Monthly Archives: February 2009

Tickets are selling fast for Australia’s Greenfest

Ausyralia’s Greenfest is already 60% sold out for 2009. The event will take place between June 5th and June 7th at Brisbane’s  City Botanic Gardens and ver 100 exhibitors from most industries and government have committed to promote fresh thinking, new clean-tech products and innovative services for a cooler planet.  At current rates of commitment to the festival we expect to be sold out for 2009 before Easter. There is a planned free World Environment Day concert  and the line-up includes Ash Grunwald, Jeff Lang, Tame Impala, Kevin Borich, The Boat People and many more.  Greenfest also say that the Heart of Gold international film festival has joined Greenfest to promote the best of G and PG short films in a ‘free to the public’ screening under the stars at Greenfest on Queensland Day, Saturday 6th June. There will also be ‘Workshops for a cooler future and workshops will include topics such as Environmental education, CPRS, Transition towns, Holistic decision making and change capable leadership alongside practical interactive workshops for nutrition, organic cooking, cosmetics, tree planting and more. 


 Get into Greenfest at

It’s the high life for me … and you

If global warming continues at current rates we could live in a world of tower blocks on a few remaining islands within the next ninety years according to an interesting article in the New Scientist.  Researchers say that if the world warms by 4 centigrade – which many consider a conservative estimate – then by 2100 the worlds population would have to retreat from the largely uninhabitable equatorial and tropical zones to the North and South of the planet and much of the world’s population would be squeezed into high rise flats in Britain, Russia, Greenland and Scandanvia. Thank goodness I have a top floor flat at the moment, it could be a seaside dwelling soon.

UK record labels agree CO2 reduction targets

Julie’s Bicycle, the cross music industry organisation which seeks to reduce carbon emissions within the music industry, has gained the approval of every major record company, plus the Beggars Group, to establish a benchmark initial 10% reduction in C02 emissions from the manufacture of CD packaging in 2009. This significant agreement is just one of the commendations in a wide-reaching report which has brought together the music industry in a concerted effort to undertake joint initiatives to help alleviate the problems of climate change. Further initiatives involving studies into festival travel and venues/office buildings will be announced in due course. Initial research conducted  by Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute identified that CD packaging was one of the music industry’s largest sources of direct GHG emissions, accounting for at least 10% of total emissions from the UK music market. Further research from Arup identified that packaging emissions could be lowered by as much as 95% by the simple option of switching from plastic jewel cases to card wallets. In a further piece of research conducted by the Environmental Change institute half of consumers surveyed agreed that CDs should only be sold in environmentally-friendly card-based packaging whilst a significant proportion of CD buyers who stated a preference for plastic jewel cases said that a switch to card packaging would not make any difference to their decision to buy a CD. 73% of CD buyers stated that digipack packaging was equal to or better than the plastic jewel case. Almost half of CD buyers said that a recognizable environmental symbol of accreditation would give them a more positive view of the product. Consequently, Julie’s Bicycle developed the IG Mark (Industry Green Mark), which debuts on the recently released BRIT Awards CD.  The IG mark will be awarded to packaging demonstrating “evidenced commitment to carbon reduction and environmental responsibility”. BPI Chairman and Chairman of Julie’s Bicycle CD packaging group Tony Wadsworth said this week: “Carbon dioxide levels in the earth’s atmosphere are higher than at any time during the last 750,000 years. Climate change is undoubtedly the most urgent and complex problem of our age and we are compelled to do whatever we can to help solve it. Julie’s Bicycle has brought together the UK music industry in an unprecedented show of strength and commitment to undertake joint initiatives that will significantly reduce our CO2 emissions”. Professor Diana Liverman, Director of Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, said: “All sectors of the economy and society will need to contribute to solving the climate problem and the work of Julie’s Bicycle to reduce the carbon emissions of the music industry provides an example of how an industry can identify and implement emission reductions and sustainable praig-master1ctices.

