Zero Six Eight founder Daniel Bull (sixth from left) with the men of Work Pittsburgh. Photo courtesy of GBA.

The Green Building Alliance (GBA) wants to help Pittsburghers fall in love. With sustainability.

For the second year in a row, the GBA will present stories via their Inspire Speaker Series meant to engage listeners in conversations about ways they can improve their communities. Under the theme Loving Your Place, the evening will feature seven local speakers telling short, five- to seven-minute long stories about working to create a healthy, vibrant, and just Pittsburgh region.

Jenna Cramer, GBA’s vice president of community and transformation, says the event was inspired by The Moth, a popular program that showcases storytelling with live shows, competitions and a podcast.

“When we first did the event, it was this idea of how do we get people to fall in love with the idea of sustainability again,” says Cramer. “A lot of people don’t get excited by the numbers or research around sustainability, but if you tell someone a story they’re more likely to be inspired by it or look at things in a different way.”

Storytelling Inspire Speaker Series presenter Celeste Smith. Photo by Leah Johns.
Storytelling Inspire Speaker Series presenter Celeste Smith. Photo by Leah Johns.

The latest lineup boasts storytellers representing areas such as activism, education, business and more. Among those presenting are Celeste Smith of the socially conscious hip-hop collective 1HoodMedia, Zero Six Eight founder Daniel Bull, Chatham University professor Héctor Sáez and Pittsburgh public school teacher Charles Herring.

Also included are speakers working on environmentally-related causes, including Millvale sustainability coordinator Zaheen Hussain and green architect Laura Nettleton.

Cramer adds that they chose storytellers from a diverse array of causes in order to “redefine what sustainability means.”

“It’s not just about the environment,” she adds. “It’s also about social equity and impact and economic vitality. It’s so broad and interconnected.”

The event will also feature poetry readings by GBA development director Ryan Walsh and students from the Environmental Charter School.

The second annual Storytelling Inspire Speakers Series event takes place on February 9 from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium at the Hill House Association. A Q&A session with the storytellers will follow. Guests are also welcome to attend a pre-show networking reception with food and drinks beginning at 4:30 p.m. Registration costs between $5 and $20.

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.