'Green' expo to go beyond hippie fest
The Sierra Club will take part;so will developers, utilities and governments.
By JON WILSON
Published April 16, 2006
ST. PETERSBURG - Living "green,'' in essence, means living within one's means - individually through community and even global levels.
A St. Petersburg organization with countywide reach intends to show consumers how the idea works June 17-18 at the Coliseum.
The Pinellas Living Green Expo also will give businesses a chance to show off products that are environmentally friendly and help people save money around the house and on the road.
For example, hybrid cars - powered by both gasoline and batteries - will be on display.
Organizers want to dissolve notions that the event will be a festival for stereotypical tree-huggers.
In a media release, they tout a diverse group of participants who don't always agree on environmental matters. Developers, utilities, local governments and groups such as the Sierra Club and Audubon Society are taking part.
"In some places, these events have been more of a hippie fest. That doesn't change anything. Some folks may have a good time doing that, but if you are going to change lifestyles, you've got to change the buildings we live in, the vehicles we drive, how we use the water,'' said Karl Nurse, who is on the event's steering committee.
Nurse also is president of the Council of Neighborhood Associations, where the idea for the expo originated.
"My hope is that we can do something that over time changes our community. Because I don't see signs we're going to solve our situation out of Washington,'' Nurse said.
The expo is the biggest project CONA has undertaken, said Steve Plice, a veteran neighborhood activist who is serving as the event chairman.
Pinellas Living Green Inc., the nonprofit group putting on the expo, spun out of early discussions.
Two months before the event, 48 of about 70 vendor slots have been taken, Nurse said. Fifteen informational sessions have been scheduled and 13 are filled, he said. There is time left for vendors or presenters to sign up.
Solar energy, drip irrigation, native plants, healthy home-design products, more efficient air conditioning and lighting units, and environmentally friendly paint will be on display.
"We want to reach consumers, we want to reach vendors. It's a chicken and egg sort of thing. If the consumers realize the benefits for them, they will demand products. If vendors see the demand, they'll supply the products,'' Plice said.
Demand is already on the rise, expo organizers say.
Nurse said some vendors of green products turned down the chance to make an expo appearance "because they have enough business already.''
Those who attend the expo will get in free. Exhibitors pay a fee.
For more information, visit www.pinellaslivinggreenexpo.org.
[Last modified April 16, 2006, 08:27:24]
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