The Big Womble

“Underground Overground wombling free, the Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we, making good use of the things that we find, things that the everyday folk leave behind”

I never saw a Womble (except on the BBC’s Top of The Pops) but clearly there are believers …. Debbie Harry has donated a T-shirt, actress Joanna Lumley has found an old armchair and tennis star Pat Cash is giving up an  old sofa for a raffle with a difference, all connected to the Womble ethos.  The trio were among a group of celebrities who donated furniture and other household items to THE BIG WOMBLE, an event promoting furniture reuse. Organised by the Furniture Reuse Network (FRN), the event at Wimbledon College, in London, encouraged people to become Wombles for the day by making good use of old furniture that they found. Every year, millions of perfectly good household items and pieces of furniture are thrown away in the UK, but many can be reused. Every tonne of furniture rescued from landfill saves an average of nearly three tonnes of carbon.  One of the highlights of the event, on February 20, was the raffle of items donated by celebrities, with money going towards FRN’s work to help people on low incomes get second-hand furniture and other household items.  VDebbie Harry said: “I’ve donated to the Big Womble because people who’ve been homeless need a helping hand and many of these organisations help with that.”  The London Community Recycling Network (LCRN), which is coordinating the event, encouraged Londoners to bring in old and unwanted furniture and household items to be refurbished and reused with the help of eco-friendly designer Ryan Frank. 
Image from the BBC

Fashionably green … reports that more than 300 fashion companies have signed up to code that aims to reduce the environmental impact of the rag trade which according to Lord Philip Hunt, Minister for Sustainability “represents a concerted effort from the fashion industry, including top names in the high street and manufacturers, to change the face of fashion”. The Sustainable Clothing Roadmap seeks to tackle some of the thorny issues associated with ‘throw away fashion’. Organisations involved in the project will not be tied to a single set of actions but all will make changes that will lead to social or environmental improvements. Key areas to be looked at include traceability in the supply chain, using more sustainable fibres and other materials, reducing waste and increasing recycling. According to government statistics the British clothing and textiles sector currently produces around 3.1 million tonnes of CO2, 2 million tonnes of waste and 70 million tonnes of waste water per year – with 1.5 million tonnes of unwanted clothing ultimately ending up in landfill. The minister also announced a review into ‘green’ labelling in what might be the start of a fightback against ‘greenwash’ claims by commercial concerns, orgnisations and even government.

Bumbershoot expands green goals

The 39th annual Bumbershoot, Seattle’s Music & Arts Festival is taking place over Labor Day Weekend (September 5 – 7, 2009). Advance 3-Day passes to the wallet-friendly and soul pleasing festival are on-sale now for $80 at The Festival fills the 74-acre Seattle Center, located beneath the city’s iconic Space Needle, and programs 20 indoor and unique outdoor venues. Bumbershoot features a diverse array of arts including live music, comedy, theatre, dance, film, urban crafts, and literary and visual arts. The Festival’s initial lineup will be announced later this Spring. Complete Festival details and ticket information are located at

Bumbershoot is a leader amongst festivals for its environmental initiatives. The carbon-neutral Festival has made conscious decisions to decrease its impact on the environment, while supporting the culture and community in which it resides. These tenets of sustainability have guided the event to annually re-examine basic operations and seek programming elements that incorporate messages of environmental sustainability and social responsibility. 

NEW IN 2009!
Bumbershoot is proud to announce the following new elements, expanding its current roster of green initiatives:  

