Emma Parker | Nov 16, 2011
The San Francisco 10th annual Green Festival came to a close on Sunday night in what is being described as ‘a huge success’ by the organizers Green America and Global Exchange, @GreenFestival. As festival goers milled around the many free samples of sustainable food and shopped for fair trade Christmas presents, the main stage was packed with headline names in the environmental industry.
One of the most attended speakers was Frances Moore Lappe, who this year celebrates 40 years in the industry. Frances gave a rousing hour-long talk, explaining that the biggest problem today ‘is not that of global warming, but the global feeling of powerlessness’. She urged us to stop creating together a world that we as individuals would never choose.
The occupy movements were a hot topic throughout the festival, with Frances Moore Lappe and Rev Lennox Yearwood highlighting the astonishing fact that the 400 wealthiest people in the USA control more wealth than the bottom 50% of the population.
Rev Lennox Yearwood fresh off the plane from Washington D.C. talked about his participation in the movement to encourage Obama to say no to the Keystone XL Pipeline. He described that in the 20th century people participated in the movement for equality, the 21st century movement is for existence, nothing that has come before it is important if we do not manage to succeed, follow him on twitter@revyearwood.
Later on Saturday the keynote speaker Anuradha Mittal caused plenty of buzz with her talk on modern day colonization of Africa. She described how her organization ‘The Oakland Institute’ is discovering how a new era of land grabbing is sweeping across the continent of Africa. One of the most current scandals involves Bruce Rastetter, the well known Republican supporter and entrepreneur from Iowa, who is in the process of buying 17,000 ha of the most fertile land in Tanzania for $0.50 a hectare. Anuradha revealed that the Oakland Institute will be releasing a new batch of country reports on December 6th2011, don’t miss out on this release, follow them on Facebook.
It would be impossible to attend this festival and not leave with the feeling that action needs to be taken. Whether your battle is to recycle and compost your waste, combat the 1%, or pledge to help the people of Africa, the Green Festival left visitors feeling moved. Once you’ve been, you cannot stop going back and loyal festival goers who have attended for the last 10 years say the festival ‘just getting bigger and better’!
Who knows what the keynote speakers will be talking about in another 10 years, but we do know that the Green Festival is going to hit the east coast next. New York City will play host to the next set of inspiring keynote speakers on the 21-22nd April 2012 at Javist North.
Want to know what’s going on in New York at the same time as the festival? Need to find a good bar near by to discuss the excitement of the day? Check out the conference map for where to go!
About the Author: Emma Parker specializes in the green energy and biotechnology sector. Her work to date has been primarily in the environmental sector and international development in East Africa. Currently Emma is working as CFO of Forever Angels USA, a new not for profit working towards 501c3 status in order to increase support for a Tanzanian based orphanage.