Green Fest shows future of Georgian sustainability

Brittany Walker

Last week, Green Fest was held on the courthouse lawn. This sustainability-themed festival had a wide variety of vendors and displays and a great turnout. There were workshops to build rain barrels, compost bins and home weatherproofing. Exhibitors ranged from local businesses to student organizations and everywhere in between. So in terms of participation, the event was definitely a success. But the event was also a success in other ways. Green Fest exemplifies how Statesboro understands that sustainability isn’t just about a healthier environment. Sustainability is also crucial for healthy businesses, individuals and communities.

Since environmentalism has become more and more prevalent over the years, South Georgia has not had the best reputation for being a sustainably minded place. Whether it has been because of politics or lack of citizen action, I feel that Georgia in general has lagged behind in this area. Events like Green Fest show that tides are turning, at least in Statesboro. One of the interesting things about Green Fest is that a corporation played a key role in making the event happen. Gulfstream, a very successful business aircraft corporation, sponsored Green Fest. Gulfstream has been heavily involved in sustainable initiatives, sponsoring events like these and the Savannah Ocean Exchange. It is great example of how profit and sustainability go hand in hand for good business.

In my view, a flaw of the traditional environmental campaign model was to doggedly go after corporations and businesses, demonizing the role they play in harming the earth. Some of them deserved it, yes. But smart companies understand the need for sustainability, and smart environmentalists understand the power and potential in teaming up with them. This link between business and sustainability was also shown on a smaller scale at Green Fest. Twelve of the exhibitors were local businesses displaying their own sustainable practices, helping dispel the myth that environmentalism is bad for business.

There is always more progress to be made, but events like Green Fest and the immense improvements for sustainability at Georgia Southern show that positive changes are well underway.