SXSW Eco Announces Second Keynote, Multitude of Panels and Events

Aug 07, 2012, 14:48 ET from SXSW Eco

AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- SXSW Eco, in its second year, is bringing together a stellar lineup of keynote speakers, panels, panelists, workshops, multimedia presentations and competitions with the goal of challenging registrants to create a better future. The three day event offers a diversity of top-level programming with over 100 sessions covering Food & Agriculture, Cleantech, Conservation & Restoration, Design, Culture, Energy, Economics, and Digital Media. SXSW Eco takes place Wednesday, October 3 - Friday, October 5, 2012 at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin, Texas.

SXSW Eco is proud to present a no-holds-barred Keynote Discussion on Thursday, October 4 with renowned energy experts Senator Byron Dorgan and Jigar Shah as they explore the advancements in clean energy transport technologies and solutions to the obstacles surrounding the deployment of the clean energy economy. After nearly three decades on Capitol Hill where he chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee on Energy and Water Development, Senator Dorgan now serves as a Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center and Senior Policy Advisor at Arent Fox, LLP. Jigar Shah is the CEO of Jigar Shah Consulting and serves on the board of the Carbon War Room, a global company devoted to counteracting climate change. In 2003 Shah founded SunEdison, a preeminent solar services company that transformed the accessibility of solar energy. With their diverse perspectives, these keynote speakers are poised to provide vital insights into the practical opportunities that will drive solutions to our energy and economic challenges.

This year, SXSW Eco is focusing attention on 5 major themes:

1) Replicating Success: Solutions that Scale
All of the excellent programs currently underway need to become much more scalable in order to create a significant impact globally. Solutions that businesses and communities have developed need to be scaled up quickly to begin to solve problems confronting the world. Representative panels will include: "Good Food – Turning Popularity into Power" (Agriculture & Food); "How Big Data fits into the Smart Grid Evolution" (Cleantech); "Promoting Leadership in Site Sustainability" (Conservation & Restoration), and "Connecting the Next Two Billion People (Digital Media/Information Technology). Panelists of note will include: Don Carr (Environmental Working Group) and David Stephens (Yunus Centre).

2) The Social Sphere: Activating Cultures and Institutions
Future generations should have the same or greater quality of life benefits as the current generation. This theme encompasses human rights, environmental law, public involvement & participation, ethics, and fair trade. Representative panels will include: "The Science Communicators" (Climate Change), "Energy Challenges on the U.S-Mexico Border" (Energy), "Conservation in Affordable Housing Communities" (Conservation & Restoration), and "The New Environmentalists" (Culture). Panelists of note will include: Jeffrey A. Nesbit (Climate Nexus), Heidi Cullen (Climate Central), Bryan Walsh (TIME Magazine) and Bill McKibben (

3) Engineering Advancement: Technology and Design
Sustainable technologies use less energy, use fewer limited resources, do not deplete natural resources, and can be reused or recycled at the end of their useful life. Representative panels on this topic will include: "Measure it, Improve it: Data for Better Cities" (Digital Media/Information Technology), "Adaptation & Resilience in Sustainability" (Design) and "Making Energy Sexy" (Energy). Panelists of note will include: Jason Lally (Place Matters), Gary Lawrence (AECOM), Ben Foster (Opower) and Aaron Ogle (OpenPlans).

4) People, Planet, Profit - Economics that Work
The triple bottom line of People, Planet and Profit reflects the paradigm shift in measuring success that includes social and environmental criteria in addition to economic criteria. In the private sector, a commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility includes the use of a variety of tools to report efforts to improve the triple bottom line to company stakeholders. Representative panels will include "Rust Belt to Green Coast: Milwaukee's Quiet Revolt" (Economics), "Resilient Cities, Resilient Communities" (Climate Change) and "I am Mission Zero" (Culture). Panelists of note will include: David Misky (Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee), Laura Spanjian (City of Houston Office of Sustainability) and Erin Meezan (Interface).

