Earth Day Dallas, the brainchild of Trammell S. Crow, began in 2011, as a way to help educate residents about sustainability and eco-friendly solutions. That first event featured 265 exhibits and nine speakers spread over five blocks of space.
Earth Day in Dallas has done a bit of growing since then. So much so, in fact, that the event now is called Earth Day Texas, and it is the largest annual environmental exhibition in the world. The Earth Day Texas festival is put together each year by a nonprofit of the same name, and aims to bring together and share innovations, discoveries, policies, research practices, and all manner of environmental solutions for sustainability and progress.
This year, the event will be held in over 1,000,000 square feet of event space, will host 1,600 exhibits, have more than 266 speakers, and its programming will span three days.
“One of the primary goals of Earth Day Texas is to raise awareness about environmental issues, solutions that exist, and to highlight what many people in many segments of our society are doing to move the needle in a positive direction,” says Jerry Hess, CEO of Earth Day Texas. “There is ever-growing enthusiasm for this positive, solutions-oriented event.”
Earth Day Texas 2016 will be held April 22 to 24 at Fair Park in Dallas, and will be composed of meetings, panels, speakers, events for kids, art, and interactive displays, conferences, and food and drink. There will be a sustainable food market, a showcase of “recycling robots,” a solar car challenge, and panels on recycling, food waste, and pollinators.
“One of the primary goals of Earth Day Texas is to raise awareness about environmental issues, solutions that exist, and to highlight what many people in many segments of our society are doing to move the needle in a positive direction.” _ Jerry Hess, CEO of Earth Day Texas.
Friday night will feature a celebrity-attended ticketed fundraising gala and film series.
“The exhibitors and sponsors are really the heart of the event,” Hess told me. “These are the environmental nonprofits, businesses, government agencies, and academic institutions that are there to share their story about how they are making a difference. They inspire and encourage attendees to get excited and to make more sustainable life and business choices throughout the year.”
One of the most interesting features of this year’s Earth Day is Earth Tank – an idea Trammell S. Crow came up with during a brainstorming session and asked Hess to implement.
This initiative is a collaboration between Earth Day Texas and the Dallas Festival of Ideas, based loosely on the popular TV show Shark Tank. Environmental nonprofits are invited to submit a proposal for evaluation by a panel of judges.
The judges will include folks from national environmental groups as well as five experts from the Dallas Festival of Ideas. Earth Tank seeks projects that have a related positive impact on the environment as well as one of the five city focus areas: entrepreneurship, education, health, literacy, and downtown or suburban jobs.
“We are very interested in the idea of tying environmental quality to the visions for the future presented at the festival — and in creating a forum to support sustainability and conservation projects that demonstrate how those efforts support the success of other important initiatives that may seem disconnected from environment quality at first blush,” Hess told me.
The submissions deadline for Earth Tank is March 25.
Submissions will be reduced to a small group of finalists, who will present their ideas to the judges during Earth Day weekend. Prizes of $3,000, $7,000, and $15,000, depending on group revenue, will be awarded. Hess expects that Earth Tank will become a recurring feature of Earth Day Texas.
Says Hess: “An important goal of Earth Tank is to encourage and support conservation and sustainability work that is making an impact, while also increasing awareness for how environmental thinking and action can both support and help us reach all types of visionary goals.”
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