Green Guardians: Artists and activists
The Green Guardians Guide, spearheaded by the Green Events and Innovations Conference and IQ Magazine, is a new yearly iniative highlighting some of the work being done around the world to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business.
The inaugural list features 60 entries across ten categories, selected by the Green Guardians committes, which includes representatives from some of the sector’s most respected bodies, such as A Greener Festival, Go Group, Green Music Initiative, Julie’s Bicycle and Vision:2025.
Following on from the event infrastructure pioneers featured earlier this week, this edition of Green Guardians looks at the artists and acvtivists doing their bit to make the world a cleaner and better place.
Artists and activists
Norwegian artist Marte Wulff was originally driven by a simple desire to make sustainability and environmental issues more mainstream from an artistic perspective.
“My ethos is that we need to speak up about what we can do as individuals and as an industry, even though it’s hard and uncomfortable,” she tells IQ. “We have the possibility right now to go ahead and define our own industry before nature or someone else does it for us.”
Wulff tours mainly by train or boat, and focuses on quality and sustainability before quantity. She asks all venues for low-carbon solutions in every part of the production, from food and drinks to transport, accommodation, promotion, etc. She makes and releases carbon neutral music videos, and when making physical albums, she puts pressure on suppliers to offer the most ethical products with the lowest carbon footprint, all the way from the paper used on the vinyl, to cutting out plastic and avoiding unnecessary or unethically produced merchandise.
“My ethos is that we need to speak up about what we can do as individuals and as an industry, even though it’s hard and uncomfortable”
Greenbelt believes passionately in the ability of individuals to come together and make a change – hence winning the 2020 International A Greener Festival Community Action Award.
Committed to halving its carbon footprint by 2025, Greenbelt continually examines all aspects of sustainability within the festival, while also sharing lessons with the wider industry to inspire others to also make changes. Greenbelt’s activities range from halving fuel usage, to introducing bamboo wristbands, and even discovering the success that Bin Fairies can have on recycling rates.
Greenbelt 2020 was planned single-use plastic free (apart from cable ties, which it is still working on) and this is ambition will be retained for 2021 when fully electric crew and artist buggies will be onsite.
“If you’re looking to improve your green credentials, focus on just a couple of things at a time – you can’t fix everything in one go,” says Greenbelt’s Mary Corfield. “Transport is a great place to start – how festivalgoers, artists and kit get to site, is a huge part of the emissions from every event.”
“If you’re looking to improve your green credentials, focus on just a couple of things at a time”
MaiNoi is a Romanian NGO that specialises in sustainability, environmental communications and education campaigns for youth, at national and international level.
It has successfully pioneered sustainable events management at music festivals in Romania, through a five-year environmental programme developed at Electric Castle festival, which reduced the carbon footprint of the event and created thousands of agents of change from the audience, artists, and the festival’s ecosystem.
Other notable projects initiated by MaiNoi are the Music Drives Change campaign, which encouraged musicians to act as sustainability champions; as well as the “eco-ambassadors” behavioural and policy-change campaign to promote cycling as an alternative means of transportation and to push for the adoption of a cycling law in Romania.
The advice MaiNoi gives to those who want to improve their green credentials is to believe in their power, to make an impact at their scale, and to drive all their energy towards this objective: walking the sustainability path pays off sooner rather than later, and opens up wonderful opportunities for personal and collective evolution along the way.
Walking the sustainability path opens up wonderful opportunities for personal and collective evolution
RAW Ltd exists to do one simple thing: help create a world free of pointless plastic, one stainless steel bottle at a time. The organisation intends to help make this happen while having a lot of fun along the way. Every bottle sold not only tackles single-use plastics, but also makes partner brands look amazing. Whilst also helping to fund RAW Foundation’s campaign work globally on this critical issue, and supports its aim of eliminating single-use plastic by 2030.
RAW was co-founded by campaigner Melinda Watson, the founder of sister organisation RAW Foundation; the folks behind Shambala Festival; and Ed Gillespie, founder of global sustainability consultancy and creative change agency, Futerra.
RAW bottles are made of stainless steel, which will not leach, stain or react with the bottles’ contents. The vessels are durable, reusable, light, easy to carry and virtually indestructible.
The company has already eliminated the use of countless plastic bottles and is busy persuading others, to help it toward its 2030 goals.
RAW Ltd exists to do one simple thing: help create a world free of pointless plastic, one stainless steel bottle at a time
In the late ’90s, a group of like-minded people met and bonded over a shared love of music, good times, and a thirst for questioning the world. They threw a lot of parties, including Afrika Jam – a regular live African night, which they took on national tour in support of charity People & Planet.
Shambala quickly followed with 100 folk, a couple of toilets, and a farmer’s trailer for a stage. There was no real plan for the future, but people had a good time, so it was repeated again and again. Twenty years later Shambala is still going strong.
Shambala is committed to being as environmentally sustainable as possible. The carbon footprint of the festival has been reduced by over 80%, achieved 100% renewable power, become meat- and fish-free and has eradicated disposable plastics. The organisation is more than five times carbon positive, and it works with a large network of charities to generate income.
Shambala is committed to being as environmentally sustainable as possible
Sebastian Fleiter’s grandfather taught him to use things up to the very end, and then try to repurpose them, “Later on, while staying in the US as a teenager, I learned about a first nations ancient language. This language had no word for ‘trash’… Everything used was part of an everlasting circle. That blew my mind.”
One of Fleiter’s best-known projects is The Electric Hotel – a recycled, 1960s Airstream trailer capable of mass-charging over 1,000 mobile phones simultaneously, with energy generated on-site at music festivals and other events all over Europe. The installation can provide enough power for small bands to perform in the middle of nowhere.
“I ask myself two questions when using something – the clothes I wear, electricity I use, the melon in the supermarket, a smart phone, a hairbrush, a search engine, pens, my knowledge, fossil fuel, the keyboard I am writing this on, or the coins in my pocket. The questions are very simple: Where does it come from? Where does it go?”
Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 90, or subscribe to the magazine here