Malibu goes green


Ed Begley Jr. will host the first Wallflower Organic & Green Festival in Malibu.

By Jonathan Friedman / Assistant Editor

An all-you-can-consume environmental awareness festival will take place on Oct. 6 at the Chili Cook-Off site where more than 100 “Green Living” experts will gather to show off environmentally sensitive products and deliver information on how to live sustainably and be socially responsible. The Wallflower Organic & Green Festival, a production of the Chamber of Commerce’s Zero Impact Malibu Program, promises to be a day to learn the latest ways to be as green as you can be.

Actor Ed Begley Jr., a legendary environmental activist who rides a bicycle, occasionally drives a Toyota Prius (a hybrid) and lives in a solar-powered home, will host the event. He will bring supplies of his environmentally friendly household cleaner, Begley’s Best, and speak to attendees about “The Green Movement.”

“I’m going to discuss the environmental stuff that’s been good for me,” Begley said. “One thing I want to get across is that people don’t need to be put off by the fact that they don’t have the big items that are expensive or hard to find like a Prius or a solar-powered home. You can start off with the basics.”

Begley continued, “Get an energy-saving thermostat. Get a bike. Take public transportation. Grow your own vegetables. You’ll save so much money from those things that you can then eventually move on to buying solar panels and rain barrels for water collection.”

Also attending the first annual festival will be environmental architect and designer Robert Mechielsen. He will reveal his plans for a small building he is going to construct, which will eventually be placed on the Chili Cook-Off site (the future Legacy Park), called “Malibu’s Green Spot.”

“The building is going to be open on all four sides,” Mechielsen said. “It’s totally self-sustained with all its own energy needs. It will contain six different solar applications in the roof and structural concrete-insulated panels. That’s a new green construction method.”

He said the building will only take one day to build, and when it is completed it will contain computers with information for people to learn about environmental issues and green-friendly vendors.

There will be musical entertainment at the Oct. 6 event, with the sounds of jazz, classical and blues being performed on a solar stage. Jamie Burr from PermaCity Solar, which will supply the stage, said a 2.4-kilowatt solar-powered array of panels will be set up at the park to provide enough energy for the performances.

“It makes a point when people are sitting there watching,” Burr said. “They’ll say, ‘Wow, this is powered straight from the sun.’ Practical applications of solar kind of really hit people on the head when they see it.”

Other features for the day will be an eco fashion show with designers from the Eco Collective, a Children’s Eco Village with hands-on learning opportunities for the youngsters and an Organic Food Village.

There will also be more speakers on subjects such as “How New Capital is Greening America,” “Super Efficient Sustainable Homes,” “Carbon Neutral Living Architecture” and “The Dos and Don’ts of Marketing Socially responsible New Ventures.”

Begley will also moderate panel discussions on topics that include “Conscious Consumerism-Voting with Your Dollar,” “What You Can Do Today to Green Your Home” and “Green Kids for a Green Future.”

“Hopefully this will be very helpful for people,” Begley said. “There’s always going to be an amount of preaching to the converted. But events like these are wonderful for those who are hungry for information, and seeking to find out what others are doing. I know people are hungry, and I know because I get e-mails every day from friends asking what they can do.”

The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A percentage of all exhibit sales will go toward the city’s Legacy Park Project. More information can be obtained online at