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Green Festival visits San Francisco in April

Sun, 27 Feb 2011 15:04:00
5 / 5 (5 Votes)
Article by:
Jessica Buchleitner
From the 2009 Green Festival - Photo by Steven Tiell via Flickr.com.
Green Festival is currently the largest sustainability event in the world. Ten years and one million attendees later, Green Festivals are going strong in five major US cities.

Six festivals a year are presented: San Francisco has two, and Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and Chicago each have one festival.

A combination of a trade show and educational conference, Green Festival seeks to educate the population and provide the public with opportunities to sample and witness changes in the green movement. The trade show aspect includes about 300 companies showing their products, and the conference aspect encompasses speakers on a wide variety of sustainability topics.

“The goal is to save humanity from itself. We are undermining the planet’s ability to support human existence,” explained Kevin Danaher, Executive Director of the Global Citizen Center. “With Green Festival we are trying to accelerate the transition to the green economy. As the natural resource base gets depleted, the profitability of saving resources goes up. There are many green companies that people are not aware of. Green Festival puts the public in contact with this.”

Green Festival is a joint project between Global Exchange and Green America, two nonprofits committed to human rights and environmentalism. These nonprofits focus on the choosing of speakers for the conference portion of the festival and the filtering of companies exhibiting in the trade show portion.  

Green America is based in Washington D.C. and boasts an extensive business network – of which many Green Festival exhibitors are members. Extensive criteria must be met before becoming a festival exhibitor.

“We have the tightest criteria of any show in the country, Danaher said. “A lot of the companies in this country cannot get in, and we turn a lot of them away because they are not green enough or not socially responsible enough. We pay a lot of attention to how they treat their workers and how they treat their environment. We want to make sure the public is getting the best.”

Global Exchange is a nonprofit organization that handles the educational aspects of the festival. Their normal agenda includes taking interested parties around the world to witness first hand sustainability developments in different countries. These firsthand accounts are meant to encourage further activism on what was witnessed during these trips.

Danaher continued, “On the education side, we have about 200 speakers, workshops, debates, and panel discussions to educate the public about everything from global climate change, U.S. Government policy, how to do urban composting or backyard gardens, etcetera … a lot of ‘green living’ stuff.”

All of this collaboration allows guests to enjoy more than 125 renowned authors, leaders and educators; great how-to workshops; cutting-edge films; interactive activities for kids; organic beer and wine; delicious vegetarian cuisine and live music. Attendees can also shop at a unique marketplace of more than 350 eco-friendly businesses. These companies represent everything from all-natural body care products and organic cotton clothing to fair trade gifts and home décor made from renewable resources.

Danaher believes this collaboration is important in that all environmental issues are interconnected from micro to macro levels. “Nature’s core principal is unity of diversity,” he said. “This is one of the reasons why you can’t fix one issue like pollution without saying OK – what kind of factories are upstream, what kind of permit was given to the developers to allow septic systems near the river, etcetera – so you see it’s all one web. Each issue or question is interconnected to something else.”

San Francisco visitors will have two chances to enjoy the Green Festival, as it will be here April 9-10, and again from November 12-13. Many volunteer positions need to be filled, and the Green Festival offers many perks for its volunteers to enjoy – including free festival admission, networking opportunities and the chance to sample all the festival goods.

According to Danaher, attendees will find the best and the brightest individuals at the Green Festival, as well as the most positive and most progressive leaders for change.  

Danaher said, “Go back 15-20 years – organic food was not a favorite because it tasted like sticks and twigs, but now the products are amazing because organic products are becoming mainstream. Green Festival will change your opinion on Organic foods.”  

The ultimate goal of the Green Festival is for attendees to walk away feeling part of the change for which the planet yearns, and feeling motivated to do more for humanity and planet Earth.

“These are big issues that we need to start taking responsibility for – other than just me, my family and my circle of friends. In the next few decades we will have critical decisions to make and serious consequences if we don’t take action in the present,” Danaher emphasized.

For more information about Green Festivals or to sign up as a volunteer, visit www.greenfestivals.org.

 
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