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ECOWEEK, March 13-20

Eco WeekThe ECOWEEK logo and their cringe-inducing slogan.

I was surprised to learn that ECOWEEK isn’t just a one week event, it’s the actual name of the NGO that hosts the weeklong conference as well as “eco awareness” all year long. To be honest, their mission statement is a bit naive: ECOWEEK was established because temperatures are rising; the glaciers are receding; permafrost is thawing…because our children and grandchildren face an uncertain future. That’s nice, but it’s not very specific. It’s also not very current and sounds as if it was written ten or fifteen years ago – by a third grade teacher.

And that’s a real shame when you take a look at their big event, the Eco Week itself, an Athens-based conference that focuses primarily on sustainable architecture and boasts speakers from some of the biggest firms around the world. Keynote speakers include Diebedo Francis Kere, the 2009 winner of the Global Award for Sustainability and Daniel Wicke from Rural Studio, the visionary architecture program at Auburn University. In fact, the more I peruse the week’s program, the more exciting the conference seems. There’s big picture stuff, but there are also talks about structural engineering and sustainable landscape design. Unfortunately, the ECOWEEK website is one of the most confounding I’ve ever visited, and it’s nearly impossible to retrieve all this information without taking the time to dig deep into their site. A case of good intentions and poor planning? It’d be worth the trip, but good luck figuring out how to get there (they don’t exactly make it clear).