The end of a year is often the time for reflection on what has happened and not happened, what we would like to have been better, what we wish we had done. In a year of successes and achievements I do wish one thing. I wish Mel Starrs was still with us.
Mel Starrs was an engineer who specialised in sustainability and green buildings. In March she was recognised by Building as one of the top 50 rising stars in Sustainability, but her blog, Elemental, has been an in depth source of expertise on the sustainable built environment and building codes for six years. Mel was one of the first built environment professionals to befriend me online, and on 15 July she died at her home, unexpectedly, at the age of 38.
The beginning of a new year is, however also a time for looking ahead at what is to come, making plans for the future and taking up the baton. In the six months since Mel died, her friends and colleagues have taken many steps towards this goal.
Here are two ways in which you can help 2013 become a place where, whilst we may not have Mel to help, we can still inspire built environment professionals to make truly greener buildings.
1. Tell us About Your Sustainability Hero
The UK Green Building Council and PRP Architects, Mel’s employers, have launched a search for our sustainability champions; the Rising Star Award. The first award will be presented at Ecobuild in March.
Anyone can nominate anybody in the UK for the Rising Star Award. All you need to do is write a short passage (up to 250 words) about why the person you nominate is your Rising Star.
You can read more about the award on the UKGBC website here. There are two PDF documents to download on the right hand side.
Nominate your Rising Star for 2013 using this online form. Don’t be shy; lets recognise the people who inspire us. Nominations close on 25 January.
2. Help us Write the Book
Mel’s partner Mark Fretwell is curating a book of Mel’s writings from her blog and elsewhere, and needs our help to find the ‘best bits’.
If you have read some of Mel’s writings, let us know what has inspired you and what you think will inspire the next generation of sustainability professionals, so that we can make a book that reflects the contribution Mel made, and can act as a motivation to us to carry the issues forward.
You can let us know your favourite writings here by adding a comment below or on Mark’s post on Mel’s blog.
Search Mel’s blog for your favourite topics using this google search like this (here I search for ‘Code for Sustainable Homes’ – just edit the string for your own term)
You can read more about Mel and the tributes to her on this page.
Please take the time to help us remember Mel and look to a more sustainable future for our industry.