It`s a Party-It`s a Forum-It`s Green Festival

by Louisa May

CrowdThomas Friedman is right. Our world is getting hot, flat, and crowded. But even he admits to having hope.

In the beginning of his latest book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, he identifies trends. One trend he sees is “nation-building at home.” Friedman hears from people all around the country, people with ideas about how to make our world a better place.

These innovators have vision and imagination, and they are working on developing clean energy, improving education, and making repairs. What this author calls “nation-building at home,” I call Green Festival.

Green Festival is a joint project of Global Exchange and Co-Op America. It’s truly a national sustainability event.

Now in its seventh year, Green Festival attracts a wide range of educators, authors and community leaders, smart people who want to be part of this change. All Green Festival exhibitors are screened for their commitment to sustainable business practices, using Co-Op America’s green business standards.

Seven-Star, Inc. organizes and manages the land fill diversion, product conversion, and carbon offsetting for each Green Festival and also works with vendors and suppliers, offering green alternatives. You’ll see no trash cans here. Resource recovery stations are fully loaded recycling centers with collection bins for all types of recyclables including composting.

Bio-ware is the order of the day, since no Styrofoam products are used. Every cup, plate, fork, toothpick and napkin is 100% compostable. Thanks to Seven-Star and many dedicated volunteers, 97% of all Green Festival show waste is recovered through re-use, recycling, or composting.

So, where’s the party? On November 8th and 9th, 2008, the Washington D.C. Convention Center will open its doors to Green Festival. Over 350 eco-friendly businesses will be attending.

Scrolling down the list of vendors, I was surprised to see an entrepreneur from my own home place, Boulder, Colorado. Heather English was floating down Boulder Creek in an inner tube, thinking she needed a new handbag, when she came up with the idea for her new business, English Retreads. She designed her first handbag using reclaimed truck inner tubes.The fabric lining is made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. Local truck stops supply her with inner tubes, and many of these tubes have traveled over 60,000 miles. She’s found a great way to make reclaimed rubber into a fashion statement.

125 authors, educators, and leaders have been invited to speak over the Festival weekend. Speakers include award winning journalist Amy Goodman, British architect Bill McDonough, principal and founder of the internationally recognized design firm, William McDonough and Partners, and Sharif Abdullah, author of The Power of One:Authentic Leadership in Turbulent Times.

You can take a yoga class, see a “green” film or sign up for a “green” workshop, listen to live music, and peruse the aisles at the fair trade pavilion. At the Natural Food Court, indulge your palate: sample delicious, organic vegetarian cuisine from around the world and visit the beer/wine and tea garden.

If you miss the Green Festival in Washington D.C., there are four more venues:

San Francisco – November 14, 15,and 16, 2008

Seattle, Washington – March 28, 29, 2009

Denver, Colorado – May 2,3, 2009

and Chicago, Illinois- May 16, 17, 2009.

Check out our Green Pages for information on money saving tips that help the environment. Once there, click on the Green Forum for more articles by feature writer Louisa May.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services related to your commercial housing investment, including real estate forms, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at

To subscribe to our blog, click here.