This article originally appeared on Treehugger, who is partnering with Green Festivals this year. Green Festival is celebrating its 10th year and is kicking off April 9-10 in San Francisco. Global Exchange members get in FREE! Not a member? Take advantage of our special Green Festival membership rate of $25.
As we go into our tenth year, these parties-with-a-purpose have now reached more than one million people, inspiring them with green/eco alternatives to the nature-destroying corporate model.
This year we are expanding to New York (April 21-22), and Los Angeles (October 29-30), so if you know people who we should be in touch with–either for our Host Committees or to speak or exhibit or volunteer at the events–please let us know. Our next Green Festival in San Francisco is happening November 12-13.
Our combination of green enterprise and radical education has struck a chord with the hippest people — those who are trying to be good ancestors by creating a sustainable economic model to ensure that our grandchildren will not inherit a burnt cinder of a planet.
The green economy is the only sector that tells people: “consume less, and consume consciously, instead of unconsciously.” We are not so naïve as to think that we can “buy our way to salvation.” But people do have a number of basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, health, and fun! And it is better to meet these needs by supporting enterprises run by people who share our values of social justice and environmental restoration.
Yes, there is green-washing out there. But consumers are increasingly hip to companies that cannot back up their green claims with tangible proof. And the great thing about Green Festival is that we use Green America’s standards for social and environmental responsibility to screen all of the exhibitors – so there is no green-washing at the Green Festivals.
Those of us promoting fair trade and the green economy understand that we possess a market advantage over the mainstream corporate products. Each product we sell is actually two products: the product itself and the story of who produced it – what company stands behind the product — and how it was produced. Whereas the model of the big corporations is to hide their impact on workers and the environment, the green companies treat workers, the environment their communities and their customers as stakeholders with them in creating a better future.
Plus, there is a simple supply-and-demand factor working in favor of the green economy. As natural resources get depleted, the profitability of saving resources and developing renewable substitutes goes up. So we are seeing a steady shift of capital, policy and jobs in a green direction. Sure, the system is not shifting as quickly as we would like it to, but it is shifting nonetheless.
Those of us who have a radical critique of capitalism as practiced by the transnational banks and corporations are in the best position to redefine enterprise in a triple-bottom-line direction. For 22 years now, my organization, Global Exchange, has pioneered the non-profit enterprise model, subordinating profits to social justice and environmental restoration. In developing this new model of enterprise there are two questions that must be answered correctly: (1) In the production of your goods and services did you exploit people or nature?, and (2) What do you do with the profits, put them into your own pocket or put them back into the education work?
The ten years of Green Festivals have given us a large network of green companies and tens of thousands of grassroots supporters. So now it is time to build on this network to create a permanent Green Festival–GreenMart, the first eco-mall convergence platform that will be one-stop shopping for the green economy. If you are interested in learning more about this new venture, don’t hesitate to contact me at 415-255-2341 or Kevin(at)globalexchange(dot)org. Looking forward to seeing you at Green Festival this year!