An important omission has been made from this article in The New York Times--Remy Chevalier, whose name is not mentioned, has been instrumental in the creation and growth of Fairfield County GreenDrinks, particularly concerning the funky and fun event last month at Pirate.
The omission was unintentional, and not performed by the writer and photographer who covered the story.
Hi. Buy You a Drink? Save the Planet?
By WENDY CARLSON
Published: January 20, 2008
IT was a typical pub scene at the Pirate Night Club and Restaurant in Norwalk on a recent evening, except that the banter around the bar was about bamboo, not baseball, and the drinks were green in the organic sense.
“The environment is on a lot of people’s minds,” said Heather Burns-DeMelo, 37, the founder of Fairfield County Green Drinks, a social networking group of eco-minded professionals, which held its fourth monthly meeting here on a recent Wednesday evening.
On this occasion, the mixer drew about 100 people, uniting a wide range of environmentalists, including business executives, members of the Green Party, carpenters, chefs, makeup artists, architects, fashion designers and schoolteachers.
Ms. Burns-DeMelo, the editor of the Hartford-based AllGreen Magazine and the Web site CTGreenScene.typepad.com, said she learned about Green Drinks International when she was working as a freelance writer covering environmental issues.
The organization, which now has 309 chapters worldwide, began in 1989 in a London pub with an impromptu gathering of eco-conscious fashion designers.
Seeing a similar need in Connecticut’s green business community, Ms. Burns-DeMelo started a Fairfield County chapter in October, then helped organize a chapter in Hartford. The two groups now have a combined mailing list of 9,000. Next month, they will gather in Westport.
The events aren’t just about networking. “It’s really a think tank with the environment as the common denominator, and I have seen a little matchmaking going here, too,” Ms. Burns-DeMelo said.
Entrepreneurs mingled with activists, swapping business cards, parading products, ranging from organic juices to photovoltaic backpacks, and trumpeting eco-themed services. The organic wine and spirits flowed.
“What I love about GreenDrinks is that I get to talk to people who aren’t all architects; it’s like cross-pollinating,” said Andrew Zumwalt-Hathaway, 38, a sustainable-building consultant with a Norwalk company.
He held court at one corner of the bar extolling waterless urinals. Using gel filters instead of flushing water means less bacteria growth and less smell, he said.
Darek Shapiro, a Stamford architect and sustainable-energy consultant who ran for mayor of Stamford on the Green Party line, was touting the efforts of Clean Water Action, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group that is lobbying for a bill to support financing and tax breaks for low-income households to better weatherize their homes.
“Instead of the state giving money to people who can’t afford to pay their heating bills, the state should cover the cost to better insulate and weatherstrip their homes so their heating bills are affordable,” Mr. Shapiro said.
A newcomer to Fairfield County Green Drinks, Herster Barres, 74, a retired United Nations forestry expert from Mystic, held two seedlings aloft as he maneuvered his way through the crowd. He came to spread his cause, Reforest the Tropics Inc., a climate-change initiative to plant fast-growing trees in Costa Rica to offset carbon emissions.
Upstairs in the nightclub, the dance floor was filling up. A younger set of environmentalists, several in army-green coats and T-shirts, swayed as Brian Howard Clark, 28, the Home and Eco-Tips Editor for The Daily Green, a Hearst web magazine, spun vinyl from his vintage collection. And the organic wine flowed on.