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Why being an environmentalist means re-evaluating your dietary choices and part of why I decided to make the leap from vegetarian to vegan. It’s difficult to give up a lifestyle suddenly so we can all do our part by taking baby steps towards a more sustainable future by perhaps choosing a few meals per week to be free of animal products or even just choosing more local options as it is more eco-friendly to consume products which do not have to be transported far distances. [Picture from Veg Friend]

The Colorado River Alliance, a non profit associated with the Lower Colorado River Authority, had a booth at EcoArt Fest as well. I was really excited to see them here because I had actually been researching volunteer opportunities with the LCRA only a few days before! They had a cute game where you picked a number and had to answer a trivia question. My question was “What should you do with old water?” with answer choices of “pour it on a plant, pour it down the drain or chug it.” My correct answer of pour it on a plant earned me a cute little magnifying glass with the EPA logo. 

These ladies held a booth where they taught us how to make mandala designs. There was also the most AMAZING vegan, soy free, gluten free cardamom ginger cookies at the booth. If you aren’t familiar with vegan baking, let me tell you that getting the perfect consistency without eggs and butter can be quite the challenge. Julia Grueskin (pictured on the left) had the perfect consistency-which after talking to her makes sense since she is a vegan chef! Julia also teaches yoga as well as art. Elly van Laar (pictured on the right) teaches compassion, mindfulness and communication. Don’t you just love their animal ears? So fun!

Karen Kampe of K-Glass is a local Austin artist who creates handmade one of a kind glass jewelry. Her display at EcoArt Fest was absolutely gorgeous, not to mention Karen’s heart of gold as she bestowed a beautiful hand blown caramel colored glass necklace to one of the EcoArt Fest’s MC’s who decided to spend his birthday volunteer at the festival. Visit Karen’s Etsy to view more of her beautiful designs.

Elena Colon, representing Tender Heart Foundation, had a beautiful array of Indian goods, the sale of which would profit education efforts for women and children in rural India. 

According to their Facebook:
The Tender Heart Foundation provides support for Tender Heart NGO, an organization working towards the educational and socioeconomic development of the underprivileged rural communities on the outskirts of Faridabad, the capital of the state Haryana in Northern India. We work by advocating and raising awareness of the cause and need for such programs, creating partnerships, fundraising, connecting international volunteers and providing a fair trade marketplace for underserved artisans in the women’s empowerment group.

Tender Heart NGO provides primary education, special needs education, after school enrichment education for children from the neighboring slums and a women’s empowerment program for rural women. The NGO was founded in 1995 by the current director, Renu Bali who has been serving tirelessly with a mission to overcome poverty and exploitation, providing a pathway to a successful life and happy livelihood for all. The organization is fueled by human compassion and the motivation to serve others for the good of all humanity.
Tender Heart NGO is the inspiration for the Tender Heart Foundation of Austin, TX to serve as a partner organization providing support and more importantly working on a larger scale to seek out and serve the underprivileged, creating a global community of activists who are sustainably working for the greater good.”

EcoArt Fest 2013

Yesterday I had the pleasure of volunteering at annual EcoArt Fest held at Austin Eco School to celebrate the culmination of Growin’ Together summer camp. 

I had been looking for environmental volunteering opportunities in the area when I happened across this event on Facebook which looked to be promising: environmentalism, art, education AND a festival? Sign me up! Which is exactly what I did without knowing how fun I would have. I met a wonderful group of passionate people all dedicated to sustainability and educating children who will be our future. 

The playgrounds at the eco school!

Here are some of the projects the kids made in summer camp:

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