5) A Better Future: Vision and Opportunity
The interdependence of social, economic and environmental issues requires fresh thinking and innovative approaches to today's challenges. SXSW Eco shines a spotlight on leaders and their vision of the opportunities that can create a better future. Representative panels will include "Plenty for the Planet: Sustainable Food and a Well-Fed World" (Agriculture & Food), "Futurescapes: Imagining the World of 2025" (Digital Media/Information Technology) and "Aesthetics, Ecology & Design" (Design). Panelists of note will include: Anna Lappe' (Small Planet Institute), Helen Clarkson (Forum for the Future) and Lance Hosey (GreenBlue), and Dr. Eric Toone (ARPA-e).

True to SXSW form, SXSW Eco will host events that go far beyond conference panels including multimedia collaborations, open source app development, and the SXSW Eco Startup Showcase, as well as numerous networking opportunities.

SXSW Eco is pleased to announce "Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica," a multimedia presentation by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky taking place on Thursday evening, October 4, at the Stateside Theater. This large scale live multimedia collaboration of electronic, orchestral, and visual elements will be an acoustic portrait of a rapidly changing continent. Miller's field recordings from a portable studio, set up to capture the acoustic qualities of Antarctic ice forms, reflect a changing and even vanishing environment under duress. Coupled with historic, scientific, and geographical visual material, "Terra Nova: Sinfonia Anarctica" is a seventy minute performance, creating a unique and powerful moment around man's relationship with nature. This unique multimedia performance is presented by Neuro. For more information on all of the special events taking place during SXSW Eco, please visit

The SXSW Eco NGO Toolkit is a new project that will bring together a diverse working group of engineers, software programmers, monitoring and evaluation specialists, donors and other stakeholders to design and build usable tools for NGO field practitioners. The goal of this year's SXSW Eco NGO Toolkit will be a Crisis Response App with the intent of providing a diversity of organizations the ability to respond to a crisis in a cooperative and collaborative manner. This tool will facilitate appropriate resource allocation by standardizing data collection during an emergency situation involving refugees. The Crisis Response App will be released under the General Public License to ensure universal access. The Project Moderator will be Ambassador Lewis Lucke who heads Lewis Lucke LLC, a consulting business which brokers US investment into international communities needing aid in securing necessities such as affordable housing, renewable energy, and power production. Former Ambassador to the Kingdom of Swaziland under George W. Bush, Ambassador Lucke also served for 27 years with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), during which time he was the first USAID mission director for Iraq as well as "US Response Coordinator" for the Haitian Earthquake, directing a relief fund of $1 billion for recovery efforts. For more information on the SXSW Eco NGO Toolkit, please go to

Meet the entrepreneurs leading the way to a sustainable future at SXSW Eco Startup Showcase, presented by Austin Technology Clean Energy Incubator and Austin Energy. Emcee Sarah Backhouse of Future360 will take the audience on a tour of clean technology innovation and entrepreneurship as 15 semifinalists compete in this one-day venture capital pitch competition exhibiting the best of cleantech startups from around the world. Sarah Backhouse is Founder of, a digital video platform dedicated to showcasing cutting-edge clean technologies and innovative new business models. A TV host, producer and sustainability expert, Sarah has worked for a diverse array of broadcasters including: CNBC, BBC, PBS, Fine Living, Discovery Channel and Planet Green. In 2011, she was host on Al Gore's 24 Hours of Reality. More information on the Startup Showcase can be found at

SXSW Eco strives to engage registrants on every level and provide a place for participants to get their creative juices flowing. To register to attend this productive and educational event, access the website at Registration allows access to all daytime events at the AT&T Conference Center including all presentations, Startup Showcase, i2i Awards, the career building event - Eco Connect, the Exhibition, book signings, and to many of the evening events taking place at some of Austin's favorite hotspots. There will also be an opportunity to sign up for special events such as the Welcome Dinner catered by Sonya Cote of Hillside Farmacy taking place in the pecan grove at Johnson's Backyard Garden, as well as Round Table Dinners at some of Austin's best restaurants and evening field trips.

South by Southwest (SXSW) is world renowned for cutting edge music, interactive, and film conferences and festivals, for SXSW Eco it employs this experience in creating dynamic forums for innovation and collaboration to likewise serve the sustainability community. SXSW Eco is sponsored by Sierra Club, The Austin Chronicle and Staxxon. Media partners include Guardian Sustainable Business. For more information on SXSW Eco, please go to

For more information, please contact Elizabeth Derczo at or 512/467-7979 x 209.