While Bumbershoot has composted behind the scenes for years, 2009 Festival fans will be able to toss their compostables with confidence in select food areas. These bins will be monitored by trained volunteers to limit contamination and support compost and recycling education. Interested volunteers wanting to participate in this developing program should visit
Being green also includes acting responsibly and being involved within your community. New this year, the Festival has created Bumbershoot Gives Back, a program that supports other local non-profits and ultimately, a more sustainable community. Interested non-profits can apply to the Bumbershoot Gives Back program today at
The use of personal, non-disposable water bottles is highly encouraged at Bumbershoot. In addition to the free city drinking water found throughout the grounds, two NEW free water fill-up stations will be added to the Festival grounds in 2009 (expanding upon those introduced in Memorial Stadium in 2008). These stations will provide fans carrying  personal reusable bottles ample access to water throughout the grounds. Note: disposable bottles are not permitted inside Memorial Stadium; personal reusable bottles are allowed.
Bumbershoot welcomes Seattle’s celebrated Pike Place Market to the festival grounds, offering patrons local organic produce on the go! 
Soy inks will be used on 2009 Festival tickets, decreasing the use of petroleum-based inks.
Set in the middle of downtown Seattle, fans can access the Festival in a myriad of environmentally sound ways. For those needing to arrive by car, Bumbershoot offers easy $2 transportation offsets through NetGreen, a regional carbon offset partner. Everyone who purchases an offset can receive a free reusable canvas tote from NetGreen at the Festival. NetGreen also works with Bumbershoot to offset all of the artists‘ transportation to and from the Festival. All offset purchases support regional projects that work to eradicate future greenhouse gas emissions in the Pacific Northwest. Want to learn more? Visit NetGreen at Bumbershoot, or online at 
It’s important to take the first step towards sustainability by reducing overall consumption habits. Each year Bumbershoot re-examines the materials necessary to produce the Festival and works at reducing consumption where it’s possible to do so. This reduction has led to: fewer (and smaller) official programs and brochures (as well as printing on FSC-certified papers), recyclable banners made from recycled material, merchandise options that are created with organic cotton (reducing reliance on pesticides), a ban on the use of Styrofoam (since 1980), requirement of all Festival food vendors to participate in a pre-consumer compost plan, plus ample recycle bins around the grounds for patrons (reducing overall waste in 2008 by 7.5 tons). All patrons are encouraged to reduce in their own way by using alternate means of transportation and using personal non-disposable water bottles.

After reducing in all areas possible, the Festival looks at what can be reused. In 2009 Bumbershoot will continue to offer eco-friendly totes created by the reuse of select signage from previous years. Once stage backdrops and Festival banners are no longer reusable on the grounds, they’re donated to Alchemy Goods and are repurposed into two styles of personal eco-totes, for purchase at the 2009 Festival.

Once the first step to being “green,” recycling now falls near the end of the eco-chain, but remains a vital part of the Festival’s plans. Patrons will find recycling and compost bins provided throughout the grounds. In addition, all Festival food vendors are asked to compost pre-consumer food scraps and recycle their used cooking grease. In 2008, the Festival composted approximately 2 tons of food waste and recycled 7.5 tons of materials that would otherwise have headed for a landfill.

Post-consumer composting is new to Bumbershoot in 2009, and will rely on a team of trained volunteers to support compost education and minimize bin contamination. Volunteers wanting to actively contribute to the reduction of the Festival’s waste stream should visit

Bumbershoot’s unique urban setting allows attendees ample access to alternative transportation. Festival patrons not within walking distance of Seattle Center are encouraged to use one of the following transportation options: Seattle Center Monorail, King County Metro bus, Rideshare, carpool or bicycle. Those who carpool with 3 or more occupants will receive discounted parking rates at Seattle Center lots, while cyclists can take advantage of a free bike parking area located south of EMP SFM. 

With the wide array of arts featured at Bumbershoot, it’s inevitable that transportation is required for the many world-class performers, authors and artists that help make it such a popular destination. Until there are means of transportation that create zero emissions, Bumbershoot offsets all roundtrip artist transportation through  regional partner, NetGreen – a Pacific Northwest business focused on the power of sustainable actions taken by individuals ( While this action doesn’t negate the emissions caused by the artists‘ travel needs, it does proactively contribute to the reduction of future greenhouse gas emissions, equal to the approximate amount of emissions created by artist transportation; in 2008, Bumbershoot offset 251.5 tons of greenhouse gas for artist travel.

While patrons are strongly encouraged to travel to the Festival by alternative transportation, the opportunity to purchase personal carbon credits to offset individual travel is available on the Festival’s website ( as well as onsite at the NetGreen booth. A $2 carbon credit purchase will offset 367 lbs of carbon. In 2008, Bumbershoot patrons offset 6 tons of greenhouse gas through individual offset purchases. 

All carbon credit purchases will support regional projects in the Pacific Northwest including a methane capture project in Tillamook Bay, Oregon that will retain methane from up to 4,000 dairy cows. This specific project will prevent the especially potent greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere (noted to be up to 25x more potent than CO2) and will reclaim it for clean energy use within the local community. 

To power the Festival, Bumbershoot uses energy from Seattle City Light, a net-zero energy provider relying on 95% renewably sourced power. In addition, all Festival food vendors are required to recycle their used cooking grease, turning food waste into future fuel. Further renewable power can be evidenced in the Northwest Rooms; Bumbershoot’s visual arts exhibits are illuminated with the help of solar power.

