On paper, Americans look like a bunch of decadent pigs. Citizens of the United States make up a mere 4 percent of the world's population, yet operate a solid third of all the automobiles on the planet and consume a quarter of the global energy supply. Start checking out the statistics on how much of the Earth's water and food we consume, and you'll really get depressed.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Small changes can have big effects, if only you know what adjustments to make. That's where the "Sustainable World Symposium" comes in. Environmental powwows are pretty common in our city; do-gooders host a plethora of green-boosting events throughout the year. But this conference, which focuses on global economic problems as well as the destruction of the environment, presents a much fuller picture of the inequities of modern life and gets its participants immediately involved in solutions by organizing them into neighborhood action teams at day's end.
Join speakers from groups like Food First, Rainforest Action Network, and the International Forum on Globalization at 9 a.m. at St. Mary's Cathedral Conference Center, 1111 Gough, S.F. Admission is $25-55; call 785-1888 or visit www.swcoalition.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Roll With It
Free lawn bowling lessons
City dwellers seeking fresh air, sunshine, and God's green grass should consider bowling. No, not the kind that involves gutter balls and beer frames. For more than a century, lawn bowling enthusiasts have gathered in Golden Gate Park for what the 1901 park superintendent described as "exercise with the pleasures of amusement" (remind you of anything?). This year the San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club provides free lessons to the public every Wednesday at noon. Once participants attain basic skills, they're invited to join the oldest public club in the country (which also claims the first municipal lawn bowling green in the United States).
Start hurling those balls at "Afternoon on the Green," starting at noon (and running most Wednesdays through Sept. 29) at Kezar & John F. Kennedy in Golden Gate Park, S.F. Flat-soled shoes and reservations are required for the free lessons; call 831-0883 or visit www.parks.sfgov.org.
-- Melissa Lane
Soothing the Savage Beast
Boys get loose in Justin Herman Plaza
We just about laughed ourselves into convulsions over Men's Health magazine's "Stress-Busting Event," a relax-for-health happening that hits S.F. this week. Not because there's anything funny about stress (it kills, plus it makes you drive like a schmuck) or about the physical well-being of the Y-chromosomed. We just got giggly imagining the publication's obsessions (flabby abs, male-pattern baldness, erectile dysfunction) played out in a convention. Will there be Rogaine peddlers? Viagra vendors? Oily video-hawking musclemen? Alas, no: just stress tests, free massage stations, gym-bunny product giveaways, appearances by retired 49ers, and, um, virtual golf stations. OK, that's still funny. Mellow out starting at 10 a.m. at Justin Herman Plaza, Market & Steuart, S.F. Admission is free; visit www.menshealth.com/nmhw.
-- Joyce Slaton
You like cute? Here's cute: Miss Alana Cooper Prince, age 7, attends today's "Father's Day Cruise" on the USS Potomac (FDR's "floating White House"). Joining her are her father, his father, and his father. And you. The cruise includes lunch and soft drinks, and departs at noon from 540 Water (at Clay), Oakland. Admission is $50; call (510) 627-1215 or visit www.usspotomac.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser