Green Festival Makes Big Apple Debut
The eco-curious visitors who stopped by New York City’s Green Festival on Earth Day weekend found green exhibitors, cooking demonstrations and expert sessions that reflected sustainable practices for work and business. Here are some festival highlights.
Even at the entrance of the Green Festival at the Jacob Javits Center, eco-incentives were everywhere. Volunteers distributed eco tote bags to attendees, while press members received media passes made from elephant-dung paper, a product of fair trade company Mr. Ellie Pooh. Taking part in a green transportation incentive, visitors who rode bikes to the festival got in for free.
Green Festival, a joint project of Green America and Global Exchange, celebrated its 11th year with a New York City debut, drawing vendors and guests from across the country.
“We affectionately refer to Green Festival as the largest party with a purpose,” said Green Festival Director Denise Hamler of the nonprofit show.
Inside the LEED-certified pavilion, exhibitors showcased everything from recycled jewelry to conservation and recycling solutions, and an organic beer and wine pavilion was open for taste testing.
A hemp fashion showcase by student designers added some style and color to the festival scene, while Ford gave eco-car enthusiasts a chance to test out the automaker’s hybrid vehicle.
Beyond the green gadgets and designs, presentations and speeches also left an impression.
The Dark Side of Chocolate, a documentary by investigative journalists about child trafficking in the Ivory Coast, depicted how young children of West African nations are captured, sold and forced to work in cocoa plantations for the rest of their lives. Filmmakers called out ties to some major chocolate companies.
Journalist Amy Goodman, host of the progressive news program Democracy Now!, opened her session citing extreme weather events around the world and emphasized how movements change history. Meanwhile, the “Occupy the Dream” panel discussion’s speakers included hip-hop business mogul Russell Simmons and Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr., civil rights leader and chairman and CEO of The Hip Hop Summit Action Network. Their message: “Corporations are not people.”
On the Fair Trade and Business Green stage, BBMG’s business development manager, Morgen Wolf, and senior strategist, Devon Douglas, presented the company’s sustainability strategy, titled Green the Team: Five Practices for Engaging Employees in Sustainability. The sustainable brand consultancy’s representatives also emphasized that most so-called Millennials choose employers whose social responsibility values reflect their own, and provided the audience with everyday sustainability tips that resonate with workers, such as tweeting an incentive of the day to all employees.