Over a quarter of a century in, GBA’s broad network of partners advance sustainable practices at every scale of the built environment, cultivating a culture of sustainability that positively impacts people and the places that support us. Read our 2020 Annual Report here!
A Year of Change
As we entered 2020, a renewed sense of hope filled the Green Building Alliance (GBA) offices in Pittsburgh’s South Side. It would be a year of change for sure, with 10 years left to achieve the 2030 Challenge goals, the possibility of a more climate friendly federal government administration on the horizon, and a renewed sense of optimism for the future. As we looked around our region, we could see progress happening across all green building fronts, and a budding partnership with the United Nations High Performance Building Initiative was blossoming to propel that progress even further.
The first few months of 2020 began like any other, planning out the year’s events and tours while tracking the progress of green building projects across the region. Everyone at GBA was looking forward to building on our work with businesses, schools, and local communities. Then, in early March, we abruptly discovered that work would take on a whole new meaning and sense of urgency.
As the COVID-19 pandemic grew in our country and region, we went home, suddenly unsure of a year that had looked so hopeful. Whatever promise of progress we had was instantaneously interrupted by a once-in-a-lifetime crisis affecting every facet of society. After the shock of spring, the fresh summer air turned to a thick scent of emergency. We were all thrust into months of isolation and unrest, and we protested for Black Lives, social justice, and our environment.
While the pandemic ripped back the curtain that hid the deep divisions in our society, it also reminded us of what makes us strong and resilient: our community and our love for one another.
At GBA, we were fortunate to be able to pivot quickly and efficiently to work from home, constantly adjusting and tweaking our normal slate of events, education series, and community gatherings. Everything turned digital—places and faces that we saw so regularly became framed squares on our computer screens. But we were still there. Through the loss and pain our communities were facing, we still found ways to come together. We transitioned our events into the digital realm, entering the unknown, but so strongly supported by our cherished community of members and partners.
When we began, we were unsure how people would react to virtual events, but we were quickly heartened as we felt the love and support of our community. Our events continued to grow and flourish, and any fears about attendance quickly abated as everything from tours to Emerald Evening continued successfully.
Most likely, this is because of you! Everything felt so uncertain at the beginning of the pandemic, but your support and passion for the issues Green Building Alliance works on kept us inspired to carry on our work with renewed optimism.
We like to say sustainability lies in our collective ability to evolve. If 2020 taught us anything, it is that we must evolve together to build a better, brighter, healthier, more just future for everyone to thrive. To everyone that believes that we can do better when we are together, GBA is with you, and we thank you!