By Melody Parker
The Green Festival shook the San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center with an estimated 41,000 attendees, Nov. 9-11.
This enormous party came equipped with the best attributes: organic food and drinks, live music, and further entertainment in the form of over 400 “green” exhibits that encouraged eco-friendly products or causes.
The event brought in products from Sri Lankan elephant dung paper to solar-powered backpacks and tote backs, and everything in between.
A few of the exhibits shined above the crowd of well-intentioned organizations and companies.
Earth Justice, the largest environmental law firm in the nation, takes on environmental cases with no cost to the client—government, NGOs, and individuals provide the funding.
Save Your World sells body products with the guarantee that for every product sold, one acre of rainforest will be saved for a year.
This is possible due to their partnership with Conservation International that is able to pay royalties on 200,000 acres of northern Amazonian rainforest to the Guyana Forestry Commission.
Unlike other groups that work to defend rainforest habitat, Save Your World is a for-profit company.
“We want to set an example where you can be both sustainable and profitable,” said Scott Cecil, president of Save Your World.
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap company also goes beyond selling organic body products by donating 30-70 percent of their profits to charitable causes.
Michael Bronner, grandson of the founder, talked to me about the company’s social awareness: “No one can earn more than five times that of our lowest paid employee,” he said, adding that “constructive capitalism is where you share the profit with the workers and the earth from which you made it.”
The buzz for this event was inescapable, with foot traffic thick enough to crowd-surf.
If the stimulation became overwhelming, one could retreat to the less crowded art station or the alcohol sampling area.
Happy, glowing faces mixed and mingled through the appropriate earthy scents that spread from the many exhibits of body products.
This unique event takes place each year in three other cities nationwide, including Washington D.C., which celebrated “green” last month, and Seattle and Chicago, which will hold festivals in the spring.
The festival in San Francisco was made possible by nearly 1,200 volunteers who worked to ensure a smooth run and a low-waste result.
Only four percent of all waste was sent to the landfill last year, and the rest was either recycled or composted.
The event attracted internationally acclaimed body/mind doctor Deepak Chopra and well-known independent media journalist, Amy Goodman, along with about 125 other speakers.
Dr. Deepak Chopra spoke on human evolution. “The human species was an interesting experiment that did not work,” Chopra said.
He explained that humans have destroyed the environment and are destroying themselves; the next stage of human evolution, he added, is to evolve beyond basic biology.
“The survival of the fittest will need to be replaced by the survival of the wisest,” Chopra said, before asking everyone in the crowd to act consciously and protect the environment.
“Love without action is meaningless, and action without love is irrelevant,” he said.
Chopra, along with other prominent speakers, discussed how people around the world are beginning to shift their priorities to create a more sustainable future.
“One to two million organizations in the world are fighting for the same thing,” said author Paul Hawkin, in reference to the Green Movement.