An Educational Weekend at The Green Festival


Listening to inspirational speakers, whilst being surrounded by interesting people, innovative products, and consuming delicious organic food and drink is really not a bad way to spend one’s weekend. And what’s more it was all with the aim of promoting sustainable living. The Green Festival, organised by Global Exchange and Co-op America, took place this weekend in San Francisco for the fifth year running. It being my first time I can’t compare the event to previous years or in other cities, but I can say that I was amazed at the scale of the festival and the variety of activities during the three days. Normally being a TreeHugger correspondant at a trade show is kind of like being a vegan at a BBQ! You can sometimes pick at the raw carrots that go with the side dip, but that’s only if your lucky, and you normally leave feeling hungry. Well this weekend was an enormous feast for all the senses and I took the opportunity to gorge myself on all that there was on offer! There were more than 100 speakers, 400 green businesses, interactive workshops, a community action tent, as well as fantastically diverse organic food and uplifting live music. Certainly more than enough to keep this TreeHugger writer busy at the keyboard for weeks to come.I was lucky enough to see the producer Lawrence Bender talk about the upcoming release of The Inconvenient Truth on DVD. We were shown exclusive extracts of Al Gore’s contribution to the DVD in which he updates the film’s topics with information that has been released over the last year since they finished the film. We’re looking forward to this DVD being at the top of everyone’s Christmas lists this year. You can preorder it now on Amazon.

I also caught part of David Suzuki’s talk entitled the Life Of An Eco-Pioneer. It fantastic to see this pioneer of the sustainability movement talking with such passion about the very serious issues that face us today, but also frightening to hear about our reluctance to deal with a problem that scientists have been warning us about for a very long time. Suzuki asked why we have been so slow to react and purported that it is fundamentally un-american not to fight against the threat of Global Warming.

Finally I was initiated into the magical world of mushrooms by the great Paul Stamets, whose talk several people had recommended that I go and see. Now while I love mushrooms, usually on my plate, I really had no idea how much mushrooms, fungi and more specifically mycelium can do to help our planet regenerate itself. After to listening to Paul talk it really seems no exaggeration when he says that mushrooms can save the world. I urge everyone to look at his work and if possible to read his latest book Mycelium Running.

I am sure many of you listened to lots of other fascinating talks over the weekend and encountered many inspiring examples of ways to green your life. Do please let us know which were your favourites and what you learnt. The talks will be available for everyone to listen to on Green Festival Radio, they should be uploaded in the next week or two so keep an eye out. Until then you can listen to talks from the Washington DC event earlier this year. :: Green Festival

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