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Honing festival sustainability: from travel to renewable energy

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Seth Kirby discusses the reconfiguration of travel at festivals and how renewable energy can transform the blueprint for sustainable events –therefore influencing the industry for the greater good.

Festivals searching for longevity in the industry must ensure that their overriding vision is one which encompasses the value and practices of sustainability. Principally, festivals should recognise the burden that staged outdoor events place on the natural environment, and consequently explore alternative methods for powering events and transporting the festival masses.

Festival travel has taken a dramatic shift over recent years with a higher proportion of festivals, quite rightly so, adopting schemes that place a greater emphasis on the use of public transport to events. Examples of these schemes include the Green Traveller Initiative, Big Green Coach, LiftShare and a growing array of cycling schemes.

The Green Traveller Initiative is a rewards scheme that was introduced at Glastonbury in 2011. Each person who arrives by public transport or bicycle is handed a Green Traveller lanyard, in exchange for festival discounts, vouchers and entry to competitions.

LiftShare is a car sharing scheme which aims to match festival attendees travelling in the same direction, enabling people to reduce their overall travel costs and their strain on the environment. It is operational at festivals such as Global Gathering and Bestival.

Big Green Coach is a company designed to fill the gap for an ethical and environmental form of bus transport. Their partners include the likes of V Festival and Wakestock.

However in many cases these travel schemes and initiatives do not reflect the insurmountable impact that festival transport has on the events’ carbon footprint. Environmental indicators still appear to reinforce countless studies ranking festival transportation as one of the single most destructive event impacts.

Major issues need to be addressed and transport impacts tackled throughout the music and events fraternity in order transform and shape sustainable festival travel of tomorrow. Therein lies fundamental disconnects and resistance between the issue of accessible transport and the facilitation of sustainable travel.

The presence of renewable energy at festivals is slowly gaining momentum. This is in part due to the efforts of organisations such as Julie’s Bicycle and the Green Festival Alliance.

Julie’s Bicycle is a not-for-profit organisation that acts collaboratively with organisations in order to assist with measuring an event’s environmental impact, while also innovatively aiding extreme carbon emission reduction.

Meanwhile, the Green Festival Alliance (GFA) is a group aiming to catalyse sustainability in the festival sector. It has been involved in developing campaigns such as the Powerful Thinking Campaign and introduced a variety of schemes, including the Industry Green certification (which is a report indicating your environmental performance).

There are a plethora of examples in the festival world that have established and appropriately harnessed the remarkable potential of renewable energy.

The Shambala Festival is a small, diverse festival located in Northamptonshire which is said to be 98% powered by wind, solar and waste biodiesel. Shambala was awarded three stars for Industry Green in 2012, and has ultimately committed in the future to be 100% powered by renewable energy.

The Sunrise Festival (Another World) is an ethical living arts and music festival which relocated this year to a new home in Wiltshire. Sunrise’s goal is to achieve best practice in ethics and the environment, while also entertaining the crowds.

Previously there has been a discussion about festivals leading the way in best practice for renewable energy solutions. One of these cases was Glyndebourne festival which uses a wind turbine for its main source of power.

Glyndebourne’s long-term ambition is for its whole operation to become carbon neutral. Latest figures released for the wind turbine in its first year (to 31 January 2013) found that it generated 89% of the organisation’s electricity requirements.

The festival sector has the ability to become a key player in renewable energy and responsible forms of travel. This is an ongoing process which requires creativity and collaboration across the sector, coupled with the support of sustainably driven organisations such as the Green Festival Alliance.

Festivals organisers and officials must ensure that their environmental plans are placed right at very forefront of their growth strategies, paying particular attention to preventing excessive rates of degradation and irreversible environmental outcomes.

Seth Kirby graduated in 2012 from the University of Lincoln with a first class degree in sports tourism management. His research interests include sustainable travel, sports tourism, film tourism, dark tourism, slum tourism and travel motivations.

Further reading:

Renewable energy: something to sing loudly about?

Recycled 18-foot bee sculpture to stand among festivalgoers at Glastonbury

Environment

How to be More eco-Responsible in 2018

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Shutterstock / By KENG MERRY Paper Art | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kengmerrymikeymelody

Nowadays, more and more people are talking about being more eco-responsible. There is a constant growth of information regarding the importance of being aware of ecological issues and the methods of using eco-friendly necessities on daily basis.

Have you been considering becoming more eco-responsible after the New Year? If so, here are some useful tips that could help you make the difference in the following year:

1. Energy – produce it, save it

If you’re building a house or planning to expand your living space, think before deciding on the final square footage. Maybe you don’t really need that much space. Unnecessary square footage will force you to spend more building materials, but it will also result in having to use extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity in it.

It’s even better if you seek professional help to reduce energy consumption. An energy audit can provide you some great piece of advice on how to save on your energy bills.

While buying appliances such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, make sure they have “Energy Star” label on, as it means they are energy-efficient.

energy efficient

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By My Life Graphic

Regarding the production of energy, you can power your home with renewable energy. The most common way is to install rooftop solar panels. They can be used for producing electricity, as well as heat for the house. If powering the whole home is a big step for you, try with solar oven then – they trap the sunlight in order to heat food! Solar air conditioning is another interesting thing to try out – instead of providing you with heat, it cools your house!

2. Don’t be just another tourist

Think about the environment, as well your own enjoyment – try not to travel too far, as most forms of transport contribute to the climate change. Choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport that you can, as well as environmentally friendly accommodation. If you can go to a destination that is being recommended as an eco-travel destination – even better! Interesting countries such as Zambia, Vietnam or Nicaragua are among these destinations that are famous for its sustainability efforts.

