I had a good time at the Green Festival yesterday, sampling gluten-free cookies and listening to bullshit-free speakers. Amy Goodman talked about (among other things) the media having hundreds of stories on the recent coal mine disaster without ever mentioning that the mine owners, Massey Energy, are notorious union-busters. All the safety regulations in the world won’t help you if you don’t have a militant union to see that they are enforced. She also talked about the Wikileaks secure site for whistle-blowers to leak information to, including the video from the US helicopter that killed two Reuters employees in Iraq in 2007
Hunter Lovins, whom I hadn’t heard before, talked about companies that have saved millions of dollars by cutting waste and wasteful use of energy, which helps the earth while helping their bottom line. She said Wal-Mart not only changed to LED lights in their display cases, they made them motion sensitive, so when nobody was looking in the cases, the lights were off. The kids immediately discovered this and happily ran up and down the refrigerator-case aisle. And still the electricity bill was way down. Happy kids = more customers, energy savings = more profits, and this is what corporations listen to, not global warming talk.
I missed Anna Lappé’s talk about her new book, Diet for a Hot Planet, because I was wandering around the booths and lost track of the time. I like the title, though. There was a kids activity area and of course I checked it out. At a table with large bugs and insects in terrariums, folks were offering critters to hold, so I put out my hands and received an African millipede. (Not my hands here—photo from Jon Fouskaris at http://www.petbugs.com/caresheets/A-gigas.html)
I wanted to hold it because it was nearly the size of a brown one we’d seen in Costa Rica that I hadn’t dared get near, not knowing if it was poisonous.
In one of the central areas people from Green America, one of the festival’s co-sponsors, were making videos of festival-goers talking about what they do to be green. I sang a song I had written for the first Earth Day back in 1970, when we were in Vietnam. They will be putting it up on their website, and I’ll link to it in a future post.
Don’t buy detergent, lick your plate,
Don’t buy soda, drink your whiskey straight,
Don’t buy a paper, use your library,
Do your bit for ecology.
Don’t use a tissue, sniff instead,
Don’t use a napkin, use a piece of bread,
Don’t flush the toilet every time you pee,
Do your bit for ecology.
Now think about defoliant spray.
We are dropping umpty tons a day,
So try to stop the war if you want to do more
Than a bit for ecology.
©1970 by Nancy Schimmel
This was the first time Green America and Global Exchange put on an April festival in San Francisco in addition to the one in November, and it was less crowded. Not as good for the exhibiters, but a relief to me. People were so squished into the fall festival it was hard to walk around. There are festivals coming up in Chicago May 22-23, and Seattle June 5-6.
The limerick word the other day was “eloquent.” I riffed off another limerick writer’s phrase, “silver-tongued” and wrote this:
Now that "person" includes corporations
We'll hear them on all TV stations
With ELOQUENT spiel
Though their tongues are not real
And the silver's in campaign donations.
--Nancy Schimmel
©2010 by Nancy Schimmel
(How did it get to be 2010 so soon? I’m still not used to 2000.)
You can get good old wooden blocks at Reach and Teach, as well as books, CDs and games for teaching diversity and green living. I hung out at their booth a lot at the Green Festival, because they carry my CD, yes, but mostly because they are such welcoming folks.
Sunday, April 11, 2010