Community Notebook: Palo Alto teens organize environmental event

Green Fest aims to provide community with simple ways to go green

Learn about Palo Alto's water sources (and restrictions), digitized carpooling and how to pack eco-friendly lunches at Green Fest, a free, environmentally focused festival to be held on Sunday, Aug. 30.

Green Fest is being organized by Project Enybody ("eny" stands for "Earth needs you,"), a group of Palo Alto teenagers committed to raising awareness of and fighting climate change. Project Enybody started as a school project in 2013, and grew into a full organization that has been funded by the City of Palo Alto's Bryant Street Garage Fund for the past two years.

The group's members spent the summer working with the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce to organize Green Fest, to give Palo Altans small-scale, easy-to-implement hacks that can make a big environmental difference. The festival will focus on food, water and transportation, with games, activities and a panel discussion planned for the day.

Representatives from the Palo Alto Farmers Market will discuss the benefits of buying local, provide recipes and food samples and host a trivia game (with prizes). LunchBots, a Palo Alto company that makes reusable stainless steel food containers, will talk about packing "green" lunches. Zero Waste Palo Alto will host a "sorting relay race" and talk about residential composting.

Representatives from the Tuolumne River Trust will be at the event to talk about Palo Alto's water sources and the drought while the Palo Alto Utilities Department will share information about the city's water restrictions and how to conserve water.

At 3 p.m., panelists Peter Drekmeier (former Palo Alto mayor and director of the Tuolumne River Trust); and Kevin Carly and Karla Dailey of the city's Public Works Department will discuss their fields of expertise and answer questions.

The idea for Green Fest was, surprisingly, born at Palo Alto High School's homecoming dance. Project Enybody founder and Paly student William Zhou was talking with Chamber of Commerce Executive Director of Leadership Dawn Billman, who was volunteering at the dance, about the drought and "how someone should do something to educate both parents and students on the severity of climate change and what they can do," Zhou wrote in an email.

"We both had experience hosting events and saw this as an opportunity for us to really help our community and planet," he continued. "Often times, adults lead teens, but the Green Fest meetings were cool in that the adults and teens were equal. We brought our different perspectives, and really worked together to plan the event."

Project Enybody members and Chamber of Commerce staff met throughout the summer, developing what they hoped would be a fun event with broad appeal and actual impact.

"I think Palo Altans know and care about climate change, but just may have not found 'green habits' that work or fit for them," Zhou said. "With Green Fest, our goal is to expose people to lots of simple ways to be green whether through our booths, activities, or sharing with one another. We want every person who shows up to leave with at least one thing they can easily implement into their typical day."

GreenFest is sponsored by: the City of Palo Alto, Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, LunchBots, Palo Alto Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, Canopy, Downtown Palo Alto Farmers' Market, Mike's Bikes, Grocery Outlet, Acterra, Zero Waste and Cream.

The event will run from 2-5 p.m. at the Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. For more information, go to

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4 people like this
Posted by moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 24, 2015 at 11:01 am

Karma points to these enterprising young people. >> Do not be dissuaded from your path, no matter how challenging it may seem. We need you.

Like this comment
Posted by moi aussi
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 24, 2015 at 12:32 pm

Thanks to William and his corps (including adults)! Should be a fun and valuable event for so many reasons. Thank you Project Enybody - clearly our future is in good hands, hearts and minds - but we need eny and everybody's!! See you Sunday!

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