Meetings & Convention News: Green Events & Festivals: A Circle Training for Sustainability
When people go camping for a party, many of them don’t think about what happens to all the stuff they leave behind.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people go to festivals. They throw away huge amounts of trash, broken tents, and camping gear.
A good example is the recently concluded Glastonbury Festival in England.
There isn’t much information about sustainability at events around the world yet, but Jacob Bilabel says there is “a systemic imbalance.”
He started the Green Music Initiative, a think tank in Berlin that encourages music events that are good for the environment.
An open-air concert or fair can be a place to try out new ideas for making things more sustainable. This is “circle training for sustainability”.
It has a message for those attending events.
Music events face a lot of the same problems with sustainability as the rest of society but on a smaller scale. These problems include energy production, resource use, mobility, and a circular economy.
A study of how events affect the environment in the UK found that about 5 million liters of diesel are used each year by the 3 million people who go to festivals there.
After a long weekend, the life cycle study shows that about 100,000 tons of CO2 were released into the air, including those from transportation.
A small village makes that much in a whole year.
France has twice as many people at music festivals as the United States, which has more than 10 times as many.
When 80,000 people go to an event over the course of a weekend, they leave about as much trash as a city of the same size does in a year.
Trash is more than just packing, one-time-use utensils, promotional materials, and decorations. A lot of trash is the camping factor.
Every year at music events in the UK, about a quarter of a million broken tents are left behind, and most of them end up in a dump.
Most tents are mostly made of plastic and weigh about 3.5 kilograms. That’s the same as 8,750 straws and 250 beer cups.
Tents don’t last very long, especially ones that were made cheaply.
So, a good first step to making events better for the environment is to buy a stronger tent that will last longer than one party weekend.
Some organizers have a place where tents can be left, and a crew goes through them and fixes the ones that only have small problems so they can be used again the next year.
Others start out with their own tent towns that festival-goers can rent every year.
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