DGTL launches ‘Eco coin’ currency to reward sustainable behaviour

DGTL Amsterdam, the two-day electronic music festival held on April 15 and 16, is announcing new plans to become the world’s first circular festival. Since its conception in 2012, sustainability has been an integral part of the festival’s program to increase visitors’ awareness of climate change.

In 2016, the organization chose to substantially reduce its carbon footprint by “going veggie”, announcing it would no longer serve meat. Furthermore; the entire festival is powered by green energy; plastic is recycled on-site to create new products; and even visitors’ urine is reclaimed to be used as garden fertilizer. These are but a few examples of the sustainability projects launched from DGTL’s ‘Revolution’ program. This year however, DGTL’s goal is not to raise awareness, but to send out a call to action; urging visitors to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.

To help set this in motion, DGTL has partnered up with Next Nature Network to introduce “The ECO Coin”. The world’s first ecological currency. With this new digital currency, we plan to reward all visitors for their sustainable actions. By participating in one of the many Revolution projects or workshops, DGTL’s festivalgoers will now earn ECOs. In turn, their ECOs will unlock special rewards like free sustainable food, music-downloads, unique products, discounts and even access to the ‘TBA-secret area’.

ECOs can be earned at various parts of the festival, for instance at DGTL DOWNTOWN; a new area where several sustainability projects and art come together. At DOWNTOWN, DGTL envisions our near future in which waste is non-existent, a fully circular economy has been implemented, clean energy is generated locally and our food system has received a sustainable upgrade.

ECOs can also be obtained at “The Future of Food”, where Dutch food pioneers will serve some of the ingredients that could soon become part of our staple diet. At the Future of Food, DGTL forwards to the year 2050, when, so it is claimed, there will be insufficient agricultural lands to feed the entire world’s population. Here, DGTL offers visitors a taste of the adjusted, alternative, and entirely new foods which could become the mainstays of tomorrow’s mealtimes.

Simultaneous with the ECO Coin launch, DGTL will begin the indexation of all of its in- and outgoing resources. In the “Material Flow Index”, all plastic, cardboard, glass, organics, wood and metal will be indexed in order to keep track of whether all materials used for and on the festival will be processed sustainably. At the festival, visitors will find that “Resource Collection Points” (RCP’s) have replaced the waste bins, signaling the transition to a circular economy.

With its new course of action and the many sustainable initiatives, DGTL hopes to set an example for the fast-growing international festival industry. With expansions to Barcelona (since 2015) and the first DGTL São Paulo edition planned for May this year, the organization has begun creating an international network of sustainable events. Altogether, DGTL’s sustainable call to action is set to reach hundreds of thousands of young people.

ANOTHER PLANET?

EU1The European Union will “vastly overshoot” its Paris climate pledges unless its coal emissions are completely phased out within 15 years, a stress test of the industry has found. Coal’s use is falling by about 1% a year in Europe but still generates a quarter of the continent’s power – and a fifth of its greenhouse gas emissions. If Europe’s 300 coal plants run to the end of their natural lifespans, the EU nations will exceed their carbon budget for coal by 85%, according to a report by the respected thinktank Climate Analytics. It says the EU would need to stop using coal for electricity generation by 2030. More here.   Renewable energy sources made up nearly nine-tenths of new power added to Europe’s electricity grids last year, in a sign of the continent’s rapid shift away from fossil fuels. But industry leaders said they were worried about the lack of political support beyond 2020, when binding EU renewable energy targets end.

The Guardian reports that oil giant Shell issued a stark warning of the catastrophic risks of climate change more than a quarter of century ago in a prescient 1991 film that has been rediscovered. However, since then the company has invested heavily in highly polluting oil reserves and helped lobby against climate action, leading to accusations that Shell knew the grave risks of global warming but did not act accordingly. Shell’s 28-minute film, called Climate of Concern, was made for public viewing, particularly in schools and universities. It warned of extreme weather, floods, famines and climate refugees as fossil fuel burning warmed the world. The serious warning was “endorsed by a uniquely broad consensus of scientists in their report to the United Nations at the end of 1990”, the film noted.
The hamburger chain Burger King has been buying animal feed produced in soy plantations carved out by the burning of tropical forests in Brazil and Bolivia, according to a new report. Jaguars, giant anteaters and sloths have all been affected by the disappearance of around 700,000 hectares (1,729,738 acres) of forest land between 2011 and 2015. The campaign group Mighty Earth says that evidence gathered from aerial drones, satellite imaging, supply-chain mapping and field research shows a systematic pattern of forest-burning.  Photo of a sloth by G Dallorto.

