Good vibrations doused my soul this weekend as I meandered around the booths at the largest green festival in the nation. Every year San Francisco beckons the eco summit into it’s open arms for a weekend full of world renowned speakers and green business eager to spread their ideas, wares and community consciousness.
With my flip camcorder sadly on bed rest I hit the concourse floor with camera in hand to capture the highlights and bounty of expert green living tips for you. Green enthusiasm and ingenuity dripped from the ceiling beams onto my eager head. Even with such positive vibrational energy an undertone of urgency for change hovered in the atmosphere. We have a lot of work ahead of us people, so lets get rolling…
About GreenFest: Think of Green Festival® as a walk through a sustainable community. It begins with finding solutions to help make our lives healthier—socially, economically and environmentally. Individuals along with business and community leaders come together to discuss critical issues that impact us at home and abroad. Organizations and businesses showcase programs and products that restore the planet and all that inhabit it. Neighbor-to-neighbor connections are formed, and skills are shared to empower people to create positive change in the world.
The Most Shocking Fact and Actions To Take Today: There are a gazillion green tips out in the world ranging in impact level. I wanted to ask the experts what people can do in their every day lives that will make the most significant impact on the degradation of our planet. Here’s what I learned…
The Fact: Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars. Livestock now use 30 per cent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 per cent of the global arable land used to produce feed for livestock. In a nutshell it’s the poop, the methane gas, the land use and deforestation, the hormone/antibiotic use and run off, the spread of disease to humans, the amount of suffering, and the exploding demand for more meat that is wreaking the most havoc on our planet and bodies.
1. Eat less meat. Try to cut back to once or twice per week. Embody the flexivore lifestyle, by picking and choosing which animal products you consume. Example: Munch only fish and forgo dairy.
2. Learn where your meat comes from. I’m currently reading Eating Animals by Johnathan Safran Foer, that covers one man’s three year quest to examine and reveal the true colors of the meat/dairy industry in the US. The reality of what we are eating and how it’s raised is shocking to say the least. I could list about a hundred fantastic books to read on the subject. Stay tuned for that list!
3. Go vegetarian or vegan. Diets rich in plants provide all the nutrients you’ll need, though there is constant debate over vitamin B12. The Mayo Clinic offers a nice breakdown of how to cover all your needs as a veg head.
My Story: I was raised on a lot of animal products. Eggs for breakfast, deli meats on sandwiches for lunch, a hunk of meat for dinner with a few sides. Pile milk and cheese on top and let’s just say I hated vegetables until I was in high school.
How I’ve Changed: I drizzle soy (minimal use now), almond or hemp milk in coffee or on granola. No diary and occasional eggs for breakfast. Once or twice a week I’ll have sustainably harvested raw or cooked fish. The largest portion of my meals consists of a rainbow of veggies. A complete reversal wouldn’t you say!
Shopping The Green Market Place: Like a pinball I bounced from booth to booth drooling over innovative healthy green living products. The entreprenurial spirit of these small businesses was an inspiration! Below are the companies who blew me away with their sustainability practices and stellar products. A few had me running to the nearest ATM.
Nada Chair: Made from organic hemp and cotton this strappy contraption is your perfect posture buddy. It takes the strain off your low back and hip flexors by doing the work for you. Build core strength, breath easier, stay more alert and digest properly with a tall spine. As a pilates instructor I adore this product. It would make my job a lot easier!
: I have been dying to get my hands on one of these stainless steel lunch boxes for years. I happily hugged my To- Go Ware Lunch Box along with my sweaty yoga mat while perusing the market. I used it for the first time today to tote my salad to the pilates studio. Stephanie Bernstein, founder of the Berkeley based To-Go Ware was a doll. She’s a yogi and expert wellness chef. Loved chatting with her!
Om Gym: Climb in for some inversion therapy and a deepening in yoga poses. I’m not sure how effective this contraption is but I loved swing around in it!
For the kids…
Planet Box: This fun sustainable lunch box company just partnered with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution to help transform our nations child obesity epidemic. The kids at the festival swamped the table to play with building their own veggie packed lunches. Brilliant!
I had to break for lunch at Lydia’s Organics…
You might have seen Lydia’s raw and organic line at a health store near you. I love her granola and breakfast cereals. The spirulina raw bar rocks my world too. I was stoked to see a full kitchen in the booth. I chose the nori and chard wrap combo with nut pate and side salad. Yumm…
Acupressure Mat: A bed of needles never felt so good. Acupressure/acupuncture is known the world over to reduce stress and tension, increasing blood circulation, aide in the removal of toxic wastes, providing relief from head, neck and shoulder aches, promote healing, increase energy levels, and feelings of well-being. The acupressure mat craze began in Sweden and has taken the world by storm. Covered in 6,000 plastic spines, you can lay, sit or stand on this mat for instant tension or pain relief. Of course I had to give it a go.
There are about a thousand brands making this product now. The most highly rated brand out of Europe is the Tibetan acupressure mat. After five minutes of laying on the mat a rush of energy surged through my nerve network and warmed me to the core. Next on my must have list for sure.
Final Thoughts:Though I missed some of the incredible speakers like Alice Walker and Amy Goodman, I soaked up as much green love as possible. It’s festivals and events like these that unite and empower us all. The problems the Earth faces are daunting and overwhelming, discouraging many of us from taking responsibility for ourselves or bolder actions. The change must begin with the root, the individual, but working together is vital.
Educating and spreading ideas and inspiration to you all is how I take my green living to the next level. I just joined my local Friends of the Urban Forest organization as well! Will be planting trees in urban neighborhoods throughout San Francisco within the week!
How can you start greening your life today? Shoot me your favorite green tip in the comments!
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