There’s an undeniable truth that humanity is causing a lot of hurt to Mother Earth. As more people realize this fact, the niches for “being green” are becoming more populated than ever before. Some festivals such as Summer Camp Music Festival, Coachella, Outside Lands, Lightning in a Bottle, and ARISE (just to name a few) have taken initiatives to be worthy of being called a “green festival”. However, what these festivals truly depend on, to be considered sustainable, is for their attendees to think green as well. This festival season, let’s be the most eco-conscious generation that’s ever lived and maybe together we can start making global change.
Here are tons of easy tips to be nice to Mother Earth during your festival tour.
Minimize & Carpool
As almost a no-brainer, the easiest way to make your festival tour more eco-friendly is to carpool to and from the festival. If you insist on driving, try to pack as many people as comfortably possible in your car. Splitting gas costs between more people uses less fossil fuel, makes the economics of the trip more affordable, and it’s also a great opportunity to meet new friends. Additionally, if you can minimize the amount of stuff you bring along, your vehicle will have less weight in it, which means better gas mileage. Perhaps you have to rent a car – consciously look for a car with better MPG and more compact. If you’re flying in, do your research on eco-conscious airlines (Virgin America, United, JetBlue, Delta in that order).
Choose festivals that are eco-friendly and make obvious effort to be sustainable
There are hundreds of festivals across the globe, but only a few have made conscious effort to cut back waste. Take ARISE Festival in Colorado for example: they plant a tree for each ticket sold. Envision in Costa Rica has their Leave No Trace initiative coupled with a ban on plastic water bottles. If a festival is considered “eco-friendly”, they will most likely have a page on their website that describes exactly how they are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint.
Bring reusable or recyclable materials
Avoid the SOLO cups if you can, and definitely bypass the styrofoam when shopping for supplies. Gather some reusable items such as water bottles, plates (which you can simply rinse off after you’re done using), and a towel instead of paper towels and plates. If you just don’t think it’s realistic for you, then by all means buy the plastic and paper supplies, but please make sure you are putting it in the recycling bins located around the festival grounds at the end of the weekend. If the quality of water on the festival grounds is questionable, rather than stocking up on plastic water bottles, know that there are lots of affordable, reusable water bottles with filters built in.
Share between people/friends/nearby campsites
Speaking of campsite supplies, many of the items not used during the festival just go to waste. Either bring just enough that you know you’ll need, or take the opportunity to share your supplies with your neighbors if you do happen to bring too much. Really it just comes down to reducing the trash you create.
Charge your phones, lanterns, and other electronics on solar panels
Everyone should have a solar panel regardless. Solar panels come in use for so many different scenarios, so imagining all of its potential uses for a festival is easy. Don’t be caught tied up to a charging station when your phone finally dies. Why not have a solar panel that is working all day off the energy of the sun rather than sucking more electricity out of the festival’s supply? There’s truly no downside to this one.
Donate unwanted goods
Perhaps you didn’t go through all of your food, or for some reason there isn’t room for the tent when packing up or maybe you’re even just so burnt out from the weekend you can’t muster up the energy to pack it all up. Instead of leaving it on the grounds for volunteers and staff to pick up once everyone’s left, take it with you and drop it off at a local charity or Goodwill on your way home. It will most likely end up as trash if it’s just left behind, when there are plenty of people in need.
Bring fresh food without wrappers
It isn’t always the most convenient or easy thing to do, but if there’s an option to buy something fresh rather than preserved in a wrapper, take it. Fresh food is better for you and the environment.
You already fit food into your budget, so why not make it a conscious effort to buy locally? Avoid KFCs and McDonald’s chains while on the road to and from the festival – supporting the local population helps their economy and in turn, makes it more enjoyable for the community when the festival hits each year. And again, it’s better for you, the environment, and it takes the money out of corporate hands and into the hands of locals to feed their families with – meanwhile stopping your support for factory farming as well.
It’s always a more genuine feel for the place you’re in if you check into a hotel that’s locally owned, from the quaint little rooms to the friendly staff. However, in any hotel you can remain eco-conscious by doing simple things such as making sure the housekeeping staff knows to not wash all the linens every day and turning off all the lights when you leave for the festivities. Unplug any chargers or styling tools and turn down the heat/AC when you’re not in need of it. Also, take your trash to the hallway trash receptacles if you can to minimize the amount of plastic trashcan liners being thrown out.
There are so many ways to think about the environment when on your festival circuit this summer. I mean, we only have ONE planet and too many people in this world have proved themselves to be complacent when it comes to being eco-conscious. Think about it this way: if we continue on our destructive and ignorant path, there will be no more nature to hold festivals on. We will all have to wear toxic gas masks and SPF 1000 to dance to our favorite musicians. Okay, dramatic, but… possible, so make 2016 the year that you care more about Mama Earth.
Written By: Jaelyn Kohl