Silverdale Greendrinks is more than just green drinks

Cliff Higashi and Dena Barrios help with a past Greendrinks event. - Courtesy photo
Cliff Higashi and Dena Barrios help with a past Greendrinks event.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Whenever there’s mention of Greendrinks, a picture comes to mind of a frothy glass of 7-Up mixed with a dip of lime sherbet. But according to organizers of Silverdale Greendrinks, that’s not at all what Greendrinks is about.

“We get together to share a voice about our community,” said Kevin Wiley, one of the founding members. “We’re all about sustaining our local businesses.”

The Silverdale group came about last year, after deciding that Silverdale needed its own group.

“There was a group in Bremerton,” Wiley said. “But we wanted to have one here in Silverdale.”

The committee included Dena Barrios, Cliff Higashi, Valarie Harris, Cynthia Martin, Sean Maib, Regan Weigel, Jennifer Zuver and Wiley. They hosted their first get-together on March 6, 2013.

So now each month on the first Wednesday, the group gets together after work for a social time and to share and help each other with business connections.

According to the International Greendrinks website, every month people who work in the environmental field meet up at informal sessions known as Greendrinks. From that, it has become a business networking entity with an environmental twist. People from academia, government, business and service industries can be part of it and being environmentally conscience they each bring their own glass from which to drink. No paper cups allowed.

Wiley, who is in the finance industry, said the “environment” that the Silverdale group works to sustain is the business environment.

“We’re really about buying locally and sustaining the local economy,” he said.

Greendrinks has chapters all over the world with Silverdale’s being one of the newest addition. When members arrive, they often say  “are you green?” then introduce themselves to each other.

“It’s a great way of catching up with people you know and also for making new contacts,” said Wiley. “Everyone invites someone else along, so there’s always a different crowd, making Greendrinks an organic, self-organizing network.”

The events are simple and unstructured, but people have found employment, made friends, developed new ideas, done deals and had moments of serendipity, according to the chapter’s website.

At each event, a local nonprofit is featured and a representative comes to speak about what the organization does, Wiley said. The committee selects the nonprofit to be featured and there is a free-will donation option for the charity that those who attend can give to.

Greendrinks actually started in London, according to the international website.

In 1989, at a pub called the Slug and Lettuce in North London, Edwin Datschefski was sitting with his green design colleagues Yorick Benjamin and Paul Scott when he noticed an enviro-minded acquaintance at a nearby table. As it turned out, the friend was sitting with a few of his own eco-conscious mates, so they pulled some tables together. And so a movement was born.

The concept evolved into Greendrinks and now it’s global. In 2001, Datschefski created an official website, and it has since spread across the world.

Each city has an organizer who arranges meetings in bars and restaurants (often with organic or vegetarian food), relays information via email, and facilitates discussions. The spirit of Greendrinks is that anyone can come, and this makes for interesting interactions.

New York City joined as the first U.S. Greendrinks in 2002, and as Greendrinkers saw the website, traveled the world and relocated jobs, more sprang up. Today, there are 643 Greendrinks in 62 countries. Go to for more information.

The next meeting of Silverdale Greendrinks will be May 7 from exactly 5:24 p.m. to 8:03 p.m. at the Best Western Silverdale Beach Hotel. It will be catered by Chimpmunk Grill and sponsored by Harrison Medical Center. The cost to attend is $10. The charity of the month is the March of Dimes. Go to to RSVP to attend.






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