The Gathering of the Green People

On the eve after April Fool’s Day, all of the green people in St. Louis made a lunar landing on the Moonrise Hotel on The Delmar Loop .  While this sounds like science fiction, the Green Ball was the place to “celebrate the earth under the moon.”  The event raised thousands of dollars for the Missouri Botanical Garden’s EarthWays Center, which promotes sustainability through environmental education and improving the built environment.

Over 300 guests packed the house to listen to Hudson and the Hoodoo Cats.  While so many other green gatherings are serious efforts to educate and inspire people to live in harmony with the earth, the Green Ball was a night to relax and celebrate.  Guests were encouraged to show their true colors in the Green Fashion Contest, which included things like skin paint, a paper-plate bra and a vegetable veil.   The Green Giant made his return from last year, looking like a cross between Rambo and an Avatar.  Pictures are a must see at MetroMix and Riverfront Times.

In addition to the prizes for best costume, guest celebrated the raffle winners who chose to Eat Green, Live Green, or Make (their) Home Green.  Steve Butcher, manager of the Moonrise Hotel, announced the winners, and introduced Glenda Abney, executive director at EarthWays Center to address the crowd.  Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson, President of the Missouri Botanical Garden, spoke briefly before Joe Edwards, owner of the hotel, offered his appreciation to all of the sponsors and people who worked so hard to create a successful event.

The second annual ball is likely to become a trademark event for the Moonrise Hotel.  Next to The Pageant on the just east of Skinker, it has a contemporary design that appeals to the artist, from the iconic spinning moon atop the hotel to the tasteful décor in the lobby and guest rooms.  The Walk of Fame suites offer a toast to a host of entertainers who call St. Louis home.

The hotel is a perfect venue for green events, as the hotel owner and staff pride themselves on managing a sustainable operation.  While many hotels are now cutting back on the laundering of sheets and towels to reduce water and energy consumption, the Moonrise is taking additional steps to be an earth-friendly establishment.  The hotel has a very extensive recycling and composting program, and the Eclipse Restaurant features many locally-sourced, organic foods from nearby growers and farmers.  And leftover food and soap is donated to charity.  The hotel also supports the development of renewable energy as a Platinum Member of Ameren’s PURE Power program.

Perhaps the most exciting news is what’s happening on the rooftop bar.  When the weather permits, this is a hot spot, with beautiful urban vistas to the east, south and west.  To accommodate guests in inclement weather, a solar canopy was constructed to provide more space to gather and stay dry.  The first of its kind in St. Louis, this solar array is capable of powering the rooftop bar.  Microgrid Energy designed the canopy with translucent solar modules to allow some light through, and both sides of the panel convert light into energy.  In addition, the Moonrise and Microgrid are partnering to explore other ways to reduce energy use.

The Green Ball’s success is proof that environmental advocates are no longer “the green people” of science fiction, but savvy citizens who are implementing creative solutions for sustainability and renewable energy.  As the Ball rolls forward, thanks for doing your part to Go Green!

This was published in the Going Green section of the May 2011 issue of Spirit Seeker magazine.

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