When I walked into the Exhibit Hall at the Green Festival in downtown Denver, I wasn’t sure what would greet me.

There was this guy at the entrance to the Convention Center—is he a giant blue stalker?Convention Center Blue Bear Denver 2009

Once in the Exhibit Hall, I looked to my left and saw the booth for Sustainable Industries magazine, Sustainable Industries magazine, booth at Denver Green Festival 2009and I thought, That sounds like something I should read for Restoration Nation.

Restoration Nation is an idea I’ve been dreaming about for several years: How do we change the current “free market” economy to “an economy that restores”? Not that I believe the two are mutually exclusive, but the focus of the first is consumption, and the focus of the second would be restoration of lands.

I signed up to get the magazine, just to see if it would give me any ideas. And I went to see local author David Wann (Affluenza, Superbia!), whose talk, “Culture Shift: Creating a Restoration Economy,” sounded promising.David Wann at Denver Green Festival 2009

Wann gave his audience a lot of information, much of which I had heard before. Although he liked the name Restoration Nation, he didn’t answer the question two paragraphs up.

But the next two talks I wanted to see were canceled. I began to feel that someone was hexing my Green Festival. Hawkquest volunteer with owl, Denver 2009I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I’d expected. All the information and products presented at the festival seemed like a bunch of loose threads, and what I really wanted was to gather them together somehow into Restoration Nation.

But maybe that desire to corral all the disparate threads of what we call the “Green Economy” or the New Economy is misguided. Maybe a change in our idea of what the market should do (which is what Restoration Nation requires) need not come from one direction. Maybe Restoration Nation already exists. After all, isn’t this the kind of thing I’m looking for?Beetle Kill pine products

Only I want an entire economy of it. Maybe the website I want to set up should just ask questions, since that’s all I seem to do.

There was a lot of stuff at the Green Festival exhibit hall. I couldn’t keep track of the sustainably made purses and hemp clothing lines (though I intend to check out Vital Hemptations) and books and even these to-go containers (the button says “Reduce Your Forkprint”: To Go Ware at Denver Green Festival, 2009

I found it fascinating and, ultimately, exhausting. And about that time I remembered one of David Wann’s lines: “Green overconsumption is still overconsumption.”

But I bought the 83% organic lotion from Boulder anyway.

Leave A Comment

  1. Denveater May 5, 2009 at 7:15 am - Reply

    I dunno, those to-go containers look a bit 19th century. Anything wrong with a good old Welcome Back Kotter lunchbox?

    Denveater’s last blog post..Aroma Cafe & Grill: Hey, it doesn’t stink at all! To the contrary…

  2. Beth Partin May 5, 2009 at 9:41 am - Reply

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a lunchbox, but it may not be leak-proof. You’d have to use another container for soup, for instance.

    Or you could just keep the to go containers that aren’t Styrofoam and reuse those. The problem is remembering to take them with you to the restaurant.

    Beth Partin’s last blog post..Green Festival in Downtown Denver: What Up?

  3. BernardL May 5, 2009 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    How was the turnout, Beth? I like the blue stalker picture.

  4. Sean May 5, 2009 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    There is no question that the green economy is going to be the next great driving force in innovation, economic growth and job creation.

    The directory at http://www.greencollareconomy.com has over 3000 businesses that are creating green collar jobs today and a job board with hundreds of green jobs currently available.

  5. Beth Partin May 5, 2009 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    Thanks, Bernard.

    Well, the turnout didn’t seem to be huge Bernard, but there were quite a few people there. The one lecture I attended had between 50 and 100 people in a much larger room. There were a lot of people in the Exhibit Hall, and I’ll bet the keynote speakers drew large audiences.

    Beth Partin’s last blog post..The Capitol Building on Denver’s Capitol Hill, Part I

  6. revivingemma May 6, 2009 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    I feel like the Green Fest is a bit ridiculous. The fact that it was sponsored by Xcel energy should make most people skeptical. While Xcel goes on and on about renewable energy they are still over 90% dependent on fossil fuels.

    I like what you are saying about restoration nation. But I think we need to realize that to restore the land we need to stop consuming so much. That falls in direct conflict with the premise that a healthy capitalist economy must have continuous growth. Hence the fact that you saw a lot less reduce, and reuse than recycle. The fact is you can reuse the stuff you have in order to reduce what you buy. Then recycle whatever else you can. But recycling alone will not save or restore the earth.

  7. Beth Partin May 6, 2009 at 1:24 pm - Reply


    that issue is one I think about often. We do have an economy based on consumption, so what happens if we move away from that? Even if we do so gradually, it seems logical that the transition will become difficult at some point. In order to get through the transition, I think we would need a lot more social support than we have now, especially with regarding to moving people out of jobs that are based on consumption and into something else.

    I think recycling could do a lot more than we give it credit for. If we got to Zero Waste (which is a principle of Eco-Cycle, a local recycler), that would be a huge step. If we were recycling all our electronics and converting human and animal waste (in the case of factory farms) into energy without causing pollution, there would be less need to mine to get resources.

    But, for recycling to really work, serious conservation is needed.

    Beth Partin’s last blog post..Crazy About Denver: Views from the Daniels and Fisher Tower

  8. John Lennon May 7, 2009 at 3:25 am - Reply

    Remember, this is new to a lot of people, and it takes a lot of education and time to come up to speed like every other learning experience

  9. Beth May 7, 2009 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    John, thanks for stopping by. It does take time for things to change.

    Beth’s last blog post..Downtown Denver Restaurants: Bayou Bob’s

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