Sustainability is a hot topic. People are interested in trying to meet their own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. But many may not know how to incorporate it in their lives. The Art of Conversation Sustainability Summit on Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts (HCA) is hoping to foster the conversation, spark ideas and generate excitement on the topic. The free summit will feature presentations by local experts on sustainable gardening, infrastructure, investing and legislation plus a chance for residents to network with each other.
“We found that there is clearly an interest in this topic,” said John Galego, founder and president of Hopkinton-based Atlas Wealth Strategies, which has supported sustainability presentations by individual speakers during the past year and is sponsoring the summit. Noting that previous presentations have been well-received and generated a lot of excitement, Galego said, “There are a lot of different facets to this. We wanted to create a larger forum, a summit style, to really kick this off with different communities and focusing on different aspects of sustainability.”
Kelly Grill, HCA executive director, noted the summit is part of a series the center started pre-COVID and hopes will continue on a quarterly basis. “There are so many factors involved in sustainability that we felt rather than returning to individual lectures, we’d pull all these people together to have a summit and get feedback about the direction people are interested in for future presentations,” she said.
Four speakers will be featured at the summit. Peter Mezitt, president of Weston Nurseries and president of the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association, will speak on sustainable gardening. Sustainable infrastructure will be discussed by Scott Richardson, AIA, LEED AP, and principal at Gorman Richardson Lewis Architects of Hopkinton. Both speakers previously presented popular individual sustainability talks at the HCA.
They will be joined by Leslie Samuelrich, president of Green Century Capital Management, a 30-year-old Boston-based personal finance firm, helping clients save for the future based on their values while protecting the planet. She will speak on sustainable investing.
The fourth speaker will be Massachusetts state Rep. Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin), 10th Norfolk District, who has represented Franklin and Medway since first being elected in 2012. He most recently helped work out a compromise bill mandating steps the commonwealth needs to take in order to have net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The legislation was approved by the House and Senate and signed by Governor Baker this summer. Roy will speak on sustainable legislation.
The summit will begin at 6 p.m. with a social hour featuring conversation, beer, wine and food. Attendees will have a chance to meet the sustainable-oriented vendors at that event — 9 Mile East Farm, Solect Energy, Black Earth Compost and the Hopkinton Sustainable Green Committee. The speakers then will give their presentations followed by questions and answers with the audience.
“After the talks, everyone is invited to stay for networking and more conversation,” said Grill.
“This is a place where you can come and meet like-minded people,” said Galego. He noted that at the last summit, informal discussions after the last individual presentation by Mezitt “was when the magic happened,” when those attending made new connections and collaborations around sustainability.
While The Art of Conversation Sustainability Summit is free, those who plan to attend are asked to register by visiting the HCA website, HopArtsCenter.org, or by calling 508-435-9222. The HCA is located at 98 Hayden Rowe Street in Hopkinton.