ShareThis Page
More A and E

FutureFest at Phipps Conservatory aims to make green mainstream

| Thursday, April 23, 2015, 9:13 p.m.

Picture this: A world with a thriving and healthy environment, clean air and water, abundant resources and less pollution.

That is the world of tomorrow as environmental advocacy company Communitopia sees it. On April 25, as a weekend celebration of Earth Day week, the organization will put on FutureFest on the front lawn of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

The event includes displays, art, performances and hands-on activities promoting the theme of environmental preservation and combating climate change — all in an effort to show what people can do to make a positive impact in their lives.

FutureFest, a free event, will have an eco-friendly art market, a display of energy-efficient vehicles, cooking demonstrations, a scavenger hunt, information on gardening practices, solar-energy demonstrations, food and drinks, and musical performances by local acts like Misaligned Mind.

“This is a way for people to envision what a clean-energy future looks like,” says Joylette Portlock, president of Swissvale-based Communitopia. The company uses new media and project-based campaigns to slow climate change and create healthier communities. “It's very refreshing for me to present this information in a way that's going to be unequivocally fun.”

At FutureFest, Phipps will offer a pot-a-plant activity and a display about vermicomposting, a process that uses earthworms.

FutureFest is a perfect fit at Phipps, says Emily Kalnicky, director of science education and research at Phipps.

“Part of the mission is to promote sustainability through action and research,” she says, adding that visitors should learn a lot at FutureFest while enjoying themselves.

“The idea is for individuals to come away with a lot of positive ideas for things that they can take home and take to their work,” she says.

Communitopia conceived FutureFest as an event timed around Earth Day to promote its mission of “making green mainstream,” Portlock says.

“We're trying to give these messages in an ... engaging and empowering way,” she says. “In keeping with the overall mission, we thought it would be great to reintroduce the idea of a clean-energy future in a fun way around Earth Day.

“For too long, Earth Day has been a holiday for the environmentalists,” Portlock says. “We really wanted to make a fun, accessible and educational, but empowering and engaging, event for people to come to and learn.”

While environmental issues, particularly regarding climate change, can be highly controversial at the political level, learning to live in an eco-friendly way shouldn't be a divisive practice, and everyone should care about preserving the Earth, Portlock says.

“We all have a stake in this claim,” she says. “We all need to be trying to work together to find collective solutions to our problems.”

Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at kgormly@tribweb.com or 412-320-7824.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me