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Weekend expo makes being green a bit easier

Spare your wallet and your conscience.

Published June 14, 2007


Green is splashing brighter on the spectrum.

More individuals and more corporations are embracing ideas associated with careful living for the sake of Earth and home, and this weekend's Pinellas Living Green Expo is expected to prove it locally.

The expo takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Coliseum and the Sunshine Center downtown, and it has already sparked a stronger reaction than it did during its 2006 debut.

For example, about 80 vendors are expected, up about 20 percent from last year, and most made their reservations six months ago, said John Bagg, expo chairman.

More volunteers to help put on the event have signed up, too.

"I think it's a subject whose time is coming. It's starting to get some attention," Bagg said.

The free event will provide information, ideas, resources, products and motivation to live a more sustainable life.

"We try to focus on things that will save people money," Bagg said.

Those things might include tankless hot water heaters, more efficient building supplies, solar-heated swimming pools and native plants that require less water, he said.

At least one hybrid car is expected to be displayed. They run on a combination of gasoline and electricity.

Another new wrinkle this year is the film-and-seminar venue, which has moved from the Coliseum to the Sunshine Center a short walk away -- 207 steps, said Bagg, who paced the distance door to door.

Seminars will run two at a time, each 45 minutes long, said Ray Wunderlich III, who is coordinating the presentations.

Ten films, including several rarely seen, will be shown, said Darden Rice, who is running that aspect of the expo.

Among them are Who Killed the Electric Car, Everything's Cool and Arid Lands, said Rice, a Sierra Club official who is one of the expo's founders.

The latter two films, independently produced, are on loan from Eckerd College. "It'll be an honor to screen these because they're not often seen in this area," Rice said.

The most striking change from last year to this may be the level of acceptance.

"People are coming to us rather than us going to them and selling the idea," said Steve Plice, a steering committee member.

Karl Nurse, another committee member who recruits the vendors, said this year he "probably worked 20 percent as hard to get 20 percent more vendors. It's as if suddenly the world is turning. As (green living) goes mainstream, the market gets much, much bigger."

An article published last week on the Internet questioned whether recent corporate involvement in environmental causes is a sincere effort, or as author Phil Mattera asked, is the interest "little more than a new wave of corporate greenwashing?"

Asked, two expo officials said the corporate interest is welcome.

"It's very powerful when big companies get on board," Nurse said, pointing out that Wal-Mart's push requires "green" packaging of its products.

Said Plice: "I think a lot of (the corporate green interest) is image-building, but so long as behind the image-building there's real change and it's not just whitewash, I think it's positive."



Pinellas Living Green Expo If you go

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Where: The Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N; Sunshine Center, 330 Fifth St. N.

Admission: Free. See

Saturday seminars


9:30-10:15 a.m. - Micro irrigation; rain barrel workshop

10:30-11:15 a.m. - Vermiculture; How Energy Efficient is Your Home?

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Care and maintenance of Florida native plants; Florida environmental history.

12:30-1:15 p.m. - Composting; green building, energy conservation and energy reduction strategies.

1:30-2:15 p.m. - Landscaping and gardening with Florida native plants; living with urban wildlife.

2:30-3:15 p.m. - Aveda: Environmental Beauty; How Energy Efficient Is Your Home?

3:30-4:15 p.m. - Creating a Wildlife Habitat Without a Jungle; Introduction to Permaculture - Designing for Sustainable Living.

Sunday seminars


10:30-11:15 a.m. - Solar power; growing a green company.

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - How Energy Efficient Is Your Home?; reducing residential pollution.

12:30-1:15 p.m. - Natural pest control; Aveda: Environmental Beauty.

1:30-2:15 p.m. - What Is Your Water Sense?; the Healthy Landscape.

2:30-3:15 p.m. - How Energy Efficient Is Your Home?; vermiculture.

3:30-4:15 p.m. - Available, Affordable, Green Construction for Florida; Introduction to Permaculture - Designing for Sustainable Living.


[Last modified June 13, 2007, 21:22:38]

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