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‘Happy Hour’ Goes Green

By RICHIE DAVIS Recorder Staff

[ Originally published on: Tuesday, February 19, 2008 ]

Drinking of ''grasshoppers'' or Midori cocktails like ''The Grinch'' will be purely optional at the first in a monthly series of ''green drinks'' events Wednesday in Greenfield.

You can think of it as a down-to-earth ''happy hour'' to explore what renewable energy is all about and ways to take better care of the environment.

The series, which opens this Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Hope and Olive in Greenfield and will be hosted by a different ''watering hole'' the third Wednesday of each month, is the brainchild of Turners Falls filmmaker Carlyn Saltman, who helped create the EarthThrives.com Web site as a way to get people to share stories about saving energy.

After a November panel discussion about vital downtowns, it seemed like a way to foster discussion of ideas about energy conservation and the choices we make, she said.

''There's no shortage of projects,'' she said, ''but there is a shortage of cross-fertilization among various groups and perspectives. This is meant to be informal and enrich people's thinking and decisions.''

The idea came from Green Drinks International, an umbrella group for an international collection of informal gatherings around the planet — including Northamp-ton, Pittsfield and Great Barrington. Those events, described online at www.greendrinks.org are intended for ''people who work in the environmental field,'' but the new Franklin County series recognizes that we all work — and play — in the environmental field, whether we know it or not.

''This is a place for people to ask questions in an open-minded way,'' said Saltman, who hopes the series will bring about greater understanding among ''neighbors and colleagues we don't usually get to talk with about these issues. … Just open-minded, open-ended conversation.''

The second session is also planned at Hope & Olive, March 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with future postings listed on the Greenfield Business Association Web site, www.greenfieldbusiness.org

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