The UN’s climate chief has been unable to secure a meeting with the US state department as Donald Trump’s administration mulls whether to withdraw the US from the international climate effort. Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is currently in the US and has sought a meeting with Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, and other officials over the commitment of the new administration to global climate goals.

One in five species on Earth now faces extinction, and that will rise to 50% by the end of the century unless urgent action is taken. That is the stark view of the world’s leading biologists, ecologists and economists who will gather on Monday to determine the social and economic changes needed to save the planet’s biosphere. “The living fabric of the world is slipping through our fingers without our showing much sign of caring,” say the organisers of the Biological Extinction conference held at the Vatican this week.

An EU review has revealed multiple failings by the UK in applying environmental law, on the same day that the commission escalated its action against Britain for breaching air pollution limits. Britain has been in breach of EU nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limits since 2010, with London overshooting its annual air pollution limit for the whole of 2017 in just the first five days. The Guardian understands that a “reasoned opinion” will now be sent on 15 February to the UK and four other countries: Germany, France, Italy and Spain. If a satisfactory response is not received within two months, a case at the European court could follow.

The plight of the hedgehog in Britain appears to be worsening, with a new survey revealing a further decline in garden sightings. The spiky creature was once a common sight, with the population estimated at 30 million in the 1950s. But that has plummeted to fewer than one million today, with a third of this loss thought to have taken place in the past decade. The latest survey, conducted with more than 2,600 people by BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, found that 51% of people did not see a hedgehog at all in 2016, up from 48% in 2015. Just 12% saw a hedgehog regularly.

Supplements of healthy fats could be an immediate way of cutting the harm caused to billions around the world by air pollution, according to emerging research. However, the research also shows air pollution particles can penetrate through the lungs of lab animals into many major organs, including the brain and testicles. This raises the possibility that the health damage caused by toxic air is even greater than currently known. The new research on mice showed that omega-3 fatty acids (OFAs), found in flax, hemp and fish oils, can both prevent and treat the inflammation and oxidative stress caused by air pollution, with the OFAs delivering a 30-50% reduction in harm.

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Earth Day – Save the Date: Saturday, April 22, 2017 6tgh Annual Rock The Green from 12:00PM-2:00PM

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Festival and Event Industry Tackle Sustainability, Social Division & Censorship

gei_transparent_logo2017-copyWith just 2 weeks to go until A Greener Festival and the ILMC’s eagerly awaited Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI9), London’s Royal Garden Hotel, 7th March, the full line up of top speakers and sessions has been released.

The live event and festival industry are coming together to tackle issues of sustainability and the role that the global live events industry must take in the face of perceived political and social divisions, and artistic censorship.

GEI9 will debate issues from site design and infrastructure, sustainable set and stage design, the impact of fireworks and special effects on the environment, what Brexit and the current political environment means for events, and how censorship and oppression of musicians is reported to have doubled between 2015 and 2016.

This is set to be a pivotal event of lively, challenging and meaningful exchanges.

The UK’s Sustainability Conference for Festivals and Events is back on Tuesday 7th March 2017

GEI9 is A Greener Festival’s annual flagship event delivered in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC). Each year welcoming diverse and inspiring speakers and projects from around the world to gather and challenge the way we deliver events towards a better impact for our environment and society.
The theme for GEI9 is “Sustainable Design”. The art of creating every aspect of great events involves both creativity and impeccable production techniques. By instilling ecological, economic and social principles in to all aspects of event design in conception, communication, implementation and review, necessary changes can be achieved.

GEI 9 will explore how sustainable design is being applied to operations, artwork, infrastructure and management, to align events with our natural and technological environment in the 21st century.

This is in addition to the usual program of the most current innovations and developments at festivals and events from around the world, including those assessed by A Greener Festival.

Keynote: Designing Sustainability into the DNA of Events
Lucy Legan, Co-founder, Ecocentro IPEC (BR)

Ecocentro IPEC in Brazil is the largest reference centre of sustainability in Latin America, and demonstrates scalable models of social technologies. Keynote speaker, Lucy Legan MSc, has played an integral role in environmental education in Brazil and is a best-selling author of educational books on sustainability literacy.

