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New group opens up green dialogue

Kristina Eastham, Of The Park Record

"One less car" was the message Carol Potter of the Mountain Trails Foundation brought with her last Wednesday to Squatters Roadhouse Grill. She came to network and socialize with other "green" Parkites at the first Park City Green Drinks meeting.

Park City recently become one of 290 cities worldwide to host a chapter of Green Drinks, a nonprofit, grassroots organization. And no, the drinks aren’t actually green.

Originally started in the United Kingdom in 1989, Green Drinks meetings aim to combine sustainability in business with socializing. The Park City chapter, organized by Mike Johnson and Genna Speno of ReDirect Guide, hosted their first event last Wednesday evening at Squatters.

"There’s no purpose to this except to meet and talk. Everything else is purely business or social. This is a blend," Johnson said.

Green Drinks attendees gathered informally in the bar section of Squatters Brew Pub, applied nametags and began socializing around 5:30 p.m. At the first meeting there was a good showing of people who work in Park City’s building and development industries, including Jack Johnson Company, EcoSteel and an Eco-Brokers. Johnson, who has attended Green Drinks meetings in other cities including Salt Lake City, said that each meeting brings out a distinct group of people.

"Different meetings bring out different people. Next time you come, you might meet different people," Johnson said. "Since it’s free and there are no rules, it grows organically."

Some came to spread a message and some came to learn, but everyone came to meet other like-minded Parkites, including Hans Cerny from the Jack Johnson Company.

"This is something that’s at the core of our firm and we want to be more involved. We want to be more linked to other people in the community who believe in the same thing," Cerny said.

Many understand that growth and development are inevitable in Park City and believe Green Drinks can open up a dialogue that includes sustainability as a goal.

"We’ve always been very sensitive to the land, as far as planning goes. Development is going to happen and we want to do it as sensitively as possible," Cerny said.

Conversations ranged from new developments in solar energy technology to the simple ways to save money on energy, while also saving the planet. The informality and flexibility of the event is a big draw for some, allowing people to drop into the laidback meeting. From now on, Green Drinks will meet on the second Wednesday of each month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Attendees are also encouraged to bring brochures from their organizations.

To subscribe to the Green Drinks e-mail list, contact parkcitygreendrinks@gmail.com. For more information on the organization visit http://www.greendrinks.org.


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