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SXSW Eco Adds Some Star Power

Jessica Alba joins the lineup

By Richard Whittaker, Fri., Sept. 28, 2012

SXSW Eco Adds Some Star Power

SXSW Eco has added a little bit of cinema celebrity to its lineup for its upcoming second edition: Actress Jessica Alba will be rubbing shoulders with academics, entrepreneurs, and ecologists as they all discuss innovative solutions to the looming wave of environmental crises. Alba is currently working with Austin filmmaker Robert Rodriguez on two movies – Machete Kills and Sin City 2 – but she'll be taking a break from her onscreen duties to talk about her firm the Honest Com­pany and its line of eco-friendly baby products.

Just as Alba brings a little bit of SXSW Film glamor to the festival's fall offshoot, so the U.S. Depart­ment of Energy will reignite the SXSW Interactive spark of electronic creativity with a 24-hour hackathon. Teams of hackers will be combing through publicly available data released by the department's Energy Data Initiative to create a new energy-saving tool, which will then be made available for free to the public.

Alba joins already-announced big environmental names like oceanographer Philippe Cousteau Jr. and Sen. Byron Dorgan, but for many attendees, the emphasis is going to be on looking for the next big innovation from eco-entrepreneurs. As the conference enters its second year, one of its big themes is Replicating Success, and the hunt for startups and localized solutions that can be copied or scaled up for a global effect on emissions and consumption. The Pecan Street Project – the collaborative energy-efficiency project spearheaded by the city of Austin and UT – leads a local contingent of clean-tech startups and innovators that includes LED light manufacturer Firefly and solar power researchers Heliovolt.


SXSW Eco runs Wed.-Fri., Oct. 3-5, at the AT&T Executive Edu­ca­tion & Conference Center, 1900 University. www.sxsweco.com.

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