Since 2006, Lucy has collaborated with Boom Festival, Portugal, as it transitions to a model of sustainability by implementing permaculture edible gardens for festival-goers, natural construction, composting during the festival on a large-scale (with 90 tons composted on-site during the last edition), and by co-ordinating a highly efficient waste-management team.
Many festivals and events are taking on the challenge of innovation in sustainability. A new paradigm of sustainable and responsible events takes into account the dynamic elements potentially acting as a laboratory for change. The future of green events is in the hands of event producers and event attendees.

Permaculture design offers a framework for thinking and designing sustainable festivals and events, where new economies, ecological landscapes, scaled technological solutions, transition strategies and social redesign can be tried out in a temporary autonomous zone.

Panel: Get Lithe Leccy! Smart Design of Event Energy

Paul Schurink (ZAP Concepts, NL) | Steve Muggeridge (Green Gathering, UK) | Tim Benson (Hybrid Energy Consultant, UK)

Which festival stakeholders need to be involved in changing an event’s energy sources and how should we go about persuading traditional energy suppliers used to providing diesel generators, to completely rethink their business model?

Paul Schurink is an expert in the field of temporary energy supply, sustainability and innovations and has been involved with a variety of large-scale events including the Olympic Games and UEFA EURO 2012. He will present a case study of Zap’s work with DGTL BCN festival in Spain.

Joining Paul will be environmentally conscious event organiser and sustainable event veteran, Steve Muggeridge, of iconic Green Gathering fame, who will reveal how the event’s team go about designing the site layout, their use of power hubs, and even the programming of the entertainment, in order that the entire festival is run on renewable energy.


Launch: The Smart Energy for Outdoor Festivals Guide
Chris Johnson, Powerful Thinking, Shambala Festival (UK)

Five years on from the launch of The Power Behind Festivals Guide, Powerful Thinking has released a comprehensive update to their indispensable industry energy guide – Smart Energy for Outdoor Festivals. And what’s more, this eagerly awaited guide will be exclusively launched by Chris Johnson, during GEI9.

Presentation: Latest Actions & Challenges for Greener Festivals
Claire O’Neill, Co-Founder, A Greener Festival (UK)

Following the assessment of 25 festivals across 11 countries in 2016, A Greener Festival will provide insight into the latest developments and key challenges that events are experiencing in the pursuit of sustainability, and will also be launching the Greener Festival Assessment Report.

Presentation: What Next? Environmental Policy Post-Brexit
Amy Mount, Head of Greener UK Unit & Senior Energy Policy Advisor, Green Alliance (UK)

Greener UK is a group of 13 major environmental organisations with a combined public membership of 7.9 million, united in the belief that the UK leaving the EU will provide us with a pivotal moment to restore and enhance the UK’s environment.

Amy Mount will offer insights into the risks and opportunities that Brexit poses to UK environmental policy, and the work of Greener UK, which includes NGOs such as WWF, Greenpeace, National Trust and the Woodland Trust.

Panel: Wider Environment – Nationalism & Climate Change Denial 
Fruzsina Szép, Yourope (DE) | Holger Jan Schmidt, Co-founder, GO Group (DE) | Stephen Budd, Stephen Budd Music (UK) | Ivan Milivojev, Exit Festival (RS) | Amy Mount, Green Alliance (UK) 

Green events are about more than just lowering our environmental impact. In this session, we will look at the social and cultural effects of recent global political developments, and what role events might play.

Fruzsina Szép will share the actions of European festival association, Yourope, and their recent Take a Stand initiative, aimed at encouraging festival promoters to foster values of “social togetherness, understanding and tolerance for all cultures, genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, colours and origins.”

Fruzsina will be joined by renowned artist manager, Stephen Budd, who will be sharing his recent experiences of artist censorship and oppression with us; along with Exit Festival’s Ivan Milivoje, GO Group’s Holger Jan Schmidt and Amy Mount from Green Alliance.

According to research from the FreeMuse annual report Art Under Threat, such cases have more than doubled since 2015. What action must we take, therefore, to protect our freedom to present an alternative, inclusive vision for society?

Panel: Sustainable Set & Stage Design
Chris Tofu, Continental Drifts (UK) | Bertie Cole, Arcadia Spectacular (UK) | Tim Leigh, Stage One (UK)

With the competition to create sets and stages that are more impressive, more elaborate, and more expensive to build, maintain and shift, this session will ask how innovative approaches to extravagant stage and set design can be delivered without a jarring waste of the world’s resources. Hear from the leading set and stage designers and builders about what techniques are being adopted to reduce the waste without loosing the artistic impact.

