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Earth Day NWA, the nation’s longest running consecutive Earth Day festival, will host the “ECO-Awards” from 6-9 p.m. on Monday, May 14 at Greenhouse Grille, located at 481 S. School Avenue in Fayetteville.  The event will feature food and drinks provided by Greenhouse Grille. The 2nd annual “Get Trashed” Fashion Trashion show by Chadd Wilson will take place during the event. A $10 donation is suggested.

 Mikel Lolley, Grand Poh Bah of Earth Day NWA, felt it was time to step up and recognize members of the community who are leading the way towards making the area more sustainable — “normalizing behaviors through positive affirmation, lots of gold stars for green behaviors,” said Lolley. “There has been a lot of talk in green circles for the need for some sort of green awards for raising awareness and providing modest incentive the necessity to change toward a more and more advanced sustainability.  We decided to stop talking and take action.”

According to Lolley, one of the primary criteria for nomination was selflessness—who has served in the best interest of the most people and shelved petty self interest in the spirit of promoting the cause of sustainability in each category.  The 48 categories for the ECO-Awards include: Best Green Business, Best Green Not-for-Profit Organization, and the Green Prix Winner, who will serve as the overall Green Will Ambassador for Fayetteville for the next Earth Day Calendar year.

Fayetteville has long been at the forefront of sustainability in Arkansas.  From recycling programs to a Streamside Protection Ordinance, the city has found ways to protect the environment and help the city budget and economy.  Lolley also feels that the people in our community have taken great initiative although we are not quite there yet.

“It is a cultural shift, and it is going to take everyone on board,” he said. “All to often we get distracted, or feel powerless in the face of the big stuff like Climate Change, but we need to focus on the small stuff and understand the power of accumulative effect, when after a few years the small stuff adds-up to be really big stuff.”

 Some of the “stuff” includes the sort of common sense recommendations our grandparents might have made like turning off the lights when not in the room, recycling, and not buying bottled water when you can get it from the tap.  While these are easy everyday things, he still believes that the accumulative effects for the dumb stuff can add up to some really big savings, oh and save the climate in the process.  Lolley calls it “regaining our lost intelligence, before technology came along and outsourced our brains.”
“Sustainability is all about increasing efficiencies to improve the bottom line,” said Lolley. “It is not some altruistic warm green fuzzy.  If in the end sustainability measures do not improve efficiencies and the bottom line, then sustainability is itself unsustainable.”