Laura Klein, Green Festival Coordinator, can help your event become more environmentally sustainable.
Now that summer is in full swing, there is an abundance of festivals and events taking place across the Lake Simcoe Watershed. Whether you want to attend an event focused on community, art, music, or food, there are lots of fantastic options available for summer fun.
While all of these festivals and events produce enjoyable experiences and memories for those attending, unfortunately they may also produce extreme amounts of waste and other negative environmental impacts.
Organizing a greener festival can allow festival managers to improve their reputation, save money, and make responsible and sustainable decisions. If you have ever wondered how to organize a more environmentally sustainable festival, now is your chance to get some help with it!
This summer, through a Ministry of Environment and Climate Change project, in partnership with Ryerson University, festival managers in the Lake Simcoe Watershed can get direct support while planning and organizing their events. Whether the goal is to reduce waste, improve sustainable transportation options, or begin to reduce dependence on bottled water, there is assistance available.
As the Green Festival Coordinator for this project, I will provide best practices and ideas from other festivals, suggestions specific to your festival’s goals, and other one on one support as needed.
There is also a free guide that has been developed specifically to assist festival managers in the Lake Simcoe Watershed with their greening efforts. You can visit it here: http://greenfestivals.ca
Working to be more environmentally sustainable doesn’t have to cost you more money or large amounts of extra work. Some simple and low-cost ideas that may work at your festival include:
• Providing an area for secure bike parking to encourage less driving
• Having volunteers at waste stations to sort and ensure all materials end up in the proper compost, recycling, or landfill bin
• Using a website to provide event details and maps instead of printed materials
• Allowing local environmental groups and charities to have information booths
• Encouraging attendees to bring reusable water bottles and litter-free snacks
One festival that provides an outstanding example of what can be achieved is the Mariposa Folk Festival. Every year this festival does something new to continue to reduce the impact the event is having on the environment. This year the festival offered t-shirt merchandise options that were certified fair-trade, organic cotton, and Canadian-made.
This was also the first year that the festival had a Green Team education booth, aimed to teach all festival-goers about how their behaviour at the festival impacts the environment. This education booth was able to provide outreach and education to hundreds of festival-goers. This initiative involved very little cost, but was instrumental in spreading the word about Mariposa being free of one-time use water bottles and to let people know that all cups, cutlery and plates provided by vendors were completely compostable.
Festival-goers were also given the opportunity to give feedback and suggestions on greening ideas for next year.
If you are a festival or event manager needing ideas and support to reduce your environmental impact, there are resources available to you. Please feel free to contact me as you work to manage a greener festival!