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Green drinks all around

Local watering holes raise glasses to raise awareness about global warming

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What do a Green Mojo, lime and honey Martini and an Apple-tini all have in common? Yes, they are all delicious alcoholic drinks, but there’s something else — they are all some shade of the color green.

No, it’s not St. Patrick’s Day yet so what prompted the green beverages? These drinks plus two more — Andy’s Mint and Leprechaun — were all concocted by the staff at Crown Bar on Sixth Avenue in honor of this month’s Green Drinks event.

If you’re unfamiliar with this monthly happening rapidly gaining momentum in the South Sound, we’ll enlighten you. It’s a get-together for Green people — No, not individuals from other planets, but rather those interested in the environment, conservation and sustainability.

The gatherings are held at various venues throughout the area from local bars to restaurants.

On Dec. 6 for two-plus hours at Crown Bar, around two dozen individuals downed scrumptious green drinks, nibbled on appetizers and talked about ways to be kinder to the environment.

The force behind Tacoma’s Green Drinks is Karin Van Vlack, the South Puget Sound outreach coordinator for the Northwest Earth Institute, a nonprofit group out of Oregon.

Van Vlack explained the Northwest Earth Institute brings people together in small groups to tackle issues such as global warming. The group develops course books, which it supplies to corporations like Starbucks, organizations such as the city of Tacoma and individuals who want to host courses on issues including Choices for Sustainable Living and Healthy Children — Healthy Planet.

“We hope to inspire people to get motivated about environmental issues,” Van Vlack says, adding “We’re the first generation to understand something globally.”  Last year, the group facilitated 30 courses from Gig Harbor to Tumwater.

The Green Drinks happenings, Van Vlack says, blossomed thanks to a grant that funded outreach projects in the South Sound. Green Drinks isn’t a local phenomenon; however, gatherings like these are occurring internationally. It was originally created as a get-together for individuals in the environmental field, but it’s attracted everyone from city employees to business people to college students.

At the Dec. 6 Green Drinks event at Crown Bar (a supporter of local small farmers and organic products), it took awhile for the small talk to morph into discussions on environmental issues, but eventually it did. Individuals were tossing around ideas about how to solve the South Sound’s transportation problems without doing more damage to the environment.

Green Drinks takes place the first Thursday of every month. Next month’s will be Jan. 3 at Tempest Lounge in Tacoma. For more information about Northwest Earth Institute check out If you just want to find out more about Green Drinks, visit

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