Nevada into a sustainable community. Government officials, business leaders and nonprofit organizations will hear from national and local experts about sustainability topics and work on a plan to bring important green objectives to fruition over the next year.

Green Chips is the nonprofit catalyst that organizes Convene for Green, now in its fifth year. The organization is dedicated to building community through collaborative partnerships for a more sustainable future.

This year, Green Chips is collaborating with the U.S. Green Building Council — Nevada Chapter to produce an expanded three-day event, the Green by Southwest Leadership Summit. Today’s Convene for Green kicks it off at the Springs Preserve, followed by two more days of speakers, workshops and networking with green building leaders from across the region.

Green by Southwest will feature talks by distinguished sustainability leaders. Workshops on the Living Building Challenge will inform participants about creating some of the greenest buildings imaginable. A product expo will showcase green materials, products and businesses, and the USGBC-NV Spring Mixer will bring everyone together for networking and fun.

Walking and biking tours will highlight some of our local green buildings, including the Leadership in Energy &Environmental Design Gold-certified Mob Museum; Molasky Center; The Smith Center for the Performing Arts; Las Vegas City Hall; Zappo’s; the LEED Platinum-certified Bonneville Transit Center; as well as LEED resort tours of The Venetian, Palazzo and CityCenter.

All in all, it’s quite a lineup and the people behind these local nonprofits have done a tremendous job putting it all together. Special thanks to Green Chips executive director Rick Van Diepen and U.S. Green Building Council — Nevada Chapter president Daniel Huard.

Designers, builders and regulators, as well as business owners and managers, will gain important insights and knowledge they can use to improve our communities.

What about everyone else?

For homeowners, families and just about everyone, do not miss the GREENFest annual Earth Day Celebration on April 12. This will be the fifth year for the free event and the second time in conjunction with UNLV’s Festival of Communities. What a great combination this is.

At GREENFest, you will find an array of information, fun activities, products and great food. You can learn about solar energy, electric cars, how to live lighter and healthier, and make connections with local groups to take your involvement to the next level. There will be live music, art on display, a farmer’s market and plenty of things for kids to enjoy too.

As if that’s not enough, the Festival of Communities will feature students and local community organizations highlighting the rich cultural diversity of the Las Vegas Valley. This is a must-do event, so make sure you mark your calendar and take the whole family.

Those who drive clean-energy vehicles can start off by participating in the inaugural GREENFest Procession, organized by Drive Clean Energy Las Vegas, from Town Square Las Vegas to The Thomas &Mack Center on the morning of GREENFest. See for details.

Best of all, GREENFest is a solar-powered, zero-waste festival. I love it!

Events like Convene for Green, Green by Southwest, GREENFest and the Festival of Communities highlight our steady progress toward sustainability in Southern Nevada. With the challenges we face, both now and into the future, nothing could be more important.

Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities. Get connected, stay informed, become involved and make a difference. Working together to build a future we can live with is just about the best thing I can imagine.

Steve Rypka is a green living consultant and president of GreenDream Enterprises, a company committed to helping people live lighter on the planet. For more information and links to additional resources relating to this column, or to reach Rypka, visit

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