Green Drinks International is a not for profit organisation which attracts like minded people to meet once a month and share their views about environmental issues over a couple of drinks.
The brainchild behind the concept is Edwin Datschefski.
In 1989 he was at a pub in North London with his green design colleagues Yorick Benjamin and Paul Scott.
At the table next to him was another eco-conscious friend so they joined the tables together and the Green Drinks movement was born.
It is now a global phenomenon in more than 700 cities around the world.
Here’s how it works.
Each city has an organizer who registers and arranges meetings in bars and restaurants around that city to facilitate discussions on the environment. All meetings should follow the Green Drinks Code as follows:
Green Drinks are Open
For people working on environmental issues, but anyone can come — people from environment groups, business, government, academia and as individuals. There is no ‘us and them’. Organisers and all attendees actively welcome newcomers and introduce them to others in the group. All attendees commit to meeting new people at every session and not just sticking with people they already know.
Green Drinks are Freeform
There is generally no agenda or theme, Green Drinkers mingle and share insights and provoke and exasperate and inspire and delight each other. All kinds of people come to Green Drinks and this is what makes for the interesting interactions.
Green Drinks are Regular
Usually monthly. Most organisers find a fixed date in the month.
Green Drinks are Simple to Organise
Usually held in a convenient, central location that is free. A private space is the best choice in the end. Start with maybe 10 keen people you already know, and get them to each invite 5 others the first time. Many Green Drinks start with a dozen people and then grow to be a regular size — 30 people is the most common size with 70 or 150 as the other common sizes for larger cities.
Green Drinks are Self-replicating
People who come to Green Drinks each invite others along by word of mouth, who in turn themselves invite others, etc. Email invites mean that people can foward the invite to friends easily. This is the core for exponential growth. New cities are easy to set up and people moving often set up a Green Drinks in their new location.
Green Drinks are Local
Cities or towns or suburbs up to 45 minutes’ travel time apart from each other. Avoid date clashes and being in the same week as neighbouring Green Drinks. Check the website for your nearest Green Drinks and talk to the organisers; they will be happy to hear from you. Counties or areas or bioregions are allowed only if rural (less than 200 people per square mile) and rotating between several towns. County Green Drinks also have to be prepared to change their name later if necessary. If you are sticking to one town as the venue then the Green Drinks would be named after that town. There are successful Green Drinks in towns as small as 18,000 population.
Green Drinks are Agenda Free
Green Drinks is not a channel to circulate announcements or news about environmental issues. It’s OK to have speakers for 20-30 mins or so or to have a theme for the evening to help stimulate discussion, but the bulk of the evening should be freeform and random. The host venue itself creates some slant inevitably but must be gracious and open; independent venues such as bars or restaurants are preferred. Green Drinks as an entity will never endorse or have a position or stance on an environmental topic. There will be no non-Green Drinks-related content or messages or appeals or ads circulated to the city organisers or appearing on the greendrinks.org website.
Green Drinks are Decentralised
Each city does its own thing. There is no central mailing list of attendees. There is no central logo or branding as each city has its own logo and style to adapt to each location
Green Drinks are Non Profit
Organisers mostly use free resources and volunteers and donate their own time. Voluntary charge at door if necesssary to cover costs; per event only, no membership fee. Mostly free to attend, each participant pays for their own drinks and food. Incorporation as LLC or Ltd company is OK for larger groups. Event sponsors and venue hosts OK as long as freedom of discussion is not compromised.
Green Drinks are Run Responsibly
Organisers and participants work to create a safe, non threatening environment for all and drink responsibly. Organisers collaborate with other Green Drinks in their area. Organisers keep their pages on www.greendrinks.org updated with the date and venue of the next Green Drinks and a contact name and email so first-timers have confidence to travel across town and devote an evening to Green Drinks. Organisers don’t sell their email lists to advertisers. Some organisers act as mentors to help and advise other groups.
Green Drinks are Fun
There is a very informal vibe and overall light feel. There are lots of benefits to green drinks; they are hard to quantify, but when you have seen people come and make new links and learn and argue and set up new schemes and get new jobs etc, it is a good feeling.
Green Drinks is a casual, fantastic way to get people together who can either instigate environmental changes in their city or just network with like minded people. There is no central organisation, each city organiser can do what they like and maintains their own list of members. Some cities have speakers to kick off the events and others are a little less formal. You can really do what suits you and your city.
It’s a word of mouth event that just keeps growing and growing with real potential to make significant changes in the world.
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