We are always fans of Ecoist’s ambitious work in the Balkans, and this civil organization’s advocacy in Belgrade and beyond deserves mention once again. Ecoist wrapped up its work helping to organize the International GreenBuild Conference 2011 in Serbia’s capital. The 170 attendees came from construction, government, diplomatic corps and from the sustainability community. As Jelena Lucic, head of Ecoist said during the conference, the first steps, even simple ones, are positive steps:

What we wanted to create are active attendees, the ones that are always hungry for knowledge and always question the existing - so we just gave them enough time for discussion after each speaker and discussion worked out perfectly - simplest ways are most often the best ones!”

With 75 percent of Serbia’s buildings built before 1980, a lot of work on retrofits and energy efficiency remains to be done. But the attendees from around the globe showed how such projects can thrive from collaboration and the sharing of ideas.

Southeastern Europe has more going for it than its people realize, and organizations like Ecoist are among the reasons why.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009 his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). During 2013 and 2014, he lived and worked in Abu Dhabi, UAE, as an associate director with a leading public relations firm within Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.