Archive for May, 2010

Carnaval 2010 San Francisco – Sexy for Sure But It Could be More Green

Monday, May 31st, 2010
Carnival San Francisco - Green Section

Carnival San Francisco - Green Section

Carnaval here in San Francisco may not be as sexy, rambunctious or famous as its counterparts that take place in Rio or New Orleans but that doesn’t mean that the 2-day event doesn’t mean that the crowds don’t enjoy the fun, sun (the weather actually cooperated with glorious 80 degree SF weather) music and sexy costumes.

With all of the things going for Carnaval why can’t there be some added consideration given to making the event more Green. We did spy a plethora of compost and recycling canisters and the beer areas did utilize the non-plastic cups.  The event did have a small cluster of vendors dedicated to products or services at least slightly aligned with being somewhat progressive. Earthlust sold slightly dented reusable water bottles at a discount, San Francisco Vegetarian Society, Zip Car, Rainforest Action Network and some others. Sure these aren’t as sexy as some of the other venders but Green can be sexy as evidenced by some of the Hollywood A-listers creating Green events or supporting various green products.

Nos gusta gazing at the colorfully sexy costumes and gyrating to the various Latin beats but wouldn’t it be great to see some of sexy thinking combined with some Green ideas?

Maker Faire Draws Sustainable, Inspiring Inventors and Artists

Monday, May 24th, 2010
Mousetrap at Makers Faire

Mousetrap at Maker Faire

Unbelievable but true but this past weekend marked the first time that we attended the Maker Faire. True, in terms of numbers, we only stand a few behind those Makers who’ve made it there since its inception. Our Green posse scurried from the ingenious to downright crazy exhibits. For us Maker virgins, Donna our unofficial group leader for the day, mentioned that people might place this fair somewhere between Burning Man and Exploritorium. That description nailed it.

Why do we love this event and can’t believe that we hadn’t attended before? Not only did we encounter mad scientists of a sort but because almost every artist, scientist, inventor at the fair reuses, repurposes, and recycles other object to create art, cleaning robots, giant mousetraps, and transportation (mostly creatively built bikes).

Even the entertainment had a sustainable element with a solar stage but we caught the band Fossil Fuel at the Human Powered Stage where the bands powered their instruments and amps from bicycle powered generators. That way, we earned our music. Maybe people should try this with their TV so they would have some incentive to exercise.

Now, we can’t be sure about how sustainable it is to jolt 1,000,000 volts of electricity from two five foot Tesla Coils into a guy wearing a grounded metallic suit but the sheer spectacle of watching the long electrical arcs made us think how the electro guy might be able to creatively energize a small town.

Seeing all of the innovations like Algaelab which creates a personal algae photo-bioreactor and the not so practical but highly amusing inventions like the giant mousetrap made us believe that humans can still create mind-boggling inventions and art while not using up precious resources.

99th Bay to Breakers: The Sustainable Side

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
BP oil runners

BP oil runners

In the 99th installment of Bay to Breakers, the usual things occurred: the Kenyans as a whole flat out rocketed to the finish line (one female breaking a world record), the fog covered the course for most of the day and a lot of participants (not the runners) got totally trashed and created of lot of people in the local recycling business. But we’re not here to check out the usual, we’re here to check out any signs of Green going on of and off the course.

To be sure, the organizers and the City have a tough time creating sustainability for the thousands of runners but they seems to have gotten control of the recycle and compost aspects.  90,000 equals the number of recyclable water cups used per race (almost 6 miles of cups if placed end to end). And with all of  the beer and booze bottles, the recycling people had a bountiful day. In the media tent, they had the presence of mind to use compostable cutlery as well as cups but it would be nice to see more organic and locally produced offerings.

We might request the same thing from the Footstock area (which moved from the Polo Grounds much to the dismay and confusion of many participants where the vendors could offer more locally and natural offerings. We did spy some booths that did toss out all natural dog food (based in Novato) as well as West Coast companies serving up free samples of granola, nutrition bars and electrolyte beverages sans the artificial crap. We tried everything but the dog food.

As for the costumes (at least the ones that we saw), the BP workers dressed in oil splotched jumpsuits made the best environmental statement.

Next year the race turns 100, and with that mark, hopefully the race can incorporate some added greenness  that will keep the event going for another 100 years.

Social Justice Highlights the 53rd San Francisco Internation Film Fesival Gaolden Gate Awards

Thursday, May 6th, 2010
Director Lixin Fan

Director Lixin Fan

In the last days of the 53rd SFIFF we must attend the parties (oh yes, it is a chore) and awards ceremonies. Last night we milled about the Golden Gate Awards with lots of buzz, drinks, food and happy filmmakers. The under appreciated and deserving filmmakers stood in the spotlight and garnered more than just awards but cold hard cash. (That’s what indie feature and docu filmmakers need most).

Held at the Temple Bar which does more than the average bar/club and adheres to the People, Profit and Planet philosophy (but we wish that they would do away with the paper towels in the bathrooms) the Golden Gate awards spotlighted several films and filmmakers who created sustainable and socially responsible films. Among the big winners, Director Lixin Fan picked up an award for best Investigative Documentary (along with oh so welcome cash) for his intriguing and visually stunning Last Train Home which highlights the story of a group of migrant factory workers on a taxing holiday trip back to their small village in modern China. It offers a stirring look at social justice and the dichotomy of modern versus old school China life.

The film beat out other feature documentary contenders including: Colony, where two Irish directors (Ross McDonnell and Carter Gunn) investigate the mystery of the vanishing bee colonies in California’s Central Valley and The Investigation of Dr. Nakamats.

In a nod to festival award recipient Roger Ebert, here’s a thumbs up to films that don’t have to resort to 3D to tell a story.