Envirovents Green Events

Blogging about green events around the world!

Archive for san francisco

San Francisco Green Festival 2009

Green Festival 2009The long weekend of events has come to a close for Green Festival 2009.  This past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday delivered a plethora of green products, services, speakers, and parties.

Many of the products were similar to prior years, but a few new additions popped up and stood out from the crowd. One was a individual garden bed greenhouse from SunPod.  Eco-friendly vegetable ink dry erase markers from AusPen made their mark. And Taylor’s Tonics Chai Cola stood out as the most unique and attractive booth (see picture). There were many more additions, but these stood out to me.

Taylor's Tonic Chai Cola

Taylor's Tonic Chai Cola

This year’s speakers were very similar to previous years, but all of the talks I attended were very informative and inspiring. Amy Goodman spoke about the need for public television as an alternative to the mainstream media. As well as alternative approaches to standing up for your own rights, such as how The Yes Men , as well as a Utah student who posed as a bidder to save thousands of acres of public land from development and shine light on a faulty auction. Paul Stamets made a powerful presentation about the power of mushrooms to solve global problems. And many many others gave inspiring messages about how to make the world a better place. Even the Mayor of San Francisco showed up and gave a brief speech.Green Festival Speakers

Instead of describing each talk due to the incredible number of talks, you can purchase any of the speeches on the Green Festival website.

At the end of each day, the festivities continued at after parties throughout San Francisco. There were at least 5 different after parties over the three days.

Lastly, if you did not make it to the event, or wanted to review anything you saw, definitely check out the Green Festival Website for a very detailed account.

If you would like to see photos of the event, please see them here.

As always, if you need event publicity, calendar submittals, photography,  a website, or graphic design, please see the Services section on Envirovents.

350 Climate Change Event and Global Warming in Plain English

As a continuation of the last post about a political figure, a message was sent to globa political leaders by the organization 350.org, a group formed from StepItUp.org. 350.org event

What message? A message of change in environmental policy. As the world faces climate change as a global crisis, 350.org has presented a campaign to unite the world behind a simple number, 350. To garner attention to the growing carbon emissions causing global climate problems. I won’t bore you with the details, but 350 is the maximum parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere our earth can sustain at any given time. Today, we’re almost 40 parts per million above that limit. So 350.org has set out to join people together to show their support, and hopefully garner attention of world leaders to make changes in the world to address the problem.

The event itself brought thousands of people, a very large “350” spelled out by human bodies, and even political figures in support of global warming changes in politics. The event occurred all over the world in much the same way. See the 350.org website for all the details of the events around the world, as many of them were filmed and photographed.

That is the simple explanation of the event, but what does it mean to you?

As far as I see it, our society is split between believing whether or not climate change is actually a problem. Many scientists have come to the conclusion that is true and that humans are the cause. Unfortunately, that does nothing for the average citizen, which may have access to the information, but does not know or understand the data enough to make an informed decision. The global climate is an extremely complex system with many variables. The complexity makes it very difficult for anyone to know what is really happening in our atmosphere, even the experts. Therefore the average person either does not understanding the science or does not believe the scientists are correct. There are scientists on both sides of the coin making their conclusions, so it’s easy to make an argument either way.

350.org Event 2

So instead, I present you with a different viewpoint. Instead of focusing on the expansive topic of world climate, think for a minute on a small scale. If you take a small amount of water, such as a pond or stream, and you pollute it with toxins, it becomes undrinkable. On a larger scale, it works in exactly the same way. There is plenty of information and data confirming the pollution of our water supplies, leaving our planet with less than %10 of clean water resources remaining. That fact has been proven humans were the cause. So think about the same thing for the air we breathe. If we pollute the air with toxins in a small area, the air is no longer breathable. Again, enlarge the area (the atmosphere) and you will get the same result.

The simple fact of the matter, is the water and air are being polluted and killing many animals, including humans. I say forget about climate change and concentrate on something factual that everyone can understand. Add pollution and eventually you will become affected by it.

When everyone is focused on a belief of scientific data, there will be believers on both sides. But when you face the facts that are simple for everyone to understand, it is difficult to ignore.

Oceana Benefit Honors Two-term San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown

Will Brown Receives Award From Oceana

Jim Simon, Executive Vice President, Oceana and Courtney Sakai SeniorPublic Relations, Oceana with honoree, Willie Brown, Jr.

Last night, October 23, 2009, Oceana, the world’s leading ocean conservation organization, hosted a special benefit dinner in San Francisco to honor the city’s former Mayor and long-time California Statesman, Willie Brown, Jr.  Oceana presented an award to Willie for his nearly half-century commitment to public service. Willie has paved the way for many civil services to flourish in California.

The night’s reception dinner was set amongst a gorgeous sunset and ocean view of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge, which was a telling reminder of the beauty in nature onto which the event was shedding light.

Benefit Dinner

Hostesses Lea Haratani Speaks To Dinner Guests

Lea Haratani of Oceana opened the evening with a few quotes and facts to set the mood for the evening. Her dedication to conservation was clear, as she excitedly explained how “we live in a time where there is a major global crisis and we have the tools and knowledge…to turn it around in only ten to fifteen years.”

