Energy and Water Summit: State and local water impacts
The Desert Sun
The Southern California Energy + Water + Green Living Summit is returning to the desert in October, with a broad slate of discussion topics ranging from California’s climate goals to the West’s strained water supplies to how Ben Jerry’s maintains a commitment to social responsibility.
Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of beloved ice cream manufacturer Ben Jerry’s, tops the speaker lineup at this year’s summit, which aims to bring together leaders in water, renewable energy and sustainable business practices from the public and private sectors. Greenfield will explain how his company and others can maintain a commitment to sustainability in a talk on “building a deliciously green company, one scoop at a time.”
The summit, scheduled for Oct. 26 and 27, will include panel discussions, presentations from industry leaders, networking time, and, this year, a virtual reality lounge.
Presenters The Desert Sun and Burke Rix Communications expect several hundred people to attend the summit, hosted at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage,
“We are so excited that this Summit has grown since it started in 2009 to a conference that is now of significant regional importance,” said Brian Rix, senior partner with Burke Rix Communications. “Our guest speaker this year is very exciting. His message of how to build a sustainable company ‘one scoop at a time’ should be one of the highlights of the show. We have lined up other exciting speakers and sponsors representing every sector of the green economy, so we think this year’s Summit will be the best one ever.”
The two-day event begins Wednesday, Oct. 26, with a welcome reception at The Living Desert. It continues Thursday, Oct. 27 with comments from Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-56), Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians tribal chairman Jeff Grubbe and Greenfield.
Garcia will join speakers from the Imperial Irrigation District, Southern California Edison, SoCal Gas and Frontier Communications for a conversation about California’s ambitious climate mandate: To reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels and generate 50 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
Grubbe said the conversation on resources is deeply important to the Tribe.
“Our Tribe has been a steward of the land and its natural resources for thousands of years,” Grubbe said. “The environmental issues facing us all today are very serious, and our generation and those that follow need to take action to get our society out of this massive crisis. The Tribe continues to look for ways to reduce its carbon footprint through energy efficiency improvements and by supporting green building design. Just as important, as the ongoing drought has shown, water quantity and quality must not be taken for granted. Our ground water, in particular, is of great concern to the Tribe, and we are taking important steps to ensure that there is an abundant, clean supply of water to address the future needs of the entire Coachella Valley.”
Desert Sun environment reporter Ian James will moderate a panel on water issues in the American West, including the over-allocation of the Colorado River and record-low water levels at Lake Mead, with representatives from the Imperial Irrigation District and Metropolitan Water District.
Representatives from the Bureau of Land Management, California Energy Commission and Large Scale Solar Association will discuss the fine line between renewable energy development and environmental conservation on a panel hosted by Desert Sun energy reporter Sammy Roth.
The schedule’s final panel discussion will focus on the Coachella Valley’s ever-looming environmental threat: The Salton Sea. Bruce Wilcox, the state’s so-called Salton Sea czar, will moderate the conversation with speakers from Audubon California, Comite Civico Del Valle, the Salton Sea Authority and the Water Funder Institute.
“California is at a nexus of energy advancement and environmental disaster,” said Desert Sun Executive Editor Greg Burton. “Our position is both thrilling and unsettling. It demands thorough debate by scientists and politicians, farmers and regulators. That’s why The Desert Sun is honored to convene the best and brightest to discuss our water and energy future.”
READ MORE: Riverside County’s new plan to fund Salton Sea restoration calls for tax revenue
The summit is presented by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and produced by The Desert Sun and Burke Rix Communications. Hot Purple Energy is the event’s solar sponsor. To register, visit socalenergysummit.org/register.
Rosalie Murphy covers real estate and business at The Desert Sun. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @rozmurph.