An Eco-Spiritual Odyssey

A Voyage of Spiritual Discovery Embedded in a Lifetime of Environmental Activism

The Green Building Movement; A Personal History (Part 7)

Jun 23, 2020 by Jerry Yudelson

After I began to write books about green building in 2006, I started getting invitations to speak, first in Australia, soon thereafter in Europe, then Singapore, the Middle East and finally Africa. During the ensuing decade as an international keynote speaker, I had many adventures. Here’s one of them, as described in my memoir, The Godfather of Green: An Eco-Spiritual Memoir. Check out the reviews or buy it on Amazon.

Louvre Abu Dhabi.jpg

Each emirate in the UAE has its own look and feel. Abu Dhabi has the most money!

Louvre in Abu Dhabi. Credit Kesu01

“…I looked out the window of my hotel room early in the morning, ten stories above the hot, dry sands of Abu Dhabi. I was a green building missionary, spreading the green gospel to people still struggling to understand their roles in the green-building revolution. By 2012, my long engagement with green building had taken me to a pinnacle of recognition, expertise, and full immersion in this world. I’d spoken in Australia, Singapore, Eastern and Western Europe, Turkey, the Emirates, South Africa.

A few hours later, I gave the keynote talk, outlining the business case for green building to an audience of sheiks in traditional Arab attire, the men dressed in white thawab robes with a red-and-white checkered keffiyeh on their heads, the most important people lounging on plush chairs in the front row. Weary with jet lag, I’d neglected to bring a paper copy of my presentation deck with me, relying on the monitor in front of me.

I began my talk. After a few slides, the ancient projector on a tall stand in the back of the room overheated and quit. I had to wing it. As I spoke, I could see hotel technicians frantically waving a sheaf of manila file folders behind the projector, creating an improvised fan that brought it back to life. I began again. A few slides later, the projector overheated once more and then quit for good. Luckily, I’d given the talk so many times, I could deliver it from memory…”

Dubai Skyline Credit Kesu01.jpg

Dubai Skyline.

It’s hard not to be impressed what Dubai achieved in becoming a global hub for air travel in the 2000s and 2010s.

The Godfather of Green: An Eco-Spiritual Odyssey combines my environmentalist journey with a powerful spiritual awakening that led me to a lifelong practice of meditation and mindfulness beginning at the age of 30. It shows how saving the planet and exploring your own innermost being can (and should) go hand-in-hand.