Veterans of various ecological/green/hippie events will know that sometimes good intentions are not backed up by organisational skills. Like me, you may have consequently spent many agonising hours in line waiting for one of two Port-a-Loos. Yee-ha.
What a (literal and figurative) relief to discover that the Melbourne Sustainable Living Festival was organised by people who understand the importance of the essentials - bathrooms, food, seating, roaming guides and most importantly for the Australian audience, beer!
Held in central Melbourne at Federation Square and Birrarung Marr park, the Festival attracts both hardcore greenies and newbies just looking for a water-saving showerhead (and let's not knock consumerism here. If that's what gets bums on seats...). As the event attracted over 129,000 visits last year, this strategy is really reaching out to the community and creating change. Snaps!
Permaculture display around bike racks, with view over the Yarra to Melbourne landmark the Arts Centre Spire
A jaw-droppingly massive range of products and organisations were on show, from permaculture to RadPads to ethical investment to Indigenous media, and talks ranged from the joys of co-housing to consumerism and human trafficking. Impressive hey? Much-loved Ausssie greenie muso Paul Kelly and The Reverend Tim Costello, a religious leader who walks the walk, were standout participants.
Although only veg food was on offer (huzzah!) and I ate enough vegan Fritz gelato to require a little lie down afterwards, only one talk out of 300 was about the environment and meat-eating. I mean, dudes. Dudes. You know better than that!I
t wasn't all crushingly earnest soul-searching though: the Smoothie Peddlers cycled away to blend up juices and smoothies on stationary bikes -
Smoothie Peddlers - brightly bewigged and a-dor-a-ble
.... and in true Aussie style, the Good Brew Company brought along their delivery service - yes, they will deliver kegs to your party by bicycle! Rock!
Beer on bikes - it gets no better.
And to top it off, a free bike valet service encouraged human-powered transport all the way.
Bike valet facing Flinders Street Station. So, so sweet.
The Sustainable Living Festival stands out for its professional organisation, its appeal to both hippie and yuppie alike, and the sheer breadth of information available. Kudos for an event that's informative, fun, well-organised and without the traditional overload of tie-dyed cheesecloth!