Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

San Francisco's 7th Annual Green Festival Draws Diverse Crowd of Over 43,000 and Celebrates Sustainability

2008 San Francisco Green Festival Offers Sustainable
Options for All

December, 2008

San Francisco, CA -- Returning to the Bay Area for the seventh year, Green Festival, a joint project of Global Exchange and Co-op America, surpassed last year’s impressive attendance by more than 3,000. Kicking off the weekend with a revolutionary opening night, the “Word to the Mother {Earth}” event featured hip hop pioneers, including the legendary Chuck D of Public Enemy, and spoken word poets to celebrate social justice and environmental activism. For the first time in Green Festival history, New York Times best-selling author Dr. Cornel West addressed a packed house about the importance of hope in the green movement. Now in five cities nationwide, Green Festival is the world’s largest and most authentic green living show that walks its green talk with extensive green features including recycling, composting and carbon offsets for all of its energy use.

This year’s San Francisco Festival hosted over 150 visionary speakers, 400 local and national green businesses, and dozens of community and non-profit groups. Zakiya Harris, San Francisco Green Festival’s new regional director, assembled an all-star line-up to kick off the festival with the “Word to the Mother {Earth}” event. This Friday night show featured presentations from Chuck D., spoken word poet Drew Dillinger, and social justice pioneer Rev. Lennox Yearwood, among many others for a night of keepin’ it real and green. Dr. Cornel West made his first Green Festival appearance to an enthusiastic audience to mark the launch of his latest book, Hope on a Tightrope. Also new in 2008 was the Youth Unity Tent, a venue that provided a special enclave for the next generation of environmental activists to stretch their wings and learn about their future on the planet. On the final day of the festival, participants were treated to an authentic Native American dance presentation from the middle of the show floor.

“The environment is finally part of the discourse surrounding the economy and Green Festival is striving to meet the needs of families, individuals, and business by providing solutions that are not only environmentally conservative but also fiscally innovative," said Kevin Danaher, Co-Founder of Global Exchange.  "This year’s impressive attendance demonstrates that green solutions are valuable to San Francisco residents and that Green Festival is able to provide attainable options for a diverse crowd. Green Festival prides itself on our ability to cater to such a wide audience.”

Green Festival stands out in an industry that is notoriously unkind to the environment. While many large events utilize excessive energy and dump tons of waste into landfills; Green Festival strives to be an exemplary model of environmental responsibility by reducing, reusing, recycling and composting. Along with the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and meticulous sorting procedures, 97% of all show waste was recovered at this year’s event. Festival goers also found other opportunities to reduce their environmental imprint by using alternate forms of transportation such as mass transit, walking and biking.

Efforts taken to reduce the event’s environmental impact include:

  • Dozens of “resource recovery stations” were placed throughout the space with volunteers helping participants with proper sorting of waste into recycling, composting and landfill categories
  • Volunteers numbered in the thousands, assisting festival participants with resource recovery, check in, directions, and everything in between
  • Event organizers worked directly with exhibitors to identify opportunities for material re-use, recycled and energy efficient fixtures, carbon emissions neutralizing and overall conversion to eco-friendly practices 
  • Plates and utensils used in the food pavilion were compostable
  • Green Festival provided safe disposal of e-waste (cell phones, batteries, printer cartridges, etc)

Now in its seventh year, Green Festival’s circuit includes San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Chicago and Washington, D.C. and saw combined attendance of over 125,000 in 2008. The next festival will in occur the spring in Seattle on March 28 & 29, 2009.  For the first time, Denver will host Green Festival on May 8 & 9, 2009 at the Colorado Convention Center. For full festival schedules please visit: www.greenfestival.org.

San Francisco Green Festival Highlights Included:

  • Nationally renowned speakers such as Riane Eisler, eminent social scientist, attorney, and social activist; Greg  Palast, New York Times-bestselling author and journalist; John Perkins, founder and board member of Dream Change and the Pachamama Alliance; Daniel Pinchbeck, writer and founder of literary journal Open City; and many more.
  • Better World Bookstore
  • Youth Unity Tent & Organic Valley Green Kids Zone
  • Socially Responsible Investing
  • The Fair Trade Café
  • Organic Beer & Wine Garden 
  • Eco-tourism and Eco-fashion
  • Community Action Center
  • Bike Valet
  • Live Music

About Co-op America:
Co-op America (www.greenamerica.org) is the national green economy nonprofit organization founded in 1982, providing the economic strategies, organizing power and practicing tools for businesses and individuals to address today's social and environmental problems. Its Green Business Network is the largest national network of businesses screened for their social and environmental responsibility.

About Global Exchange:
Global Exchange (www.globalexchange.org) is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world. Since its founding in 1988, Global Exchange has successfully increased public awareness of root causes of injustice while building international partnerships and mobilizing for change.

Green Festival Partners
Better World Books, Clif Bar, Greener Printer, Honest Tea, Microplace, bgreen, Organic Valley Kids Zone, Pangea Organics, Rainbow Grocery, Saybrook Graduate School, TS Designs, KPIX, CBS/CW, GOOD Magazine

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