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Andrea Newell headshot

20 Inspiring Quotes from SXSWeco 2013

By Andrea Newell and Marissa Rosen

SXSWeco 2013 had business leaders, nonprofit leaders and some people who were both. Benefit corporations, municipalities, the media, disruptors and even a celebrity or two. Everyone came together to talk about climate change, materialism, sharing, conservation, environmentalism, sustainability, change and the future.

Here are some inspiring quotes by the people we saw, we met and we listened to.

Environmentalism needed to be reframed and rethought - folded into  the fabric of everything we do in our lives. We wanted to bring in people that are not necessarily thinking about these things...We're humans first, so we bring our skill set to do what we can. Humbly. We can all do a little bit. That's for sure. - Adrian Grenier, SHFT

Transparency comes from a fundamental belief that we don't know all the answers. The best way to inspire trust is to let people under the hood and take advice. We have nothing to hide and everything to learn. - Jay Coen Gilbert, B Lab

Our government is shut down... what the hell is that? We have to be the laughingstock of the world right now. Weren't we the super power?
They're closing schools in Philly, closing supermarkets in L.A. Where are these people supposed to get food? That's why I planted this garden... I was inspired because I was fed up. Ron Finley

The largest "bedsharing" place in the world is Intercontinental Hotel Group... 100 countries... 645,000 hotel rooms. Airbnb is only four years old and has now 650,000 rooms worldwide! Couchsurfing... is nine years old and you can stay on 2,500,000 couches!! WOW! This new way of business is incredibly disruptive!" - Robin Chase, Buzzcar

We have a mission in life to make sustainability irresistible. Instead of saying 'we're horrible people in a world that will soon end,' let's make sustainability an opportunity for companies and consumers to see abundance and joy in the world. - Annie Longsworth, Saatchi & Saatchi S

How many of you have a line at the end of your email (or gotten an email) that says, 'Before printing this email, please consider the effects on the environment'? From a resource perspective and a wise use of natural resources, that's a wise idea, but what I would like to do is challenge that. - James McDonald, International Paper

Innovating and disrupting industries isn't a new thing. ... The Philadelphia Eagles has five players with Teslas and can't wait for NRG's solar power chargers! We know it's the time - we're trying to make it scalable and impactful. - Robin Beavers, NRG Energy

Target, as with every other retailer out there, is saying 'how do we operate in the future where the sharing economy is operating?' No answer just yet. We're doing a lot of small things in order to determine how we can face that future, and be a part of that irresistible future... [there are] a lot of steps along the way. - Kate Heiny, Target

Thirty to 40 percent of all agricultural production comes from peak non-renewable water. We're good at measuring the economic value, bad at measuring ecological value of water. - Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute

How do you connect with people in a different way? Follow human stories. - Peter Glatzer, SHFT 

When people travel based on ethics, and countries that are leaders in this space begin to benefit from these tourist dollars, the hope is that neighboring countries and other countries will take note of this behavior and become better in hopes of gaining those dollars...The economy of tourism is growing. It's hard to wrap your mind around it, it's huge, it's the world's biggest political action group. They don't even know the power they have. - Jeff Greenwald, Ethical Traveler

We would rather have the credit cards going by at a slower pace than 35 mph. [What business owners said of bike lanes in front of their businesses.] - Martha Roskowski, People for Bikes

Infiltrate the system to generate positive change when it seems possible... We need to get beyond the propaganda. Sometimes I use absurdity to try to demonstrate that. I got it right early on. - Shepard Fairey

Any microfinance institution we partner with has to be pro-poor, not pro-profit. -  Joy Stoddard, Whole Planet Foundation

Sometimes we go into these communities and its the 51st time we've installed solar, but the first time they've received solar, so bridging that challenge is tough. [On donating solar to nonprofits.] - Katie Ryan, Green Mountain Energy

The question is: how many jobs can we create with these brownies? -  Ariel Hauptman, Greyston Bakery

Imagination is the ultimate renewable resource. How can we out-imagine the Koch Brothers? - DJ Spooky

Children are not small adults. Chemicals affect them different ways. Mothers lead communities to have real impact. - Michael Green, Center for Environmental Health

For the first time in history, we are seeing people having to deal with having too much stuff, instead of too little. - Adam Werbach, yerdle

We are at a moment where the fossil fuel industry is on the verge of crumbling, like the mortgage crisis did. We have a challenge as Americans - we think of ourselves too highly. The key is not convincing individuals that they should be plugged into the climate movement. The key challenge is that they step into their community - once they step out there that they have peers. - Reverend Yearwood

image credit: Copyright Merrick Ales.

Andrea Newell headshotAndrea Newell

Andrea Newell has more than ten years of experience designing, developing and writing ERP e-learning materials for large corporations in several industries. She was a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and a contract consultant for companies like IBM, BP, Marathon Oil, Pfizer, and Steelcase, among others. She is a writer and former editor at TriplePundit and a social media blog fellow at The Story of Stuff Project. She has contributed to In Good Company (Vault's CSR blog), Evolved Employer, The Glass Hammer, EcoLocalizer and CSRwire. She is a volunteer at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You can reach her at andrea.g.newell@gmail.com and @anewell3p on Twitter.

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