Panel: The Environmental Impact of Fireworks
Aymeric Lecomte, A Greener Festival/Bournemouth University (UK)

They might be visually impressive but what is the environmental impact of firework displays at events? Is there a legitimate cause for concern or does the bang really outweigh the bother?

Aymeric Lecomte presents the latest research on this controversial subject, and opens the debate for the future of special effects in the live entertainment industry.

Tom will present an industry and consultant’s view on the environmental issues surrounding the use of fireworks and pyrotechnics – and to try and dispel some of the myths that surround their use at events big or small.

Drawing on his experience as a chemist and having worked in the industry since his teenage years and latterly as a consultant to major events such as London NYE and the Olympics, Tom has a unique perspective on what the issues really are.

Panel: The Future World of Special Effects 
Patrick O’Mahoney, Newsubstance (UK) | Aymeric Lecomte, AGF (UK) | Dr Thomas Smith, Pyrotechnics Association (UK) | Dr Thomas Smith, British Pyrotechnics Association (UK) | Stuart Warren-Hill, HoloGauze (UK)

Having turned the spotlight on the environmental impact of fireworks and special FX, Dr Thomas Smith, Patrick and Aymeric will take a subsequent look at alternative methods of providing the wow factor at events without literally costing the earth.

From drones, lasers and holograms to mind boggling chemical compounds – what are the safe alternatives in the explosive world of special effects?

Panel: Designing Inputs for Greener Outputs 
Chris Cooke, CMU (UK) | Sid Sharma, Shambala Festival (UK) | Lucy Legan, Boom Festival (PT) | Mikkel Sander, Roskilde Festival (DK)

Smart events choose smart design. In this panel we will look at how infrastructure can be planned and delivered in a way that it will help events significantly lower their wastage of fuel, water, food, materials and resources.

Where | When

GEI9 will take place at the Royal Garden Hotel in London from 10:00 until 18:00 on Tuesday 7 March 2017. Immediately after the event, all GEI delegates are invited to attend a closing drinks event that will take place in the York Suite of the hotel for a chance to network, discuss the day’s events and enjoy a tipple or six.

Rooms 3 & 4, Lower Ground Floor, Royal Garden Hotel
2-24 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 4PT, UK
10:00 – 18:00, Tuesday 7 March 2017
Hosts: A Greener Festival | ILMC
Registration | Rates

A delegate pass for GEI costs £99 plus booking fee, with a discounted rate of £65 available to ILMC delegates, students, and members of AGF, AIF and Yourope. The ticket price includes a five-star lunch, refreshments, and a closing drinks party.

Please note that all our early-bird tickets are now sold-out.

ILMC delegates should tick the relevant box when registering for ILMC.

Members of AGF, AIF and Yourope are limited to two representatives per festival, and should contact hello@agreenerfestival.com.

Non-ILMC delegates should click here to register for GEI9.
To see footage and presentations from previous editions of GEI, click here.
For more information and tickets, click here.

ANOTHER PLANET?

droughteastafrica2016 was the hottest year on record, setting a new high for the third year in a row, with scientists firmly putting the blame on human activities that drive climate change. The final data for 2016 was released on Wednesday by the three key agencies – the UK Met Office and Nasa and Noaa in the US – and showed 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have been this century. Direct temperature measurements stretch back to 1880, but scientific research indicates the world was last this warm about 115,000 years ago and that the planet has not experienced such high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for 4m years. More on the Guardian here.

The world must not allow the Paris climate deal to be “derailed” or continue to inflict irreparable damage on the environment, Chinese president Xi Jinping has said, amid fears the rise of Donald Trump could strike a body blow to the fight against global warming. Trump, who will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, has threatened to pull out of the historic Paris agreement and dismissed climate change as a Chinese “hoax” and “expensive… bullshit”. But in an address to the United Nations in Geneva on Wednesday, which observers saw as a high-profile bid to bolster China’s image as a reliable and dedicated climate leader, Xi issued a direct challenge to those views, warning “there is only one Earth in the universe and we mankind have only one homeland”.

