The overflowing composting bins have been sent back to the earth. The hemp clothing pushers have moved on. The copious free samples of Clif Bars have sadly disappeared until next year. But the green glow from this weekend’s San Francisco Green Festival still lingers.
Here's my take on the Best of the Green Festival. I road-tested nearly every booth so that you didn’t have to. Or maybe you were there too, in which case I’d love to know what you thought sizzled or fizzled.
Kwytza ChopStick Art. Who said chopsticks were just for sushi? In one of my favorite finds of the Green Fest, Kwytza recovers chopsticks from restaurants and turns them into works of function. Folding baskets (they fold up), place mats, trivets, and more. Loved them. They make for some truly chopstick-fabulous gifts. The pictures on the web site do not do these beauties justice. www.chopstickart.com
Hip & Zen. It’s hip to be green, but how can you be green and still hip? Take your cool eco-self over to Hip & Zen and be pleasantly surprised by their fashionable eco-friendly items. Beautiful Deborah Lindquist recycled cashmere sweaters, cute Ecoganik fashion pieces made from organic cotton, fair trade jewelry, and a plethora of gorgeous bags like the intricately-beaded handcrafted African mohair purses. It’s Neiman-Marcus meets Namaste. Almost. www.hipandzen.com
At the Hip & Zen booth, I fell hard for the chic Escama bags made from recycled aluminum pull pop-tops. These hip metallic evening bags are hand-crocheted by a woman’s cooperative in Brazil. Definitely going on my Holiday Wish List.
Green Guru. Green dudes and gear-heads. Your eco-weekend warrior wish has come true. Recycled Blow Out inner-tube wallets and inner-tube bags were flying off the shelves because they were heavy-duty, waterproof, and downright manly. Also on display were colorful Billboard messenger bags made from recycled highway billboards. Ridiculously eco-cool. Coming soon are recycled PET products and gear for adventurous goddesses, i.e. females. All made in the USA in a sustainable way. www.greenguru.com
Green To Grow. Baby bottles that are free of toxic phthalates and free of bisphenol A (a hormone-endocrine disrupter) for parents who want peace of mind and a healthy baby. Very cute logo too. www.greentogrow.com
Tree-Free Paper. I am on a hunt for the best tree-free and recycled papers and found two strong candidates at the Green Fest. Nepalese paper is handmade in Nepal from Lokta Bush, an evergreen shrub that grows in the mountains above 6500 feet. And Nepalese Paper was very clear that their goods have been fair trade for 11 years, unlike some of the new “nepalese paper” products coming on the market made by forced slave labor in Tibet by China. Beware.
It was hard to tear me away from the Green Field Paper Company booth. They had such a fantastic selection of beautiful eco-friendly papers including 100% post-consumer recycled paper with embedded seeds (plant it and watch it grow), hemp paper, and paper made from junk mail that is surprisingly pretty with specks of color. And Holiday Cards galore. One clever and popular design said Joy on the front with a recycled symbol for the O. The new Partridge Grow-A-Note card was a total sell-out. Junk Mail Joy is not to be missed. Spread the eco-love this season with beautiful green-fabulous holiday cards. Hallmark, eat your heart out.
Side note: I learned the disturbing fact that there is no longer a recycled paper pulp mill on the West Coast. The paper that is recycled in California is being sent to China for processing. China. On boats. To bring recycled paper costs down, we need to convert recycled paper to useful products on local American soil.
ChicoBags. I had a blast with the ChicoBag team who were actively promoting their ingenious ChicoBags. They fit into your pocket, purse, or palm of your hand, and they come in their own nylon case. The perfect solution to the Plastic Bag Ban in San Francisco going into effect on November 20. Hooray! More details coming soon about the celebration hosted by ChicoBags at 111 Minna on the big bag day. The famous Bag Monster will be in full costume. www.chicobag.com
Green things that make you go huh.
First was the Save A Snowman organization. It was pitched to me as “we save melting snowmen and put them in an orphanage.” Huh? I thought I was smelling snake snowman oil, but then learned that their real mission is to educate children in a fun and creative way about global warming. Students can adopt a snowman (comes complete with cute pictures of a non-melted snowman) and the money goes back to greening the school. Great! Many schools need help with greening. Kids can even go on a snowman building fieldtrip. It’s a creative idea that would only fly in late 2007. I still have not determined exactly where the chilly orphanage is exactly, but this brand new organization is worth a click. www.saveasnowman.org
Next up (or down) was the paper made out of 75% Sri Lankan elephant dung from Mr. Ellie Pooh. No joke. The booth was packed with the non-squeamish and the brave. Once I stopped cracking up, I learned that this linen-like paper is helping to reposition the endangered elephants in Sri Lanka as economic engines, rather than agricultural foes to be exterminated. That is a good thing. Cards, notebooks, stationary, pretty gifts, even the popular Elephant Dung Paper Poo Pads. You heard it here first. Dung this. www.mrelliepooh.com
Hordes of people gathered on Friday to listen to wellness pioneer Deepak Chopra on the main stage. Deepak was in rare form, wearing red rhinestone glasses and groovy tennis shoes and clearly channeling Elton John. His words of wisdom transcended the boundaries of mind, body, and spirit. They are one, and wellness follows. And the boundaries of the green movement and the world peace movement. They can be one as well. And we are all ultimately connected to each other and to all of nature. He imagines “humanity at peace, every person wholly nourished and actively compassionate, Mother Earth and her atmosphere nurtured.”
One intriguing Deepak statement: "your consciousness
is your soul and vice-versa." When you feel most conscious, you are most in
touch with your soul. I think he could
be right. Ambitious scientific reductionist theories of consciousness have
always left me cold and uninspired. Meditate on that one, and get back to me.
Ohm. And visit Deepak’s new Alliance for a New Humanity.
The engaging Paul Hawken was on deck for some Blessed Unrest. I spoke with the folks from WiserEarth afterwards. Imagine if all of the 2 million environmental organizations on the planet could connect and collaborate. That is the wise dream of WiserEarth, and it could ultimately turn the whole world into one giant Green Fest and save the planet.