Jul 9, 2011

Posted by in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Green Festivals: SAPsMaMa’s Thoughts

This summer it seems that “Being Green” is the theme for festivals!

Have you noticed this at all?  Last year we went to a Green Energy Festival, and had a good time.  This year, since I am now a college grad and looking to “start” my life officially, I wanted to get more into making our living quarters more green, so we started attending more festivals in the area.

We just attending EcoFest360 today, which sounded great on paper and if we had went on a weekend might have had more for us to do, but all in all after this third “green” festival this summer in just 1.5 months, I’m starting to feel that a few things are missing from them!

First, these festivals are often “Preaching to the Choir”.

The people that attend these festivals are those who already are composting, using green energy saving methods, eating and growing organic foods, etc., so the workshops and exhibitors are “preaching to the choir”!  The festivals don’t seem to attract those who would truely benefit from the information.  On the other hand, the workshops and information presented are in their simplist form and leave those of us living green lives thirsty for more info since basically all they do is “wet our pallet” so to say!  I took a workshop on Herbs and their uses, I learned about tinctures, and about the wonderful benefits of common plants/herbs such as plantain and clover, but without an actual demonstration on how to make tinctures or what they’re used for often, and so much info on the benefits of so many herbs in such a short time, I was not able to get much out of it!  I feel purchasing a book or finding an informative website online would work better for those who are already familiar with topics but want more info, since workshops are a basic and very wide overview that doesn’t focus or demonstrate.

Second, I find that these “Green Festivals” are often “Green Washed”!

With the new in-thing to “Go Green” this year, it seems every company will try to label their product green and sell it to you!  Everything from cheap aluminum reusable water-bottles that easily dent and are lined with BPA (instead of nice insulated toxin free stainless steal bottles! ), to normal clothes being sold for more and labeled “green” since they are reusable….especially microfiber clothes recently!  These are not natural fabrics and they have their downsides no matter how cool they seem!  Don’t try to convince me yours is more special than the one down the aisle, I know better!

The final thing I noticed: Green festivals are Geared Toward the Home Owner.

Even though today’s economy is down and there is not much money to go around, jobs are scarce and money to spend on luxery items scarcer, these festivals seem to be geared toward home owners, though most families I know are renting homes and buying used vehicles.  The majority of booths and exhibits and workshops seem to be for windmills, solor energy, the best insulation for your home, the best electric/hybrid vehicle to buy, tools for your garden (which they assume is big by the size of the large compost bins, water barrels, and cobra head tools!).  For those who live paycheck to paycheck in a rental unit and the only garden they have is in hanging baskets on their balcony, these are of little interest.  The types of booths that might be of interest to these families such as children’s green products, green bath products, natural candles, natural foods, and ways to garden in small spaces or compost in a small kitchen, arn’t being advertised at these fairs, and I find that not right.  Many families are looking for these products and this information, let’s step up the Eco-fairs and get these into them!

What is your impression?  Have you attended an eco (green) festival recently, and what was your experience?  Are you witnessing what I am?

  1. I agree! I went to the Mother Earth News Fair last year, and it seemed to be all really high-ticket items like big clothesline that attach to your house, wind power systems, etc. I am interested in those things, but when the whole thing is geared toward people who have a ton of money to invest I really feel like I’m in the wrong place. They weren’t even selling food that seemed to fit the theme. It wasn’t local or organic, and there wasn’t much of it. We drove almost 3 hours and spend the night in a hotel to attend the fair, and I didn’t think we got much out of it. I couldn’t even find a good t-shirt to buy. But I did see some alpacas. :/

    Maybe we need to start our own fair! 🙂

  2. Yes! Our community puts on an Earth Day fair every year. This year’s had very little to do with Earth Day at all. Mainly, as you said, companies looking to sell their product from a green angle. I mean, we live near Fermi, a nuclear power facility on Lake Erie. THEY were there telling us hoe much more eco-friendly and (yes) SAFE their power was than good, old Detroit Edison’s. Who, by the way, were ironically placed in the booth right next to them, selling their power as safer than nuclear. The funny thing>? They’re both ultimately owned by the SAME company.
    Beside that, there were companies giving out seeds, and coloring books, and stickers. They even had (and I had to LOL at this) a huge area where kids could make bubbles. I checked out one of the jugs of extra bubble solution and got my kid out of there – nothing but chemicals that I couldn’t pronounce! The following week, all of the grass and plants in that area were dead.

    What really got me was that the crowds were mostly people who really were looking for some information on becoming greener. That info just couldn’t be found unless you, as you mentioned, owned a home. I’m not one to do this, but maybe next year I’ll attempt to get on the committee. Then again, around here, making waves and changing things can cause lots of trouble!

    (Thanks for letting me write an entire post! LOL I have lots more to say, but I’ll shut up for now!)