Radiation levels inside a damaged reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station are at their highest since the plant suffered a triple meltdown almost six years ago. The facility’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), said atmospheric readings as high as 530 sieverts an hour had been recorded inside the containment vessel of reactor No 2, one of three reactors that experienced a meltdown when the plant was crippled by a huge tsunami that struck the north-east coast of Japan in March 2011.

Scotland is seeking to dramatically cut its reliance on fossil fuels for cars, energy and homes after setting a radical target to cut total climate emissions by 66% within 15 years. In one of the world’s most ambitious climate strategies, ministers in Edinburgh have unveiled far tougher targets to increase the use of ultra-low-carbon cars, green electricity and green home heating by 2032. The Scottish government has set the far higher target after its original goal of cutting Scotland’s emissions by 42% by 2020 was met six years early – partly because climate change has seen winters which are warmer than normal, cutting emissions for home heating.

babyorangMore than half of the world’s apes, monkeys, lemurs and lorises are now threatened with extinction as agriculture and industrial activities destroy forest habitats and the animals’ populations are hit by hunting and trade. In the most bleak assessment of primates to date, conservationists found that 60% of the wild species are on course to die out, with three quarters already in steady decline. The report casts doubt on the future of about 300 primate species, including gorillas, chimps, gibbons, marmosets, tarsiers, lemurs and lorises.

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore

The Trump administration is mandating that any studies or data from scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public. The communications director for Donald Trump’s transition team at the EPA, Doug Ericksen, said the review also extends to content on the federal agency’s website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth’s climate is warming and manmade carbon emissions are to blame. Former EPA staffers said on Wednesday the restrictions imposed under Trump far exceed the practices of past administrations.  And Donald Trump was sharply criticised by Native Americans and climate change activists  after he signed executive orders to allow construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. Both pipe projects had been blocked by Barack Obama’s administration, partly because of environmental concerns. But Trump has questioned the science of climate change and campaigned on a promise to expand energy infrastructure and create jobs.  The environmental movement is “the greatest threat to freedom and prosperity in the modern world”, according to an adviser to the US president Donald Trump’s administration. Myron Ebell, who has denied the dangers of climate change for many years and led Trump’s transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) until the president’s recent inauguration, also said he fully expected Trump to keep his promise to withdraw the US from the global agreement to fight global warming. The Republicans have backed off bill to sell 3.3m acres of public land after an outcry. Congressman Jason Chaffetz withdraws House bill 621 as conservationists and outdoorsmen vowed to continue fight over similar legislation. Chaffetz, a representative from Utah, wrote on Instagram that he had a change of heart in the face of strong opposition from “groups I support and care about” who, he said, “fear it sends the wrong message”.

Falling costs of electric vehicles and solar panels could halt worldwide growth in demand for oil and coal by 2020, a new report has suggested. A scenario that takes into account the latest cost reduction projections for the green technologies, and countries’ pledges to cut emissions, finds that solar power and electric vehicles are “gamechangers” that could leave fossil fuels stranded. Polluting fuels could lose 10% of market share to solar power and clean cars within a decade, the report by the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and the Carbon Tracker Initiative found.

Shell_oil_croppedBut ……. global demand for oil will still be growing in 2035 even with an enormous growth in electric cars in the next two decades, with numbers on the road rising from 1m to 100m, BP has predicted. The oil and gas giant predicted that despite electric cars spreading rapidly and renewable energy recording exceptional growth, oil demand would still rise because of rising prosperity in the developing world. BP said electric cars would not be a “gamechanger” for the oil industry. “It’s not Teslas and the US. It’s the fact that 2 billion people, much of that in Asia, are moving to middle incomes, can buy their first motor car and that drives up oil demand. It’s that stuff that really matters,” said Spencer Dale, BP group’s chief economist.

In the final week of January London was put on “very high” alert as cold and still weather, traffic, and a peak in the use of wood-burning stoves combined to send air pollution soaring in the capital – and across swaths of the UK. According to data from King’s College London, areas of London including Camden, the City of London and Westminster all reached 10 out of 10 on the air pollution index, with many other areas rated seven or higher.

A Greener Festival Announce 2016 European and US Award Winners

  • agf_award_2016-logo25 festivals across 13 countries awarded the Greener Festival Award for 2016.
  • 10thyear of the Greener Festival Awards
  • Tougher standards raise the bar and challenge events.
  • Awards presented at EPIC, Eurosonic Noorderslag, Netherlands.

