The academic approach to "greenness" is giving way this weekend to a series of workshops, exhibits and seminars that puts a nuts-and-bolts slant on what people can do right now to husband resources, go easy on the environment and leave a legacy for future generations.
It's the Four Corners Green Living Expo, the first of planned annual presentations of the latest products, services and information about being green. All activities will take place at the La Plata County Fairgrounds - from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Proceeds benefit the Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado, a nonprofit that promotes collaborative solutions to the wise use of resources.
Two speakers are scheduled Saturday. Rob Dietz, executive director of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy, is on at 11 a.m. He will explore the difference between economic growth and economic well-being and talk about shifting from growth at all costs to a prosperous but nongrowing economy. Dietz has an undergraduate degree in economics and environmental studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in environmental science and engineering from Virginia Tech.
A panel discussion about the local economy will be held at noon.
Randy Udall, a renewable-energy advocate from Carbondale and brother of U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, will speak at a 6:30 p.m. reception. Udall's keynote address will explain how a green economy affects Colorado and what can be done locally in order to not be left behind.
Builders who incorporate green practices such as low-energy lighting, solar panels and nontoxic materials in their work, will be prominent among the more than 50 exhibitors, as will installers of solar arrays. Another category of green worshippers includes businesses such as Ultrasteam Professional Cleaning and Restoration Service that recycles cardboard and plastic, uses nontoxic and plant-derived cleaning agents, pays extra for its La Plata Electric Association power to promote development of alternate energy and has a carbon offset for its fleet of vehicles.
Participants in endeavors that perhaps aren't readily associated with the green movement also will exhibit at the expo.
•Carrot Juice is a line of children's organic-cotton clothing designed by Heidi Craw. Craw makes T-shirts and infant garments bearing an ink print of a vegetable. She will share a booth with Joanna Tucker of the Rocky Mountain Children's Factory. Tucker's garments are made from certified organic cotton or bamboo fiber. Bamboo fiber isn't organic, but the plant, the fastest growing on Earth, replenishes itself quickly and naturally.
The term organic tells buyers that no heavy dyes or bleaching were involved in producing the cloth, Tucker said.
•Perhaps the exhibitor who could turn most heads is Thrive Chiropractic. Trapper Niccum, the principal in the practice, views chiropractic as philosophically in tune with green tenets in that it allows the body to function in harmony with nature.
"If there is no interference in the nervous system, the body will work the way it was designed to," said Niccum, who, in addition to making muscular or skeletal adjustments, incorporates exercise, diet and massage in his treatments. "The body is capable of healing itself."
Among Saturday workshops will be presentations about solar energy, straw-bale houses, electric vehicles, composting, lowering the energy bill and green homes. The Durango Discovery Museum will have an interactive educational program for children.
The list of Sunday workshops includes green maintenance for fossil-fuel engines, natural construction that goes beyond stick-built and, again, the Discovery Museum program for children.