Monday, June 13, 2011

Great environmentalist comes to Greentopia @ Rochester, NY


It’s been a long time coming, a concerted effort of many volunteers, and it’s shaping up to be one of Rochester, New York’s premier events—Greentopia.

The Greentopia Festival is the primary fundraiser for the GardenAerial project. And, it’s happening at the High Falls section of Rochester, NY on Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, the 18th. It’s a festival like most Rochester festivals—except greener, where thousands are expected to arrive, enjoy, and then depart in a very environmentally- friendly way.

Greentopia is the combination of two words: ‘green’ and ‘Utopia’. Of course, ‘green’ means ‘sustainable,’ which means our way of living gets to make it into the future. And, Utopia comes from Sir Thomas More’s 1516 book Utopia. However, Greentopia is not “an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system” - Wikipedia. Existing in a sustainable way is not an ideal, a fantasy, or simply a good idea. It is the very definition of being practical because there is not really another (survivable) choice. You’re green or you’re gone.

Besides a myriad of events, music, displays, and great speakers, we are contemplating a “Greentopia Bridges Bike Ride” that will weave hundreds of bicyclers across about seven bridges to the festival grounds. You’ll have your bike parked by a bicycle valet and then watched in a designated area while you enjoy the festival. More on this ride as it develops.

At this moment, we are excited that the great environmental speaker, writer, leader, and creator of Bill McKibben has agreed to speak at this festival. We just found out.

Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning with The End of Nature in 1989, which is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign, which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. Time Magazine called him 'the planet's best green journalist' and the Boston Globe said in 2010 that he was 'probably the country's most important environmentalist.' Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, he holds honorary degrees from a dozen colleges, including the Universities of Massachusetts and Maine, the State University of New York, and Whittier and Colgate Colleges. In 2011 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. McKibben will be joining the Greentopia Festival via Skype on September 18th at 3:30pm in the WXXI Studios in the High Falls District.

One of the reasons for bringing Bill McKibben into Rochester, NY for a discussion on Climate Change is that too often this issue tends to be discussed in a silo, where those focused on this issue talk amongst themselves and not to the public. Greentopia provides a festive public arena for area residents to engage in a crucial conversation within a community experience hitherto unknown in our region. Don’t forget, Climate Change is coming to Rochester and there are many Likely Changes that it will bring to our region. We are going to have to adapt to the changes and mitigate any further damage to our delicate environment by limiting greenhouse gases.

What we will learn is that we cannot just place our faith in Climate Changer heroes like Bill McKibben to solve this problem for us, but Bill will help us understand why this issue is so important and display the kind of leadership Climate Change is going to need.

Here’s the skinny: “The festival will feature visionary speakers, live music, vendors and the finest fresh organic and local food our area has to offer. Most importantly, Greentopia will be a festival of ideas to empower everyone to create their own positive change on this beautiful planet we all call home.” News from Greentopia Festival

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