Green and Pretty Thrifty

The air was abuzz with all things earthy and green, as the 10th Annual Green Fest got rolling this week-end at the San Francisco Concourse.  Messenger bags made from recycled car tires?  Check.  Or, how about jewelry made from decommissioned, non-radioactive nuclear systems?  Yes, this and much more could be purchased at this year’s Green Festival.

We asked one of the festival attendees, Claudia, who has been coming to the festival since its very inception, what she thought was really ‘hot’ in the world of green this year.  “Chia!” she said.  “They’re seeds that are packed with more anti-oxidants and Omega 3’s than anything, so they’re good plus they’re so good for you!”

Over at the “Wear Your Veggies” booth, Leslie Beia explained how she started her own t-shirt company using vintage botanical prints and organic shirts decorated with vegetable dye out of a simple love of vegetables.  Her veggie-friendly shirts were being lovingly displayed in re-used vegetable baskets. 

And, while they don’t always eat their vegetables, this year’s festival was noticeably kid-friendly.  Flow, the Water Woman, wearing a bright- green flowered swimming cap led a long line of eager eco-friendly toddlers in a parade around the grounds.  But, it didn’t stop there.  Many of the exhibitors were enlisting the ‘next generation’ of eco-conscious citizens in the cause, as rows of booths filled with organic cotton kids’ clothing and non-toxic toys filled up the event.  And, in the “Green Kids’ Zone” performers with puppets asked the rapt audience of youngsters what they could do to prevent climate change.  “Take the bus!” one child chimed in.

The adults were having some fun of their own over in the organic beer and wine garden, and the inspirational fusion sounds of Gregory Joe Bledsoe and the Source of Light got the crowd swaying over at the Music Stage, while the scents of veggie Thai curry and hot ginger elixirs  wafted throughout the room.  

I must admit that with over 125 speakers on a breadth of subjects, it was hard to decide who to listen to first, but The Fabulous Beekman Boys drew a large crowd by regaling their audience with tales of “The Bucolic Plague” – or how two Manhattanites became gentleman farmers – and they did it with such aplomb, all the while wearing rubber waders.   

Literally, your entire life could become Greener in a big way by embracing just a few of the environmentally-friendly ideas promoted at the Green Fest.  One noticeable change this year was the increase in the amount of educational institutions manning booths and offering everything from “the green MBA” (Dominican University of California) to certificates in sustainability (Presidio Graduate School).  

It was clear that there was no “green-washing” here – a term referring to products selling themselves as “green” and “natural” but not necessarily regulated as such.  The products exhibited in the over 300 vendor booths were the real deal, with only the truly organic and recycled on display.  A good reminder that it’s important to look for concrete terms like “organic” and “recycled” when making a buying decision, since these types of products are more closely overseen by the Federal government and are verified on the product packaging. 

By simply thinking before you make a purchase on everything from the type of candles you burn in your home (soy is Greener) to the brand of chocolate you eat (fair-trade and farmer-owned is better), you can embrace a Greener lifestyle and make a huge impact on our planet. That’s why attending a Green Festival is a great reminder of how many choices we have when it comes to buying products that are Green.  And, the Festival’s large attendance shows just how hungry the world is for information on how each of us can be more Green.

So, what does this have to do with thrift stores?  Because shopping at thrift stores just happens to be very a great way to recycle, participate in creative re-use and Be Green!  Do it for the planet.

And, while you’re at it, check out our friends at Thrifty and Green and find out more ways to live Green.  And, be sure to follow them on Twitter

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