Forget Al Gore. Give greenies a buzz instead. To shake up an often apathetic public, environmentalists have sometimes appealed to fear (warnings about rising seas, Al Gore's move) and theatrics (tree-hugging, crying American Indians on TV).
This weekend, they were trying something that was new, yet as old as human desire. At an eco-festival at a park on the East River in Manhattan, men and women mostly too young to recall the "Keep America Beautiful" Indian came across an aqua-blue sign that spelled it out in no uncertain terms: "Sign up for clean energy and drink free beer."
Those who signed up for electricity from Community Energy, which owns three wind farms in New York and Pennsylvania, received tickets for four pints of Brooklyn Lager at the third annual Citysol festival in Stuyvesant Cove Park, at the end of 23rd Street. (Brooklyn Brewery is powered by Community Energy Windmills.)
"It's a fun, easy incentive" to switch to clean energy, said Chris Neidl, who came up with the idea. "And it chips away at the holier-than-thou reputation of the environmental movement." Well, after hearing Al Gore preach, I'm sure a lot of well-meaning environmentalists now feel the need to drink. This kills two birds with one stone.