Envision Tucson Sustainable

October 26, 2014 |

sustainableSaddled with a name that is cumbersome at best, ambiguous at worst, an argument could be made there is no day-long gathering more important to our very survival as a species than the third annual Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival.

Yes, a bit melodramatic perhaps. But living in a world where essential resources such as water, food and energy are becoming painfully more finite, figuring out how we can sustain our way of life without depleting the dwindling resources around us is eventually going to have to become part of everyone’s consciousness. This is especially so should we hope not leave it to our children to deal with the excesses of political shortsightedness and environmental mismanagement.

Wow, more hyperbole, and yet – besides using a more energy efficient light bulb or rolling a blue recycling container in front of or behind the house once a week – how many of us really look to incorporate new ideas or technologies into our lives or lifestyles, that could really make a difference? This is the essence of the festival, which this year – by moving out of the traditional feel-good Reid Park bandshell and surrounding display area – is hoping to facilitate a much more engaged experience combining educational talks, displays and workshops with many hands-on opportunities.

As one of its organizers, Greg Wetzel acknowledges, “The first two (festivals) were very humble. We feel this one will be different because having it at the Y, with its courtyard, conference room and back areas will help make it more of a community expo.” And indeed the expansive YWCA on Bonita Street just west of Downtown, will provide a completely different feel and more contained environment for the variety of speakers, exhibitors and Do it Yourself (DIY) areas.

In addition to asking the public to begin thinking (or thinking more in-depth) about what “sustainability” means and what it might look like, the festival will also serve as a showcase highlighting many activities around sustainability that are already going on within our community. Things such as composting, solar, organic gardening and water harvesting will all be a part of the festival. New ideas such as energy economics and sustainable business models will also be on the agenda.

For sustainable ideas in transportation, the Tucson Electric Vehicle Association will also be on hand with a selection of electric vehicles, answering your questions and providing perspective on the viability of such vehicles. In celebration National Co-op month, the Food Conspiracy Co-op is collaborating with a cluster of business cooperatives to talk about and share information on the variety of cooperative business models

This year’s festival will also recognize the next generation of sustainability leaders. According to its press release, Envision Tucson sustainable will again honor a school and its enthusiastic kids that integrate raising food and building green skills with classroom learning. This year’s award winner is Manzo Elementary School, which has also been honored nationally as a Green School of the Year. The University of Arizona’s Students for Sustainability are also working with the festival to make this a UA campus collaboration with the community.

Local and native foods will also be on display in a food court for purchase, which will of course feature non-GMO options. The YWCafe will be open, selling organic coffees and aquas frescas. Local musicians throughout the day are set to provide a soundtrack for the event.

True to its mission, the festival will also be practicing what it preaches by leaving the Y with a newly planted 30’ x 30’ garden plot that is going in on Saturday, Oct. 18 – the week before the Sunday, Oct. event. According to Wetzel, “We have to leave something behind that’s sustainable.”

The Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival takes place on Sunday, Oct. 26 at the YWCA, 525 N. Bonita Ave. from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information visit EnvisionTucsonSustainable.org.

Category: Community, Events