Monday, November 8, 2010

Green Festival

-Mary Rose LeBaron
Green Festival…and your official invitation to join a movement

Its all Happening!!! How many of us have had that exuberant feeling of glee and excitement? The feeling that everything around you is resonating on your own personal wave length, stopping you in your tracks for a few moments, filling your being with sheer gratitude?? My day at the Green Festival in San Francisco was this kind of day and I am still buzzing from the effects of the kindness and efforts of our fellow men and women to create a sustainable, just and peaceful world.

You may wonder what has me in such a tizzy? And why would one little green festival make such a big impression on this petite, blonde, former housewife, recently escaped from the urban blight of southern California?? I can answer that…It is simply this; Every life being on Earth is facing the same crisis and it matters to me. A crisis that is by our own hand. Our environment is damaged, but along with many other intelligent optimists I believe in the abilities and reasonableness of people to pull us back from the brink of extinction. I had the opportunity to hear some of our most prominent enviro-leaders speak about the work they are doing and paths they are forging for us.

Richard Register spoke on the importance of our built environment and the alarmingly sad fact that our car culture is keeping us trapped and beholden to Big Oil. I can’t do his research, knowledge and activism justice in one short blog here so please look him up. He is doing great work on building cities for people, not cars.

John Perkins, author of Hoodwinked spoke about how we are in the grips of corporate domination and that the next period must be OUR time. As individuals we may feel meek, but together our voices will shift the tide and break us free from corporate control.

If any of you are familiar with Annie Leonard’s body of work and her “Story of Stuff” documentary you will understand how planned obsolescence is part of the design to keep us in the endless loop of consumerism and ultimately aloneness. Consumerism is a common thread that binds us together and yet separates us. As a society we have shared in the pleasure of acquiring new gadgets, fascinated at new technologies and wanted the next shiny new one. Yet, this consumer culture separates us. Our society has been separating at the seams; a fabric getting thread bare.

If southern California taught me anything it was this; we buy and buy, seeking out a comfortable home to raise our children in, following our “American Dream”, going to work each day in our cars, driving for multiple hours a week to and from the office to provide for our children and selves in a way that we thought fit for such “deserving” and “upstanding” people as ourselves. Hmmmm, see the common word here? ….self. What I started to see and learn, thanks in part to a book called Deep Economy , by Bill McKibben, is that all this “self” thinking was coming at a cost, an astronomical cost to our society. The individualistic values that corporate America was dazzling us with had indeed effectively divided us into neat little bundles. Individual pods, our homes, separated by fences and huge garage doors, distracted by gadgets, video games, TV.

Here we were celebrating our individualism and greatness, yet forgetting what makes us feel great really was shared connections, building upon each others ideas to create things, to be a part of.

Friends, I want you to BE A PART OF with me. If you don’t know where to start, start with me. You can email me at and if you are not a spammer I will give you my phone number. We will get connected. It is that simple. We will not be divided. Our survival depends on us vitally renewing positive connections.

So there I was, program in hand and a copy of his latest book Eaarth, sitting in the front row with good company, (two nice ladies from Sunnyvale, also HUGE Bill McKibben fans) giddy with excitement to see the leader of the global groundswell environmental movement based on one number, 350. A movement such as this is enough to restore one’s faith in humanity. That’s what its really about for you and me. Let’s connect now, and make more connections. Can you feel that? Its togetherness. Our time here together may be limited so we are going to make the most of it, face this crisis together, share in the environmental solutions, take actions that are smart and beneficial to life on Earth, and resolve to not be separated any longer. I feel that wave rising, get on board, bring a friend! Its all Happening!!