I have been going to the Greenfest in San Francisco for several years now. In past years it was in Fall. This year it will be in November again, but they added a Spring Show close to Earth Day.
The Greenfest is held in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Washington, DC. I find it curious that it is not held in Los Angeles, which going really use some greening. How about Dallas, Denver and Miami or Orlando?
I enjoy Greenfest. It is close enough to where I live. It is the largest collection of Green minded vendors that I have come across. That and a combination of educational seminars makes it a wonderful event. There is a certain spirit, enthusiasm that is invigorating.
There were several things I noticed right away. The festival was for only two days (Saturday and Sunday) where in the past it had been three (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). It was also clear that there were significantly fewer vendors. This space was taken up by more seminars, which could be a very good thing. Finally, there weren't quite as much give-aways as there had been in the past. Cliff bar still had a huge booth, but there were giving out pieces of bars, which they do every year, but this year they were not handing out sample bars.
Funds are tough this year, but I really want to continue down the green path. I would very much like to do something solar at my house. I am considering either solar water heating or solar electricity. While I would love to be solar and off the grid, that just isn't going to happen in the near future. What is most likely is solar with no upfront cost. I basically pay what I am paying for electricity now, but pay it to the people that put in the solar panels. That would be a green step in the right direction and it would guarantee that my power costs would not increase for the duration of the contract.
I did not attend any seminars. I was not interested in most of the topics and the ones I was interested were not at times that worked for me.
Most of my education tends to come from the vendors themselves. Seeing the new creative products and services. This year some of my favorites were bowls and plates made from fallen palm leaves by leaf-ware.com and silverware made from birch by birchware. The toilet with sink that uses the water before it enters the toilet to wash your hands is always a favorite. There is a company that has a store in Richmond, near where I live that has some serious rain barrels, that piqued my interest, but I think my all time favorite this year was the paper made from elephant crap. Fortunately, they were not making paper plates!
There is one booth that provided me with information that I plan to use right away. 1 800-EXHAUST (1-800-394-2878). I have loaded this into the speed dial on my cell phone. When I see a car spewing out all sorts of smoke, I will turn them in. Not only can you call in, but you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and they have a website www.1800exhaust.org
Not all of the vendors provided me with an education. I found this one very entertaining.
There is an element of friendliness and fun that I just don't see at a lot of other festivals or conferences. Live music was often being performed. There is nothing quite like live music.
Some of the vendors really got your attention. This one did not have a booth. I really frown on vendors not renting a booth yet working a show. I have to admit, she was pretty clever. She was promoting a machine that created water. It is basically a huge dehumidifier. I'm not sure how green this is. It uses a lot of electricity. I guess if you have enough solar power and water is scarce.
There is so much more I want to write, but I will end with two of my own Green Tips:
1) Next time you buy a computer, consider a netbook. I use one by Asus. Today it got over 6 hours on the batter. They use so much less power. Just make sure that you get one that supports a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater.
2) Get an inverter for your car. When you drive, charge your laptop. I am assuming that you already charge your cell phone when you drive.