A Greener Festival (AGF) have announced all 25 winners of the Greener Festival Award since the schemes relaunch in 2016. These are the first events to receive this prestigious award since it’s relaunch last year, with additional requirements of events who apply.

An Awards ceremony for winners was held at EPIC, Eurosonic Noorderslag, in partnership with Green Event Netherlands on Friday 13th January, 2017. AGF Director Teresa Moore presented certificates to winners including  Das Fest (Germany), Body & Soul (Ireland) and Glastonbury Festival (UK) (pictured left to right).

Co-Founder of AGF, Claire O’Neill said “Events who have achieved the Greener Festival Award 2016 have shown an incredible dedication to walking the talk, minimising the environmental impact of their events and using them as a positive and much needed portal for change. It has not at all been easy, with the most challenging assessments to face events in our 10 year history. We salute all of you!”

To participate festivals are required to complete a self-assessment looking at 11 categories of sustainability including travel & transport, waste, local ecosystems and external reach and behaviour. Independent AGF Auditors visit the event to inspect the actions on the ground, and work with the organisers post event to gather supporting evidence and data.

“After five years of raising the bar on the environmental and community impact of Green Music Fest, A Greener Festival challenged us to critically analyze all aspects of event operations. Bright Beat now brings this elevated level of awareness to all of our events, as ‘a rising bar lifts all festivals” said Stephanie Katsaros, Sustainability Director of Highly Commended Award winner, Green Music Fest (Chicago, USA) and Bright Beat Founder.

Green Music festival with their Award

Greenbelt UK

Nozstock the Hidden Valley

And the 2016 winners are:

OUTSTANDING
Boom Festival (Portugal)
We Love Green (France)

HIGHLY COMMENDED
Cambridge Folk Festival (UK)
DGTL Festival (Netherlands)
Glastonbury Festival (UK)
Green Music Fest (USA)
Heart of Glass Heart of Gold (France)
Øya Festival (Norway)
Welcome to the Future (Netherlands)

COMMENDED
Bona Nit Barcelona (Spain)
Das Fest (Germany)
Extrema Outdoors (Netherlands)
Greenbelt Festival (UK)
Kew the Music (UK)
Liberation Festival (Netherlands)
Malmofestivalen (Sweden)
Northside Festival (Denmark)
Primavera Sound (Spain)
Wood Festival (UK)

IMPROVERS
Arla Food Fest (Denmark)
Body & Soul (Eire)
LaSemo (Belgium)
Metal Days (Slovenia)
Nozstock: the Hidden Valley (UK)
Paradise City (Belgium)

An insight to what these events are doing, and what is on the horizon for sustainable events will be presented at the 9th annual Green Events & Innovations Conference, London, 7th March, in association with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC).

André Soares, Sustainability Designer of Boom Festival (Portugal) said Boom Festival 2016 was a great personal challenge and this award means more than you can imagine. I appreciate all the work [A Greener Festival] have done to increment the evaluation criteria and I believe the results of your work will have a lasting impact in the music and festival industry.”

Robert Gomez, Green Music Fest (Chicago, USA) Founder shared that, “Being ‘Highly Commended’ by A Greener Festival really validates Green Music Fest’s environmentally sustainable and socially responsible practices and, we hope, inspires other local festivals to consider doing the same.”

Artur Mendes, Boom Festival “”We are happy to get the award once again, for the 5th time in a row the Greener Festival auditors recognised Boom with the Outstanding prize. It is the only eco award for festivals that we give credibility as there is a team visiting the festivals and this year the evaluation was more thorough and detailed; Boom is totally independent, no sponsors, and engaging in sustainability is made strictly with our own resources and an amazing contribution of our fabulous Boomers. On the other hand, we are using the Boom experience to reforest the Boomland and act on many fronts such as charity, on the integration of people, and positively affect the surrounding area of the festival which is one of the poorest in Portugal with unemployment rate of 16% and more than 50% pensioners. We dedicate this award to all Boomers”.

ANOTHER PLANET?

