South by Southwest (also known as SXSW, or Southby) is a pretty well known music, film, and interactive festival and conference that takes place in Austin, TX every year. In 2011, a new branch of the SXSW brand was created, called SXSW Eco, which focuses on the environment, sustainability, and other environmental challenges faced in a globalized economy, and world.
After a successful first year, SXSW Eco is coming back again this October, and is starting to receive some buzz. Annie Leonard, a prominent filmmaker and activist with sustainability and consumerism issues has just been announced to be one of the keynote speakers at a SXSW panel.
SXSW Eco seems to have a Earth Summit vibe to it, having international scholars, innovators, and “executive level decision makers” from the private and public sectors join together in one conference to find solutions for a sustainable world.
Though, this conference seems like a good idea, there are some things about it that I would like to criticize:
- The way this is publicized isn’t very exciting or thought provoking. There is no general video informing people of SXSW Eco, like this seriously awesome one for SXSW this year (film and music), compared to this recording of a speaker at a panel for SXSW Eco last year. There is so much to work with, yet there is nothing that I could find. I know this is just beginning, and is only on its 2nd year, but I feel like it can do better advertising.
- What is actually done at this conference? I mean, people from all over the world fly into Austin for a few days to discuss how to be more eco-friendly, then all take a plane back to their country, and nothing happens? There is a list of achievements from last year’s conference, which seem promising, but whether things will progress in the future years depends on turning ideas into practices.
- SXSW has a reputation of being young, hip, and ahead of the curve. The next big bands are discovered there, the newest indie movies are debuted there too, so what is SXSW Eco going to be able to say about their conference?
SXSW Eco has a lot of potential I feel, and there seems to be a lot of good ideas that come from it, I just feel like something is missing. How are people going to find out about this conference if there is virtually no press about it? How are these innovative ideas going to be brought out into the real world, and will they work?