Jim Simon, Executive Vice President of Oceana, announced and presented the award to Willie Brown. Mr. Brown returned the favor of his award, with a thank you to “non-profits, volunteers, and citizens who present critical information for people and their representatives to make more informed choices” that will lead to a better future. This is something heard amongst many local policy officials and non-profits alike.  It is up to the citizens to take charge of their own communities by forming groups and organizations to study the problems, as well as letting their representatives know how they feel and present them the information. Oceana, among countless other non-profits, paves the way to getting that information in the hands of citizens and elected officials. Oceana’s website presents a whole slew of facts, statistics, problems, and solutions.

Jim Simon seemed to have all of the facts and statistics memorized, as he continued the evening with a great speech. His energy for solving problems was very clear.

Jim says “the good news is it’s not complicated to fix….the solutions already exist, and ocean conservation is where we can already notice results within three to five years:  such as when we regulate commercial fishing to prevent over-harvesting, the fish populations return to normal.” He continued enthusiastically “it’s one of the most important problems that we can actually solve!”

Jim said the solutions can be broken down into four easy steps. “One, protect the habitat. Two, stop pollution. Three, set and enforce quotas and regulations. And four, stop subsidizing commercial fishing. ” That puts it as easy-to-follow as you can get.

Last in the roundup of speakers, came John Aiken, Director of the Palo Alto Zoo, who spoke about his insights into ocean conservation from a land-based perspective. How our impacts on land directly contribute to problems in the ocean, and vice versa.  An entire ecosystem can be affected by only a single species depletion.

As an addition to the night’s speakers, a fun fashion (or trashion) show of creative and “trashy” clothes were sported by Haute Trash.

Haute Trash

Alastair Boone models Haute Trash fashion made from a raft abandoned in the Columbia River.

Each outfit, made from real trash (yes, something someone would throw in the garbage) was accompanied by humorous puns and satires by the announcer. They sure know how to make trash and recycling a whole lot of fun! We need people like them to shine some light on our problems with some fun and humorous ways to get us moving in the positive direction.

With that, I will end this blog with Haute Trash’s great closing quote. “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the pollution.”

SF Bay Area Gets Public Transport Upgrade

Yes, I realize this is not an event, but how do you get to your events?  We here at Envirovents noticed that some “green” events don’t even mention forms of nearby public transportation.  Very odd considering that green-minded individuals are more likely to use public transportation.

Anyway, for those of you living in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, you’ll be glad to here that one of the major problems of the transit systems has been solved! They finally created a single pass that covers all forms of transit throughout the bay area.  I have personally been waiting for this, as many of my travels involve switching from one transit system to the next, which don’t always offer purchase transfers.  Well, the wait is over, because they are now accepting their new “Translink” cards, which allow you to make a payment to a single card, that you swipe to use on any transit system.  Not only does this reduce your time for purchasing tickets at the station (if you have a card and put a balance on your card in advance), but it allows them to give more directed frequent rider discounts, carrying coins around from your change given, makes transfers much smoother, and makes it easier on everyone for not dealing with the differnces between ticketing systems and tickets. Also, an added benefit of less paper used for paper tickets. Yes, it looks like the cards are made out of plastic, but maybe they can make them out of recycled plastic? Anyone want to call them up and make a suggestion?

On top of public transport, we also notice the lack of carpooling suggestions in events.  Therefore, we’ve been creating an events guide to prevent event planners from forgetting these important details. Plus, we are starting to integrate carpooling directly into the each event! No guarantee on this one, as it’s quite an undertaking and we may just try to partner up with another website.

Sustainable Business Happy Hour in San Francisco, CA

Elixir Bar in San Francisco, CAI recently made it to my first “Sustainability Business Happy Hour” in San Francisco, CA. It is now a part of greendrinks.org, a green/environmental networking happy hour that has spread across the country. They cater to “NGOs, academia, government and business” for those interested or work in the environmental industry.

My impression before going was an informal get together with people lounging around at a table drinking beer or having a snack. The bar, Elixir, turned out to be your average corner bar with minimal seating besides the usual bar stools and a few small round tables. Elixir is a great venue for such an event. Although the building was not built green, they serve many organic beers and liquor from around the world. Yes I know, transporting them from all over is not very sustainable, but it ws nice to see such a wide selection and the market for such products.

The place was full, but I had no idea if everyone at the bar was there for the happy hour or whether some were just locals. Well, some were just locals! Luckily I knew someone going, so I quickly found him and started connecting with others. Now I’ve been to a lot of green events, but I would say this event brought out a few more younger people than I was used to. That or the young ones were the locals, who knows!

After awhile, the sponsors of that month’s event, The Green Zebra, brought party supplies and games because it was valentine’s day. It was a nice little ice breaker to get people chatting and having some fun. We played spin the bottle for prizes (kissing optional), broke a pinata (and almost broke the TV in the process), and passed around some chocolates and treats.

Owner of Elxir Saloon in San Francisco, CAThe owner of the bar (see picture) was super nice and a friend of the green industry. The bar was nice and it was overall a good experience. I prefer the business networking, but if I want to go have a beer on the 2nd Thursday of the month, I’ll certainly choose organic at the Sustainable Business Happy Hour!