Greening and glitterati at the Democratic Convention

Ben Affleck, an early supporter of Sen. Barack Obama for the president, not only attends the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week, but is busy with activities. He’ll pack up produce for America’s Second Harvest with Michelle Obama, participate in the SeaChange Ideas Forum, and play poker to benefit Paralyzed Veterans of America.

The Oscar-winning actor plays Poker at the Ballpark with pros as well as celebs Paul Rudd, Sarah Silverman and Seth Meyers. Joining Affleck at the roundtable forum, "History of Progressive America," are Josh Brolin and Rosario Dawson. Other stars at the festivities include John Legend, who performed at the opening of the event, actresses Charlize Theron, Anne Hathaway, Annette Bening, and Jessica Alba – and, of course, Oprah Winfrey along with all the political royalty.

Eco-efforts began when the head of the DNC Committee, Leah Daughty, hired a "director of greening," Andrea Robinson, who held a similar role with Al Gore’s Live Earth. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the convention's chairwoman, supported the initiatives, saying, "It is an environmental issue and a health issue," Pelosi said. . . . “It's not about P.R."

Beyond the usual recycling, sustainability plans included rules regarding online transactions, eliminating brochures and single-sided copies. Of course, plastic water bottles are a no-no, too. Offers of bulk-rate carbon offsets attempted to cut carbon emissions with the 6,000-plus delegates traveling to the Mile-High city, and GM’s Flexfuel fleet will run on gas from Coors’ beer waste. 

Mayor Hickenlooper's Greenprint Denver team, determined to make this the greenest convention to date, boasts a host of green campaigns such as Freewheelin bikesharing, RideArrangers carpooling, Lean n’Green restaurants, and a green vendors directory. The Pepsi Center, site of the convention, recently committed to renewable wind and solar energy.

But the convention’s really all about the party: Entertainers at assorted galas include Kanye West, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, and the Black Eyed Peas. Jakob Dylan plays the Rock the Vote gathering, Cyndi Lauper headlines the Human Rights Campaign show, Rufus Wainwright and Melissa Etheridge take the stage at the Rock to Win concert, Rage Against the Machine and Public Enemy play the Denver Coliseum.

Then the man of the hour: Sen. Obama appears at Invesco Field to address the crowd of 76,000 on Thursday night! Bon Jovi opens and Springsteen closes the rally. Don’t you wish you were there?

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