Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Eternal Sunshine of the Solar Fest Mind

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Many of my life's attitudes and ideals were shaped during my hippie years in the 1960's and 70's. With the famous Austin music scene as a backdrop, my friends and I were hip to living a healthy, natural life--breastfeeding babies, growing our organic veggies, baking bread, walking or biking to our destinations as much as possible. Concerned for the environment, we lamented the rape of rainforests and proliferation of parking lots paved over paradise. We hated the oil companies and carmakers irreverence of alternate energy, even though gas was only 25 cents a gallon. Alas, through the years, main stream America develops into a fast food nation where convenience trumps good nutrition and conservation cramps our lifestyle. Subdivision developers are allowed to raze all the trees so families can buy houses on small, bare lots with gas-guzzling SUVs in every garage. Drilling, mining, logging and frakking, all continue at a furious pace. Flora and fauna species disappear, at an alarming rate, from the earth forever.

As things go, the last several years we've seen a resurgence in the interest for more environmentally-friendly living. Alternate energy development is on the increase and electric cars are actually on the market. Locally and globally, we've acknowledged the disastrous effects of disrespecting earth's resources. City-wide, we are developing more public parks and bike lanes and recycling programs have almost flourished. It made me smile that one of the TEDX San Antonio presentations was Red, White and Grew, a nonprofit which encourages and provides resources for home gardening aka "victory garden revival" as an economical and healthy solution to feeding your family.

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A couple of weekends ago, as I strolled through Solar Fest, I was reminded of those Austin days. It inspired me to get on my environmental soapbox and shine a light on a few of the exhibiting organizations and individuals who are committed to environmental issues and healthy living, some for many years, some new.

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Solar San Antonio: A nonprofit founded in 1999 by local icon and community activist Bill Sinkin, Solar San Antonio has evolved into the shining center of solar energy resources for our city. With Lanny Sinkin at the helm and a stellar staff, SolarSA is responsible for much of the development of solar energy in San Antonio. SolarSA hosts Solar Fest every year in May and is the go-to place all year round for individuals and business interested in going solar. But, you probably knew that already. Alamo Sierra Club: The Sierra Club is a nonprofit founded in 1892 by John Muir and others, originally to protect the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. For San Antonio and surrounding areas, the Alamo Group of the Sierra Club continues to seek sustainable practices, a clean environment and livable communities. They act on local community issues that affect our lives and environment.

Green Spaces Alliance South Texas: Again with the gardens, the nonprofit Green Spaces Alliance connects people who share knowledge and resources for sustainable community gardens. They have about 30 gardens in the network, probably one in your neighborhood. Green Spaces also works to preserve large parcels of land in Bexar County and educate the public on environmental issues.

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Clothesline Cleaners: A relatively new business which has already won a bunch of green awards including Editors Choice, Clean and Green at the Current. Clothesline Cleaners is the non-toxic eco-friendly alternative to old fashioned dry cleaning. Clothesline Cleaners uses no hazardous chemicals, nothing that dirties the air, contaminates the soil or pollutes the water. Use 'em! There's also a blog "Home Grown" online at the SA Current. And, remember to love your mother earth. For more from Laura Carter follow @LauraCarter or visit A Small Blog

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