Everyone has their varying traditions at SXSW: BBQ at the Salt Lick, drinks at the Driskill, avoiding the Mashable Party…but the one we all share is the Great Dump.  No, it’s not a symptom of SXSW SARS.  The Great Dump is what happens after you receive your swag bag and dump out all the glossy brochures on the ground or at your hotel room, either way ending up in the trash. So the really big green news at the 25th SXSW Festival this year is their adoption of SXswag, a digital replacement of all those brochures. I’m really impressed SXSW is making this move and can’t wait to see how attendees respond.

Another new initiative is the SXSW Green Zone, Powered by Nokia.  Located at the corner of 7th and Red River Street, the Green Zone will feature a water re-filling station, a solar charging area to keep your mobile devices energized, a recycling transfer center servicing sections of the central downtown area via human-powered transport and information about the sustainability efforts of Nokia, SXSW, and the City of Austin. Very awesome but the big bummer is it’s only up for film & music, March 16 to 19.  Hello Nokia–what’s up with dissing the techies?!

A few green events at SXSW:

Drive a Chevy Volt

Charged up for SXSW? Reserve your spot to drive the all-electric Chevy Volt at the Catch A Chevy stop on Trinity and 3rd from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. every day during SXSW.

Go Green Save Green Film Panel

Saturday March 12
3:30pm
Austin Convention Center
Room 13AB

Filmmakers are increasingly attending to issues related to sustainability and are “greening” their productions. While there is a lot of “green-wash” out there, there are models of sustainable production that cut through myths and uncertainties. Using “The Code of Best Practices in Sustainable Filmmaking” published in 2009 (sustainablefilmmaking.org), we will provide insight and inspiration through actual case studies to show you how going greens not only saves the environment but also saves you money.

Big Brother Goes Green: Surveillance For Sustainable Forests

Saturday March 12
5:00pm
Austin Convention Center
Room 9ABC

Can repurposed surveillance technology bring people together to protect their forests? Combining physical and virtual worlds, Real-Time Video Interactive Systems for Sustainability (RTiVISS) offer participants a way to remotely monitor natural environments for forest protection. Collaboratively developed by artists, activists and technologists, these new systems strengthen environmental awareness through “the emotion of real-time”. This presentation will showcase the design and technology of specific RTiVISS instances such as “Play with Fire”, “B-wind!”, and “Hug@ree”. It will also be a case study of what happens when tinkerers, open-source coders, and new media artists work together for a better world.

Energy Hub Launch Party

Sunday March 13
7:30pm
Paradise
401 E 6th St.

Join us to celebrate the launch of the EnergyHub home energy management system! Get hands-on product demos, chat with EnergyHub designers, and enjoy drinks on us. Tweet us @EnergyHub!

Goodbye Oil: Accelerating the Electric Car

Monday March 14
9:30 am
Austin Convention Center
Room 6AB

Join leaders of the electric car movement to debate how online organizing, culture jamming, and social influence can turn electric cars into cultural icons. The only way to break our addiction to oil is to stop driving cars that use it. In 2011, mass-market electric cars will, for the first time, become a real option for everyday drivers. But common misperceptions, old habits, and powerful interests could prevent electric cars from breaking through to the mainstream.

Three Undiscovered Companies Leading the Green Movement

Monday March 14
11:00am
Austin Convention Center
Room 6AB

The United States consumes more energy than it produces and is the second biggest emitter of CO2 in the world (behind China). If the United States truly chooses to become a greener country, then major improvements in our infrastructure (buildings and transportation) will have to be made. The green movement in the United States has yet to reach a tipping point. Companies either do not know how to lower their energy consumption and carbon footprint, or they are not implementing the projects fast enough. Fortunately, there are signs that we are now more green than ever. This panel will highlight three companies that you probably haven’t heard of that are implementing green strategies. You don’t want to miss learning about how these innovative companies got started and what they’re doing to make our country a greener place to live.

