The annual AIA 2011 Convention and Expo, which was held last week in New Orleans, was of special interest this year because it had Thomas Friedman, the celebrated New York Times syndicated columnist and author, as the keynote speaker on the opening day. The theme of this year’s convention was sustainability, and Friedman had several insights to offer on this topic, culled from his extensive and global experience of researching and writing about a vast range of issues including government, politics, technology, society, culture, and so on. In fact, he was able to provide a very useful, high-level perspective on issues that we typically do not hear or think about, and I found his talk extremely insightful and refreshingly different. He was also a terrific speaker, which lent added impact and dynamism to his presentation. This article, the first of two on the 2011 AIA Convention, captures the key points of his presentation and the sustainability-related technological developments that emerged from the show.