Bumbershoot strives to provide a diverse entertainment potluck brimming with music, comedy, arts and performance. This m઼lange of artistry is created with the community’s tastes in mind, striving to provoke thought and imagination. This hefty dose of culture and community interactivity is integral to our community‘s sustainability; while approximately 150,000 guests attend the Festival each year, and ticket prices remain far lower than the national festival average, attendance for some members of the community is financially unobtainable. In an effort to share this unique experience, Bumbershoot created the Send a Kid program, wherein a patron donation of $15 will help send an under-served youth (and their adult chaperone) for a day of exploration, imagination and culture. In 2008, this program sent 300 under-served youth and adult chaperones to the Festival. 

Bumbershoot Gives Back
Each year the creative contributions of other regional non-profit organizations are featured in the Festival’s diverse programming. New this year, the Festival has created Bumbershoot Gives Back. After the Festival, the Bumbershoot team aims to give back to the community by contributing to other local non-profits‘ project goals that create long-term change in the areas of arts, culture, education, and the environment. Bumbershoot will contribute expertise in a wide-range of areas from hands-on teamwork (including working staff and tools!) to basic training in areas of event management. Interested non-profits can apply to the Bumbershoot Gives Back program at 

Community Involvement
Volunteers are integral to the Festival, working on a wide variety of projects throughout the grounds and contributing to the Festival’s success hands-on. To get involved and participate as a member of the team, visit

Over the years Bumbershoot fans have been able to enjoy a unique realm of eco-art ranging from site-specific installations, impactful film shorts, and visual art displays instilled with the core values of environmental and social sustainability. The 2009 lineup will continue this tradition with thought-provoking art that encourages public discourse on some of the social, political, and environmental issues that impact us today. The initial Festival lineup will be announced later this spring, with complete Festival details revealed by mid-summer. 

Beyond the Festival’s art findings, Bumbershoot plans to support the ongoing eco-initiatives of its participating artists (and vendors!), by sharing these inspriring actions with Festival fans via and BumberFan emails throughout the summer.

In 2008, Bumbershoot’s eco-efforts diverted 7.5 tons from the waste stream (an increase of 80% from 2007!), decreased overall trash by 3 tons, implemented free water stations for patrons with personal, reusable waterbottles, reused 64% of Festival signage (and of the new signage acquired, 59% was recyclable and created with recycled material). In addition, the Festival and its patrons offset 257.5 tons of greenhouse gases through NetGreen.

For more details on Bumbershoot’s ongoing efforts to support sustainability in Seattle and beyond, visit

The Bumbershoot box office is now open at Purchase Advance 3-Day passes for the low price of $80 through August 21st. The Festival’s box office also offers $2 carbon offsets and accepts $15 contributions to Bumbershoot’s Send a Kid program. For more information visit

The 39th annual Bumbershoot: Seattle’s Music & Arts Festival is produced by One Reel, in collaboration with Seattle Center and AEG Live. One Reel is the independent, not for profit producer of the Northwest’s premier arts events including Teatro ZinZanni. For more information, visit 

Bucks New University hosts new green events certificate

p10100072Buckinghamshire New University were hosts for the new Certificate in Sustainable Events Mangement, the first in a series of short courses promoting environmentally friendly events. The certificate, Partnered by Yourope, the European festivals organisation and A Greener Festival and supported by Julie’s Bicycle, brought together some of the leading advocates of sustainability in the music and events industry. and speakers on the one day course included Andrew Williams of Seventeen Events, Alison Tickell from Julies Bicycle, Penny Kemp, Director. Big Green Gathering, Sabine Funke, RhEINKULTUR and Ben Challis from A Greener Festival. Teresa Moore Head of Music & Entertainment Management at Bucks said “we see this course as an important step in supporting the work of many music festivals and events organisers, who are spearheading innovative solutions to ensure that their events are more sustainable. Topics covered included environmental law, traffic and transport, benchmarks and standards and planning sustainable events. Graduates from the first course included representatives from DF Concerts (T-in-The-Park),  Ecoaction (who are working with the Isle of Wight Festival)  Openair St Gallen (Switzerland), RhEINKULTUR (Germany) and the Glastonbury Festival.



Picture:Ben Challis gives a presentation on law and the environment