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore

In the USA Democrats have promised to try to thwart the appointment of Scott Pruitt as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, amid fears within the agency that he will trigger an “unprecedented disaster” for America’s environment and public health. Donald Trump has nominated Pruitt to lead an agency he has sued multiple times in his role as attorney general of Oklahoma. Pruitt has vowed to dismantle serried environmental rules and is currently involved in a legal effort by 27 states to overturn Barack Obama’s clean power plan, the president’s centerpiece policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Giraffes have seen a 38% decline in their numbers since 1985, falling from about 157,000 to 97,500 today. They sadly join the “red list” compiled by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which has also added more than 700 newly recognised bird species, but 13 of these are already extinct. But there is good news in the list as well with the rediscovery of a few species thought to have been lost, such a Madagascan freshwater fish which had not been seen since the 1960s, and the recovery of the Seychelles white-eye bird after conservation efforts.

Google’s data centres and the offices for its 60,000 staff will be powered entirely by renewable energy from next year, in what the company has called a “landmark moment”. The Guardian reports that the internet giant is already the world’s biggest corporate buyer of renewable electricity, last year buying 44% of its power from wind and solar farms. Now it will be 100%, and an executive said it would not rule out investing in nuclear power in the future, too.

Paris had a second day of free public transport due to a spike in air pollution – and some cars were barred from the roads. The city is suffering its worst and most prolonged winter pollution for at least 10 years, the Airparif agency which measures the levels said on Wednesday. In the week Authorities said only drivers with odd-numbered registration plates can drive in the capital region on Wednesday. Drivers of even-numbered cars were given the same opportunity on Tuesday, but could now be fined up to €35 if they are caught behind the wheel. More than 1,700 motorists were fined for violations on Tuesday. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said images of smog blanketing the capital were proof of the need to reduce vehicle use in the city centre.

London mayor Sadiq Khan will  more than double funding to clean up the capital’s dirty air. London is one of the most polluted of dozens of cities in the UK that breach EU standards on nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic gas caused by diesel vehicles. Air pollution has been linked to nearly 9,500 premature deaths in the city each year. Funding for air quality measures over the next five years will be more than doubled to £875m, under new plans, up from the £425m committed under the former mayor Boris Johnson. Khan will has also promised to spend £770m on cycling initiatives over the course of his term, saying he wants to make riding a bike the “safe and obvious” transport choice for all Londoners.

Two prestigious organisations have warned that England may have tipped into deforestation, with more trees being cut down than planted for the first time in possibly 40 years. “We are only planting 700 hectares (1,730 acres) a year, almost certainly less than we are felling,” said Austin Brady, the conservation director of the Woodland Trust charity which, with commercial forestry groups, wants government to pledge to meet its planting targets at a parliamentary debate. Stuart Goodall, chief executive of Confor, the trade association for the UK forestry industry, said planting was at its lowest level in England in more than 40 years. “Forests are being lost to development and infrastructure; we are cutting a lot and planting so few, so it may be that England is technically deforesting,” said Goodall. More here.

The level of household waste which is recycled in the UK has fallen for the first time, figures have shown. The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs statistics show that 44.3% of household rubbish was recycled in 2015, down from 44.9% in 2014. It is the first fall since 2010 when monitoring began, though is still the second-highest annual rate on record. Waste company Biffa Municipal warned that recyclables that are not clean (where they are contaminated) can cause “lorry-loads” to be rejected. There is a European Union target for the UK to recycle at least 50% of household waste by 2020.
People working in green buildings think better in the office and sleep better when they get home, a new study has revealed. The research indicates that better ventilation, lighting and heat control improves workers’ performance and could boost their productivity by thousands of dollars a year. It also suggests that more subjective aspects, such as beautiful design, may make workers happier and more productive. An increasing number of green buildings are being constructed by developers as the cost and health benefits become better known, but this the first study to show such buildings can make their occupants brainier. The research analysed workers in certified green buildings in five US cities and compared them with other workers in the same cities employed in different offices owned by the same companies.

The world’s most widely used insecticides harm the ability of bees to vibrate flowers and shake out the pollen to fertilise crops, according to preliminary results from a new study. Some flowers, such as those of crops like tomatoes and potatoes, must be shaken to release pollen and bumblebees are particularly good at creating the buzz needed to do this. But the research shows that bumblebees exposed to realistic levels of a neonicotinoid pesticide fail to learn how to create the greatest buzz and collect less pollen as a result. The research is consistent with previous work that has shown neonicotinoid pesticides reduce learning and memory in bees. A moratorium on the use of three neonicotinoids on flowering crops was put in place in Europe in 2013 and will be reviewed next year.

The rogue practice of removing vital pollution filters from the exhausts of diesel vehicles has suffered a blow with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for the first time banning an advert for the service.