I recently posted about the upcoming Green Festival in San Francisco, today Treehugger throws a little rain on the parade by asking if such festivals aren't really just a bunch of people preaching to the converted. And if so, does the festival really live up to its marketing message that it is "building a movement"?
To be honest, my reaction to the first question is: "so what if it is?" People united by a common cause often need to occasionally come together, if for no other reason than to re-affirm their beliefs and re-ignite their passion. More power to them. And if you represent a minority viewpoint you do have to work a little harder to make sure the majority doesn't trample all over you. Showing up in force, whether for demonstrations or expositions, helps do that. It says, "we are here. We are a force to be reckoned with." Oh, and by the way, this one also says, "We have money to spend and will spend it in the right places."
I'm a big believer that the way you spend your money is your economic vote every day of the year.
As for whether the Green Festivals help "build the movement", well I haven't been so I can't really say. But I do know that is some percentage of attendees brings along a person or two who is not already in the fold, then the movement is being built. How else do such movements get built? Person by person.
I'm sure building such a movement is like sales or marketing: a numbers game.
Even I, a person more committed than most to causes, only respond to a percentage of the donation solicitations I receives, only sign a percentage of online petitions, only contact my Congresspeople a percentage of the time.
But if you don't keep providing the opportunities, and rely solely on proactivity? Well, the numbers will go down. That's human nature...easily distracted.