Amal Clooney Praises Greenbuild Crowd for Essential Work

The international human rights lawyer spoke on the struggle for “climate justice” and the ability of individuals and companies to effect change when governments fail to step up.
Amal Clooney

Speaking today at the official opening session of the 2018 Greenbuild conference in Chicago, international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney told her audience: “Climate change is a global threat and it requires a global response.”

Clooney said the lack of U.S. leadership in the struggle for “climate justice” has been a major setback. In particular, the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement removed a major source of funding for the effort to curb emissions. She is optimistic, however, that, when governments fail to act, people and companies will step up. “I believe in the power of courageous individuals as agents of change,” said Clooney.

Addressing the conference attendees directly, she said: “The work that you are all doing is essential. … People can really make a difference if they decide that changing one life is enough.”

Clooney is best known for human—not environmental—advocacy. She has been an international defense lawyer and has served on a number of U.N. commissions on human rights. She is a fitting keynoter for this year’s conference, however, since the theme of Greenbuild 2018 is Human by Nature: The Intersection of Humanity and the Built Environment.

“Healthy places to live, work and play is a human right,” said George Bandy, Mohawk Industries’ vice president of sustainability.

Hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council, Greenbuild is an international conference and expo that draws executives from architecture, construction, engineering, planning, and interior design to brainstorm about and set goals for sustainability in buildings and communities. Since last year’s conference in Boston, there have been Greenbuild conference in five countries, including Germany, Mexico and China.

Image courtesy of Greenbuild