Fourth Energy Fair on horizon Aug. 13-14

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-111462261810144.jpg’, ”, ‘Charles Hopkins’);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-111462545419041.jpg’, ”, ‘Hunter Lovins’);

It’s time to mark calendars for the Fourth Annual Illinois Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Fair. The fair, held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 13 and 14, offers something for everyone. The first three fairs focused primarily on renewable energy. While a few workshops and exhibits covered lifestyle, it was not a major focus. This year, sustainable living will receive top billing along with energy. Ideas for food, gardening, personal care, household items, office supplies and home improvement supplies will be presented.

Outstanding keynote speakers include Hunter Lovins, Charles Hopkins and Ralph Bronner.

Lovins, formerly with the Rocky Mountain Institute and recent founder of Natural Capitalism Inc., is a world-renowned expert on energy efficiency. She is a co-author of numerous books, including Factor Four with Ernst von Weizsacker and Amory Lovins and Natural Capitalism with Paul Hawkin and Amory Lovins. Both books focus on reconciling ecological and economic goals. “We must . . . live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world is good for us (Wendell Berry).” Lovins’ presentation will focus on energy efficiency.

Hopkins, a member of the faculty at York University, Toronto, was an aide to Maurice Strong in planning the 1992 UNESCO Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The document that resulted, Agenda 21, adopted by countries representing 98 percent of the Earth’s population, was “the principal global plan to confront and overcome the economic and ecological problems of the late 20th century.” Hopkins now coordinates the UNESCO program, which facilitates networking between environmental and sustainable development programs in cooperating universities throughout the world. His presentation will provide a global perspective on general trends in energy and environment and educational efforts to clarify these situations to students and teachers.

Bronner is vice president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, well known to campers, canoeists, and people interested in pure ingredients with no animal testing. His father, the original Dr. Bronner, fled from pre-Nazi Germany in the 1920s and later founded the company in the U.S. It was recognized by Co-op America as a prize-winning ethical firm with generous employee practices and philanthropic giving. Bronner will amaze visitors with his life story and amuse them with his songs.

Other speakers will address diverse topics. Using renewable sources of energy, including solar electricity, space and water heating, wind power and biomass will provide basic understandings. “How we did it” and “how to do it” workshops will interest do-it-yourselfers. Changing lifestyles and voluntary simplicity will be offered as alternatives. Opportunities for agriculture will be included. Earth-friendly architecture and “green” building materials will be of interest to those considering building or remodeling. Home energy efficiency will offer insights to those trying to reduce energy bills in homes, schools and churches. Alternative vehicles should interest everyone.

Children’s activities will also be offered again this year. Cooperative games, solar activities and solar oven construction will be featured.

Again, area musicians will entertain visitors each afternoon.

Nearly 100 (at current count) exhibits will provide a variety of information. Volunteers will assist with the myriad tasks associated with such a large undertaking. Additional exhibits and volunteers are still welcome.

Major sponsors are the Clean Energy Community Foundation, Commonwealth Edison, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and The Rock River Times.

From the April 27- May 3, 2005, issue

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