A love for nature has driven Molly Meyer to find her own way to combat risks and challenges facing the environment.
Founder and CEO of Omni Ecosystems, Meyer will discuss “Green Roof Landscapes that Improve the Environment” in the final Bird, Tree & Garden Club Brown Bag of the season at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, in Smith Wilkes Hall. Meyer said when she founded Omni Ecosystems almost 10 years ago, it was with the purpose of leveraging efforts in order to create change in a meaningful way.
“We’re living on a planet where we don’t have unlimited resources, and we’re starting to see the timeline as shortening for the health of the planet itself.”
-Molly Meyer, founder and CEO of Omni Ecosystems
“I felt I really needed to have a hold in making improvements and making a business where we could identify new ways to get ecosystems built into the (existing) environments to show the financial benefits that would spill into these environmental and social areas that I care so much about,” Meyer said.
After the large population shift at the dawn of the 20th century, when people migrated into cities and suburbs, Meyers said people are now starting to backpedal to a more “natural environment.” Much of her work, Meyer said, involves looking at the existing infrastructure and looking at how it is and isn’t serving humanity properly.
With the Omni Ecosystem’s green roof initiative, which involves introducing plant life and soil onto rooftops to slow water runoff, among other benefits, Meyer hopes to integrate change into what already exists, rather than replacing it.
“Plants are natural air conditioners — they have a natural cooling effect,” Meyer said. “The area around a natural green roof will be significantly cooler. That can have an impact on the building itself. In the winter, the opposite effect actually happens. The green roof acts like a blanket, so it will help keep temperatures higher to reduce energy needed to keep the building heated.”
In reducing harmful impacts on roof structures, such as hail, freeze and UV radiation, the lifespans of rooftops are extended. However, there are some positives that might be harder to see, Meyer said.
“The things that are harder to monetize are the feel-good effects of having a green roof,” Meyer said. “Having an oasis can be really meaningful to residents and tenants of a building.”
Meyer hopes attendees of her lecture walk away with a better understanding of the value the landscape offers; she also wants to offer a positive note often left unspoken regarding environmental conservation.
“A lot of times, there’s a lot of bad news in the world,” Meyer said. “It’s really uplifting to see people working to make a change and doing it. I hope that sharing some of our stories provides hope to some people who get mired down in the news we see a lot of times.”
Meyers said coming to speak at Chautauqua offers a rewarding experience that she hopes will challenge her as she continues this work.
“They’re going to open up my own thinking about our own projects and some of the objectives we have, and I think there will be some new ideas opened up from the conversations we have as a result of the lecture,” Meyer said.