Things I’m Not Going to Miss at SXSW Eco


SXSW Eco is where activism, science, business, and education merge. It’s my favorite component of SXSW, and it starts on monday, October 7th. I’ll post some updates here and we’ll be live blogging from the Fairey keynote, so stayed tuned… and, if you like birds or whatever, follow us on Twitter @B2Me2Biz @stupidgregg

This is my second year at SXSW Eco, I don’t attend for any business or professional purpose, I go to have fun and learn. If you’re seeking a serious, information-packed, intellectual perspective of this conference, go ahead and close this browser window, you won’t find that shit here. There’s a lot to see this year, but here are few of the things that I’m not going to miss.

Parties with smart people and free booze. There are a couple of official SXSW Eco parties, but there will be unofficial evening events with free access for attendees. If you get a badge, you’ll probably receive a few drink tickets for SXSW-sanctioned events, if you don’t want them you should give them to me #sustainability. The closing party will probably involve lots of free booze, no drink tickets needed.  These parties are far more tame than any other SXSW event, but they’re a lot of fun. You’ll be surrounded by EcoGeeks of all kinds, you’ll end up with a pocket full of business cards from people you don’t remember, and inspiring ideas that you can’t forget.

Movies at planet Earth’s most awesome film sanctuary, Alamo Drafthouse, at The Ritz, it’s a two blocks from the conference. I’m going to see American Meat  and Pandoras Promise. If you’re attending SXSW Eco, and you want to see either of these, you should request a physical ticket when you pick up your badge.

American Meat follows the lives of a few farmers who respect animals and the environment. Delicious animals and a sustainable environment. Pandora’s Promise was a hit at Sundance. Is it nuclear energy worth the risk? I can’t wait to see this movie. You can view the trailers here, American Meat and here, Pandora’s Promise

The Panels, keynotes and workshops are a lot like TED Talks, most are engaging, informative and very inspiring.  There are far too many interesting sessions for me to cover, but here are a few that I think you should see

Americans toss out $165B dollars in food every year. $165 BILLION. Every year. That’s 15 million barrels of good whiskey. Every year. I’m looking forward to hearing more about it in Addressing the Excess: Reducing U.S. Food Waste.

How to Futureproof Cities is a panel about the need for urban conservation and natural solutions to rapidly increasing challenges, like population growth and extreme weather. I think it’s like Sharknado meets The Walking Dead, but I don’t know much about those things, I heard that random references make you seem cool.

We are running out of water. That’s not some Chicken Little, alarmist bullshit, it’s true. I’m looking forward to learning more about our global water shortage and what we can do about it. Who Wins the Water? is as important to SXSW Eco as H2O is to humanity.

Years of Living Dangerously is an eight-part series that will air on Showtime next year. M. Sanjayan worked on the series, he’s going to discuss it, and give us a peek at some clips. Sanjayan is head dude at The Nature Conservancy, an ardent protector of our natural treasures.

Shepard Fairey is an immensely influential street artist and global philanthropist. You might not know his name, but you’ve seen his visually captivating art. Shepard created the iconic Obama “Hope” poster, which led to a copyright battle with the Associated Press. The AP lost a lot of points with me for that. Shepard’s keynote, Art – The Link Between Hearts and Minds is at the very top of my list. I expect this session to be as influential and inspiring as Shepard Fairey’s artwork. Don’t miss it.

Farming in South Central L.A., does NWA know about this? Tezozmoc does. No, Tezzo isn’t an Aztec god, he was the defender of a huge community food garden. When the garden was forced to close, HE STARTED A FARM, bitch!  That’s gangta’. As our population increases, residential development is causing a dramatic expansion of food deserts. We need urban farming. Food in the City: Designing a Healthy Future is sure to be a highlight of this year’s conference.

Adaptation: Managing the Unavoidable and Avoiding the Unimaginable: A title this thought-provoking can only mean one thing, climate change. I’m going listen to these liberal pricks regurgitate the lies of Big Science and its relentless attack on my omni-benevolent friend, Big Oil.

DJ Spooky (Paul Miller), is the first Artist in Residence at the NY Met, he’s a brilliant artist, and he’s returning to SXSW Eco to participate in a talk about hydraulic fracturing. The session is called What the Frack? and I expect to learn more about how low income communities and our environment get fuc.. I mean fracked over by this method of extraction. Flaming liquid isn’t just for cars and college bars anymore.

I really don’t like when people refer to any smartphone video as “film,” but Peter Ferris’ workshop sounds interesting. Get Your Message Out There Now: The Essential Guide to Smartphone Film and Documentary Making. The title is longer than any “film” that I have ever made, but I’m hoping to change that.

The closing party is a great chance to chat with some of the people that you came to see at SXSW Eco, but let’s focus on the most important part of a closing event, free booze. Yeah, there was an endless supply of free booze and snacks last year. This party jam is restricted to badge holders but, if you don’t have a badge, keep an eye on and follow @SXSWEco on Twitter. Last year they opened the party to persona sans badge after a couple of hours. Remember to bring some small bills so you can properly tip your fine, local, heavy-handed bartenders. Don’t be an asshole.

We’re in this together, whether you like it or not.


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