After a brief hiatus, the renowned Washington, D.C. Green Festival returned to the nation’s capital during the last weekend of September. Thousands of visitors flocked to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to see what they could learn about living sustainably, in a world where every action matters.
In the days prior to the exposition, co-producer Green America hosted a handful of special events. The first was a lunchtime discussion on the topics of clean energy and the upcoming elections, offered by Green America’s Corporate Responsibility Director, Todd Larsen. Green America’s Clean Energy Victory Bonds campaign was highlighted. Next came their annual Serving Up Solutions Luncheon, held on Thursday September 27th at the Washington Post Conference Center. The non-profit provided a free local lunch, catered by Green Plate Catering, to attendees who RSVP’d. Guest speakers included Wendy Reiger of NBC4 and Steve Ma of Live Green, among others.
The purpose of the event was to bring awareness to all that Green America does, in addition to fundraising, so that the organization can continue to offer award-winning programs and publications. Absolutely no corporate or government funding is allowed. The independent non-profit boasted about their nationally recognized staff expertise and how they devote 87¢ of every dollar donated to high-impact programs creating positive change. One guest speaker, individual Green America member Genie Moreno, went so far as to say that “Green America cannot be matched – anywhere.” Perhaps so, for very few organizations have achieved what Green America has in the past 30 years.
Those who attended the Serving Up Solutions Luncheon received free access to Friday’s event – to hear Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of Grameen Bank, Professor Muhammad Yunus, speak at the DC Social Business & Microcredit Forum. Guests also received free tickets to the DC Green Festival.
The Green Festival, a project of Green Americaand Global Exchange, is the largest sustainability event in the world. A strict screening process allows only exhibitors who are wholly committed to sustainable living to display. Over 300 vendors showcased a variety of products and services such as: renewable energy providers, reclaimed & refurbished home goods, recycled clothing, nontoxic personal care products, healthy food products, literature, eco-art, and more.
Multiple stages accommodated guest speakers like TV personality & Fashionista Bianca Alexander, former presidential runner Ralph Nader, host of Democracy Now! Amy Goodman, and investigative journalist Greg Palast. Unique live demonstrations were also performed, including nontoxic screen-printing by art teacher/activist Tim Hampton, and handcrafting Vegan lip balm by local cosmetics creator Linda Stein.
On Sunday, sponsor Ford Motors awarded their $5,000 Community Green Grant to Mundo Verde, Washington D.C.'s first “green” public charter school focusing on sustainability & bi-literacy, for their innovative idea to improve the local community. The company also exhibited its latest innovation for vehicular sustainability – using plant matter to produce car parts.
With the Green Festival growing larger each year, waste reduction was a top priority. This year, volunteers helped visitors determine which container was appropriate for their waste at their Resource Recovery Stations; non-recyclables, recyclables, compost, and liquids. The ultimate goal for the future of the festival is to present a zero-waste event.
Overall, this year’s national Green Festival tour will surely get consumers hooked on sustainability. Every aspect of living - be it eating, dressing, decorating, driving, heating or cooling the home – is addressed in an easily understood manner. Tell the doubters to skip the excuses, because these days “going green” couldn’t be easier.
For more information on upcoming events in California, please visit www.greenfestivals.org