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On the prowl for an eco-job? Looking to make sparks fly with an eligible green god or goddess? Recruiting for a conservation project in the community? Simply looking to connect and converse with like-minded folk? If you responded "yes" to any of the above queries, attending a green networking event may be the solution.

How to attend green networking events

  • So where to start? As eco-consciousness expands across the globe, green networking events have become more and more common. Unless you're active in your local green community, eco-events aren't going to exactly fall in your lap—keeping your green fingers on the pulse of what's going on locally is important. Involvement in an online community or reading green blogs is helpful, as they often host or promote live events. The Ecopalooza Green Events Network, Zerofootprint, and Ecobusinesslinks are fine places to commence your search. And don't feel bashful if you aren't a dark shade of green. Driving a Prius, shopping at a farmers market, and having a green career aren't prerequisites for attending a green networking event. The purpose of these events is to expand your green horizons, no matter what your background.
  • Prep yourself appropriately for the occasion. What green concerns are on your mind? Environmentalism is the name of the game at these events, so if you want to chew the fat about sports or the latest episode of Lost, you may not get too far. If there's a guest speaker in attendance, brainstorm any questions you may have for them. And if you're networking with a potential employer, dust off that old CV and be prepared to talk business. And it goes without saying, if the event is vegetarian- or vegan-themed, you may not want to show up with a carton of chicken nuggets to nosh on.
  • Dress for success. Although many green networking events are for the most part informal affairs, if you’re attending for reasons of possible employment or affairs of the heart, it doesn’t hurt to break out the European suit or those heels reserved for special nights out on the town. Double points if you gussy up green-style, and don an organic cotton and bamboo blend dress, conflict-free diamond earrings, vegan flats, and a spritz of botanical perfume.
  • For greenies with romance on the mind, check out a green networking event that caters strictly to singles. The city of York in the UK has hosted eco speed dating events, while websites for the green and unattached like Planet Earth Singles sometimes host events.
  • Curious? Check out a one-off event. Although many green networking events take place on a regular basis in a static location, you can also attend a one-off event like an expo, conference, concert, or film festival to whet your green appetite. Green Festivals (joint efforts between Co-op America and Global Exchange) in Seattle, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Chicago, as well as global Earth Day events are some eco-opportunities.
  • Live in the green boondocks? Start your own networking event. Many communities host green networking events ranging from intimate to 100-people-strong. If this doesn't apply to you and you'd rather not pollute the atmosphere by driving three hours to the nearest event, start your own.
    • Before you begin, wrangle up a partner or partners in crime to help you spread the word, secure a possible sponsor, and decide if you'd like to keep your events eco-all-encompassing or opt for a specific green theme, like conservation or green business practices. If you reside in an agriculture-heavy area, making your events organic, small-scale-farming-centric may be the way to go. If you live in a small beach-front hamlet, focusing on marine clean-up is an idea.
    • It's also important to pick a locale. Many green networking events take place in watering holes that promote social lubrication and a lively atmosphere. A bar will certainly do the trick (especially one serving organic beers and local wines) and tempt thirsty denizens of the community. If that's not an option, consider the local community or conference center, church, school, library, the banquet room of a local eatery, or even your own living room.
    • Special guest speakers and VIPs (booking Al Gore or Leonardo DiCaprio may take some pull) can also be a draw for folks normally not interested in attending such an event. Consider inviting local sustainable business owners, a professor of environmental sciences from the local college, a spokesperson from a nearby recycling center, or the artisan who makes handmade botanical soap in her basement. The eco-minded are a mixed bag, so the more eclectic the better.
    • If you are hosting the event at a bar, consider perks like green drink specials (absinthe, anyone?) or a complimentary cocktail to those who walk, bike, or take public transportation to the event.
    • Edwin Datschefski, the founder of Green Drinks, (see Find it! below) welcomes queries on how to initiate a Green Drinks chapter in your area.

Find it! Green networking events

Attending green networking events helps you go green because...

  • They are prime opportunities to expand your green horizons and up your eco-cred no matter what your MO. Green networking events bring together a diverse group of folk—from green bloggers to community activists to sustainable builders to eco-entrepreneurs to members of academia to those simply on the prowl for a like-minded date. This mix of interests and agendas leads to a dynamic, diverse learning experience for all involved.

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Comments

07/17/2009
2:12am
EcoLarry

Thanks for the belated Ecopalooza Green Events Network heads-up in above article, "How to attend green networking events * So where to start?"! It would really be cool if you could also add us to the "Find it! Green networking events" list above. Thanks! Check us out on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Ecopalooza

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