Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Fair June 23-25

You tentatively approach the gas station with a whine from your fuel-neglected car and raise one squinted eye toward the billboard announcing the price for the day and “blam-o,” a giant boom rattles in your brain—not an explosion really, but a realization of sorts. Gasoline really is a finite resource—and we really are running out!

But you do have other options out there, and they will all be at the Energy Fair. June 23-25, the nation’s leading renewable energy experts will gather in Custer, Wis., for the 17th Annual Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Fair and talk about options and what everyday people can do now to effect change.

Hosted by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), the Fair offers more than 100 workshops presented by experts from across the U.S., working demonstrations of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, and products that help consumers save money, save energy and protect the environment.

Workshops cover a variety of topics, including: photovoltaics (solar electricity), wind systems, water and hydro electric systems, energy efficiency and passive solar buildings, green building materials, heating and cooling, transportation and fuels, sustainable lifestyles, issues and activism, gardening, landscaping and others. The Fair also has a special set of workshops taught by women for women, workshops for educators, and workshops and entertainment for children and families.

This year, the Fair will feature three incredible speakers who will hopefully shed some light and provide hope about our energy future.

James Howard Kunstler, author of the nonfiction book, The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of the Oil Age, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century, will speak Saturday June 24, about the sweeping economic, political and social changes that will result from the end of access to cheap fossil fuels and provide hope for change.

J. Drake Hamilton, the Science Policy director for Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy, will talk Friday, June 23 about global warming and cost-effective energy solutions.

And Billy Parrish, the founder of the Climate Campaign and co-founder and coordinator for Energy Action, will focus on the emerging student and youth clean energy movement and what young people have done to change the current energy climate.

New this year, the MREA introduces the Clean Energy Car Show—a demonstration and workshop area dedicated to alternatively-fueled vehicles—from ethanol, to biodiesel, to veggie oil and more—and car-free options.

Not quite new, but definitely grown this year, is the Power Up! Students for Renewable Energy program. The Power Up! Students for Renewable Energy program may look like a simple tract of workshops specialized for young adults and non-homeowners, but it is so much more. A group of dedicated and energetic young people created the program with workshops and events that would give their peers the best education on what they can do NOW to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, and to become green consumers and activists. There will be workshops, demonstrations and a job fair—which will give students and young people a basic idea of what it takes to get involved in the renewable energy and environmental fields as a professional.

The Fair has something for everyone, and who knows, you may just find the solution to the oil crisis!

For more information about what will be at the Fair and to register, contact the Midwest Renewable Energy Association at (715) 592-6595 or check out their Web site at for children’s activities where they can participate all weekend.

From the June 14-20, 2006, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!