3. Let your beauty be also eco-friendly

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Shutterstock / By Khakimullin Aleksandr

We all want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes (or very often) it comes with a price. Cruelty-free cosmetics are making its way on the world market but be careful with the labels – just because it says a product hasn’t been tested on animals, it doesn’t  mean that some of the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on some poor animal.

To be sure which companies definitely stay away from the cruel testing on animals, check PETA Bunny list of cosmetic companies just to make sure which ones are truly and completely cruelty-free.

It’s also important if a brand uses toxic ingredients. Brands such as Tata Harper Skincare or Dr Bronner’s use only organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging, as well as being cruelty-free. Of course, this list is longer, so you’ll have to do some online research.

4. Know thy recycling

People often make mistakes while wanting to do something good for the environment. For example, plastic grocery bags, take-out containers, paper coffee cups and shredded paper cannot be recycled in your curb for many reasons, so don’t throw them into recycling bins. The same applies to pizza boxes, household glass, ceramics, and pottery – whether they are contaminated by grease or difficult to recycle, they just can’t go through the usual recycling process.

People usually forget to do is to rinse plastic and metal containers – they always have some residue, so be thorough. Also, bottle caps are allowed, too, so don’t separate them from the bottles. However, yard waste isn’t recyclable, so any yard waste or junk you are unsure of – just contact rubbish removal services instead of piling it up in public containers or in your own yard.

5. Fashion can be both eco-friendly and cool

Believe it or not, there are actually places where you can buy clothes that are eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as ethical. And they look cool, too! Companies like Everlane are very transparent about where their clothes are manufactured and how the price is set. PACT is another great company that uses non-GMO, organic cotton and non-toxic dyes for their clothing, while simultaneously using renewable energy factories. Soko is a company that uses natural and recycled materials in making their clothes and jewelry.

All in all

The truth is – being eco-responsible can be done in many ways. There are tons of small things we could change when it comes to our habits that would make a positive influence on the environment. The point is to start doing research on things that can be done by every person and it can start with the only thing that person has the control of – their own household.

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Energy

Top 5 Changes You can Make in Your Life to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

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Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love? - Image from Shutterstock - https://www.shutterstock.com/g/thodonal88

In a world, where war rages and global warming threatens our very existence, the inhabitants of earth need to be extra vigilant in their efforts to go green. This includes reducing your carbon footprint on the earth and leading a more sustainable life.

Many homeowners feel perplexed by all of the options available to reduce their carbon footprint. They may even feel (falsely) that making their household more green will fail to make that much of a difference in the fight to save our planet.

Even a single home going green has a massive impact on the environment. We can win this battle on home at a time. If you’re interested in accepting the challenge of making your household a green home, read on below for a few of the top changes you can make in your life to reduce your carbon footprint. We all stand to benefit from making the earth safer for future generations – and your wallet won’t complain when you start to see the savings in annual energy costs.

Switch From Dirty Energy to Clean Solar

The ION Solar reviews tell it all–solar is the best way to go. Whether your goal is to slash your energy bills, or to reduce your carbon footprint, the sun is a fantastic source of renewable energy.

It’s important to get past the hype from solar installers. Instead, listen to the plethora of impartial customer reviews that mention everything from a $20 energy bill, to the incredible feeling of knowing that you are doing your part by going green and minimizing harmful emissions in to our atmosphere.

The average investment is $15,000 to $30,000 for installation and purchase of solar panels. Optional battery power packs can help provide consistent power during both night and day. And many government agencies provide federal, state or local grants to help offset upfront investments in clean energy.

Depending on which installed you choose, your household may qualify for low-interest or zero interest loans to cover the up-front cost of your installation. And the loan payments are usually less than your current monthly power bill.

It really is a win-win, as home buyers are looking for homes that feature this technology – meaning solar power installation improves the resale value of your property.

Home Modifications

And there are a number of additional home modifications that can help improve the energy efficiency of your home. A programmable thermostat can better manage energy consumption from home cooling and heating systems while you’re away from home. And weather stripping your doors can help keep cool air in during the summer, and warm air in during the winter.

Of course, energy conservation starts at home. And this includes setting a powerful example for your kids. Teach your children how to close windows, strategically keep doors open or closed based on airflow, and encourage them to leave the thermostat alone – opting for adding or removing layers of clothing instead.

Unplug Appliances and Shut Off Electronics

Unplugging your appliances when they aren’t in use, such as the toaster and the coffee maker, has more of an impact than you might think. Set your TVs and stereos on sleep timers, instead of letting them run around the clock. The cumulative impact of wasteful electronic device usage is horrible for our environment – putting unnecessary strain on our electrical grid.

Recycle

One of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by recycling. You are already throwing this stuff away anyway, right? It doesn’t take much more effort to just put recyclables in a separate container to be recycled, now does it?

Oh, and did I mention that you can earn money for recycling? Yes! Many cities and towns have recycling centers that will purchase your clean plastic and glass bottles for reuse.

Minimize Your Water Usage

Water is one of the easiest things to forget about when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. Preserve water by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Shorten your shower by a few minutes and turn down the heat on that water heater. You’ll be surprised at how much lower your water bill and your energy bill will be.

Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love?

These are just a few of the top ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and start living a greener lifestyle. And we aren’t factoring in all of the advantages that we’ll reap from public investments in a smarter energy grid.

From decreasing your water usage, to switching to solar for your home’s energy needs, you will feel good at the end of the day knowing you are doing your part to save the future of this planet for generations to come!

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