SXSW Eco draws crowds in second year

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by MORGAN CHESKY / KVUE News and photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

kvue.com

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 6:24 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 3 at 6:40 PM

AUSTIN -- If you've got a big idea you think can change the world for the better, look no further than SXSW Eco. In just its second year, the South By Southwest fall event has doubled in size. Visitors call it ground zero for thinking green, and it's a lot more than just recycling.

"Just to come to an event like this, it's kind of a melting pot, kind of recharges a lot of people's batteries," said attendee Dustin Fedako.

Make that about 2,000 batteries charged. People packed the University of Texas' AT&T Conference Center to focus on the environment.

"These issues of food, water, energy, habitat these are all things we come into contact with every day," explained conference director Scott Wilcox.

Almost 300 speakers took on serious global issues. Constance Okollet came the furthest, flying from Uganda to talk about her village's changing climate.

"You'll find there is a lot of trouble with climate change in my community than in the past," said Okollet. 

Sessions focused on big ideas, some already solving problems. Last year's keynote speaker, Phillipe Cousteau returned, this time discussing how to put Wall Street to work through new environmental funds.

"It's not just about philanthropic giving which is important, but here's an opportunity in their investments, in their investment portfolio to also change the world," explained Cousteau.

With two days to go, visitors have plenty of time to take part in the change of their choosing. Badges are still available -- $495 to attend through Friday's conclusion and $295 for students.

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