I am sitting at the gate in Chicago Midway airport on my way home from the Green Festival in Seattle. What a great experience. The event took place over two days in the Seattle Convention Center and brought together amazing speakers, companies and attendees who are all working to conserve, reuse, recycle, and just generally improve the environment and thereby the economy.
This is the second Green Festival I’ve been too. The first was in DC in November when I had no idea what to expect. I have come to learn over the last few months how closely tied our environmental and economic issues are. If you’re not sure what I mean, check out Van Jones’ GREEN COLLAR ECONOMY, Herve Kempf’s HOW THE RICH ARE DESTROYING THE EARTH, and John Perkins’ THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE just to name a few.
At first I struggled a bit with the idea of the festival. Many of the speakers talk about the need for us to curb our out of control materialism and cut back on our consumerism in general, and yet the floor of the conference is filled with companies selling their wares. (Including us!) But after my interview with John Perkins this past weekend, I got it. It’s not about cutting consumerism altogether or never buying anything again. It’s about buying smarter. Buying used or re-purposed items. Buying from B Corporations, fair trade companies, organic companies, etc. And yes – about buying less. It’s about knowing the companies that you are buying from and making informed decisions.
Many Americans voted for change in the last election and are being encouraged to stay involved and stay or become more active. One very simple way is to vote with your dollars. So – if you missed the Seattle Green Fest (or don’t live anywhere near there)…maybe you can catch the Chicago or Denver Green Festivals coming up in May. I’ll be there. Stop by the Better World Books bookstore and say hello!