Cleantech: The Interactive Community & the Next Great Industry

Monday March 14
12:30pm
Austin Convention Center
Room 6AB

Every major forecast from McKinsey to The Gates Foundation points to cleantech as the Next Great Industry. It seems obvious, yet how many of us in the interactive community have deep knowledge and involvement in this sector? Our prediction and hope is that that will change in the next 3-5 years. This session will discuss the current growth of the cleantech sector, its implications for the interactive community and vice versa, the optimal scenarios for impact, and the ways we can start thinking about this industry now. We’ll dive into the current role of data and developers, the importance of mapping & the Internet of Things, and look at case studies from GE & IBM to TerraPower. We’ll also follow up on some of the principles in the SXSW 2010 keynotes of Valerie Casey & Bruce Sterling such as systems thinking in the interactive community, high-impact development, and our role in social & environmental change. Quoting the “Environmental Leader” blog on cleantech: “As our colleague, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has explained, new industries founded on new technology platforms tend to be complex and expensive at first, as it takes the combined efforts of an organized group of highly skilled people to commercialize a breakthrough.” They’re talking about us, so let’s get involved.

Internet Activism: Vegan Bloggers Take over the World

Monday March 14
3:30pm
Austin Convention Center
Room 5ABC

A surge of vegan bloggers has been using the internet to make change in the way people think about animals through new forms of activism. VeganMoFo (the vegan month of food) and worldwide Vegan Bakesales to raise money for causes and promote veganism are just some of the ways that we are breaking out of the stereotypes of the past and creating a revolution. Learn creative ways to promote your message and engage your community on and off the web and more about food activism and using your culinary skills to promote compassion.

The Sustainable Media Happy Hour

Monday March 14
7:00pm
Clive Bar
609 Davis St.

Our annual party for greenies at SXSW is back! Presented by TriplePundit and yours truly, this year’s event is gonna rock. We booked the coolest new bar in Austin, Clive Bar and our sponsors Applied Materials, Cree and GreenMBA will make sure the drinks keep coming. Our friends at Cree will be giving away some LED lightbulbs (they last 10x longer than compact fluorescent!) and blissmo has stepped up to provide a gourmet food truck (TBD) for a little nosh. So swing by for a free drink and to connect with like minded folks.

Keynote: Blake Mycoskie

Tuesday March 15
2:00pm
Austin Convention Center
Ballroom

In this visionary talk, Blake Mycoskie shows you how to succeed in a new era of relentless competition and heightened social awareness. Why is philanthropy your best competitive advantage? How do you make money and do good simultaneously? How are the two acts intertwined? At TOMS — a self-sustaining, for-profit company — the act of giving is the cornerstone of its business model, integral to its financial success. In a behind-the-scenes look at how it all works, Mycoskie shares counterintuitive ideas (“In tough times, give more!”) that you can apply to your own business. His bold, winning strategies are proven, and have been talked about by Bill Clinton, the Obama administration, and the hundreds of thousands of customers that have joined the TOMS Movement by buying a pair of shoes. Inspired, inspiring and most of all practical, Mycoskie presents a new direction for business, offering TOMS as his prime case study. After hearing him speak, you too will know why giving just makes sense.

Techies Can Save the World, Why Aren’t They?

Tuesday March 15
3:30pm
Austin Convention Center
Room 6AB

Techies are plugged in. We’re cutting edge. So, why aren’t we more green? Why aren’t we the ones using our special power to save the world? Are we too busy working on the next hot i-phone app? Do we not care? Are we just avoiding the guilt over our higher than average personal electrical requirements? Maybe the environmental movement just isn’t our battle to fight. Their ‘triple bottom line’ lingo sounds like a foreign language. And it doesn’t sound much like PHP. A kick-ass panel made up of a rare breed of successful environmentally and socially focused tech pioneers provide insights, examples and practical inspiration for techies, bloggers, entrepreneurs and web-business people who are looking to do a world of good. Our expert panel includes founders from major web based businesses, founders of the new generation of successful social and environmental start-up ventures, and major VC’s who are all focused on the triple bottom line – making a bunch of money while doing something positive for the environment and society. A well respected news media editor at the intersection of green and technology will moderate this panel of innovators. Come ask our panel how you can be the change you want to see!