Monthly Archives: September 2010

Green trees for Christmas?

Fairwind say that they will be selling the only fairly traded Christmas trees (“Fair Trees®”) in the UK this year. They will be available nationwide from and orders can be placed from mid October. The BBC, with help from Fairwind, are currently filming a documentary on the serious ethical issues around Christmas trees. This will be aired late November on TV and radio, so Fair Trees® will be a hot topic this Christmas.

Fair Trees® has celebrity support from Katie Melua who said “I am absolutely thrilled that fair trade has reached the poor cone pickers of Georgia. Fair Trees® is a wonderful project that helps improve the lives of many people in remote areas of Georgia, the country where I was born.”


An international eco-conference for  the live music industry with top level speakers from the music industry, science, the environmental sector and from academic institutions.

Questions asked include:

How can carbon emissions be reduced and is compensation any good?

What does the law say and where is it going in the future?

What role does sustainability management play at events and how can it be improved?

How can waste be reduced and handled?

And last but not least: who pays for all that?

Ist eine internationale Eco-Conference für Festivals, Venues, Veranstalter & Events

Wenn an einem Ort und zur selben Zeit viele Menschen zusammen kommen, entstehen auch beträchtliche Mengen Müll, Abwasser und Treibhausgase. Events und Festivals belasten die Umwelt in erheblichem Maße und hinterlassen langwierige Spuren.
Aber das kann sich ändern!

Die internationale Konferenz GreenEvents steht für ein umweltfreundliches Bewusstsein bei der Organisation und Durchführung von Meetings und Events. Wir holen die wichtigsten nationalen und internationalen Vertreter der Veranstaltungsbranche und stellen mit ihnen die Weichen für die umweltfreundlichen Veranstaltungen der Zukunft.

Partners:   Stadt Bonn /  Stiftung Internationale Begegnung der Sparkasse in Bonn / Yourope (the European festivals organization) / Buckinghamshire New University / BfN (German Federal  Agency For nature Conservation) / Rhinekultur Festival / Eco-Controlling (Sustainability Mgmt for major events) / Green Music Initiative / DB Bahn (German Rail service who are offering amazing German rail travel deals)

Registration :  E200 (Yourope members E150) and find out more at

10:10:10 Day of Doing in Dalston

10 October 2010, 1:30 – 8:30pm

Green Sundays joins forces with the 10:10:10 and 350 campaigns in a global Day of Doing where people from across the planet will be getting together in a day of practical action to talk about and implement ways we can cut carbon from our lives. The 10:10:10 campaign is a simple idea – with people pledging to reduce their carbon emissions by 10% in 2010.  Big tasks are easier when broken up into small, manageable pieces so come along to the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden for an afternoon of fun and informative workshops aimed at reducing carbon.

Hackney is London’s greenest borough and Green Sundays will be THE 10:10:10 event to find out what ‘you can do’.  From making your home more energy efficient, donating something to Give and Take, mapping local fruit trees or carbon footprint games and workshops for children (6+) there is something for everyone. 

After 4:30 the entertainment moves to Arcola’s new home on Ashwin Street, where there will be a screening of feature length film No Impact Man’ – a compelling movie about a New Yorker who decides to reduce his carbon emissions to zero. So far so good, but the fun really starts when his wife and two year old daughter are dragged reluctantly along for the ride! The film is followed by live music hosted by Shane SolankiLast Mango in Paris, a special 10:10:10 open mic session where 10 people tell their stories, achievements, trials and tribulations of trying to cut their carbon in just 10 minutes and a special performance by award winning performance poet, Pete the Temp.

Green Sundays is a bi-monthly environmental event and has been made possible due to collaborations with dedicated and enthusiastic local organisations including Transition Highbury, Transition Town Stoke Newington, RefurbN16, Carbon Conversations, Hackney Harvest and Forest Recycling Project. 

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, Dalston Lane.  Entrance via the wooden gate by the peace mural, opposite Dalston Junction overground station.  Arcola Ashwin Street, 24 Ashwin Street, London, E8 3DL.  Both the Eastern Curve and Arcola Ashwin Street are easily accessible by public transport:  Kingsland and Dalston Junction are the nearest Overground stations and a multitude of buses pass nearby including 30, 38, 67, 76, 149 and 243.


This is a newsletter from the fabulous BOOM festival and looks at the ecological commitment at Boom and gives some further explanations about this year’s festival to fellow Boomers – and readers of this Blog.

Photo 1
Perspective of The Drop

Reuse, Recycle and Reduce: For the second time we did a partnership with one huge festival in Portugal – Rock In Rio Lisbon – to recycle their rubbish and materials.
We went there to get timber, flooring, metals, plastics and some other materials.

Boom reused 86,475kg of materials thus avoiding overconsumption of resources for the construction of our festival. According to the tool IWM -2 (Integrated Waste Management Model 2), developed by the Lisbon University IST, we avoided the emission of 254,000 kg of CO2 with this initiative.

Some other facts: 90% of the Healing Area, for instance, was done with reused materials. 80% of Groovy Beach was made of recycled pallets. 100% of Golden Shack Pagoda and Gamelatron was done with recycling of rubbish. 100% of restaurants cover made of recycled lycra.

Here is the table of materials we reused from that event only:

  • Iron: 195kg
  • Wood: 46,700kg
  • Synthetic grass and flooring: 39,310kg
  • Linoleum: 100kg
  • Vinyl: 100kg
  • Acrylic: 70 kg

Bioconstruction: Dow Tow was done with local resources: cane and clay. Dance Temple and The Drop was built with bamboo taken from forests monitored under sustainable standards (both in Portugal and abroad). The Communitarian Kitchen was done by volunteers (thanks guys!) using super adobe and clay.

Ferrocement: We built both the water treatment unit ‘STAR’ with the social technology ferrocement and a water tank of 240,000 lt. Ferrocement is an economical technique based on cement, sand, water and chicken wire.

Photo 2
Golden Shack Pagoda and Gamelatron – Made entirely with recycled rubbish


In 2008, Boom Environmental Program launched “Your Oil Is Music” (we collected waste vegetable oil for generators). This year we went further on the realm of energy and we founded the Boom Lab.

Boom Lab Facts: 

  • We built 3 small mobile photovoltaic stations with 6 panels of 80 watts each. They were used for the offices of areas such as production, Sacred Fire, Healing Area and Ambient Paradise. They generated 2.4 kilowatts/hour per day.
  • The 4th solar station produced at Boom Lab had an output of 3.2 kilowatts/hour per day from solar energy.

Boom Lab also developed a bigger station that was placed near the logistics and main workshops. Two mobile trackers were based on 12 panels each and followed the tilt of the sun producing 13 kilowatts/hour per day.

More facts about energy and Boom:

  • Boom’s vehicles (one truck, two vans) run on waste vegetable oil.
  • We have one generator that runs on waste vegetable oil.
  • We used 15,000lt of waste vegetable oil.

Download here the “Our Ecommitment” feature published on Boom’s journal “Dharma Dragon” in PDF format.

Photo 3
Boom Lab’s Solar Tracker Station


Water was the theme of Boom 2010 and we developed a system for water treatment onsite, showcasing technologies that are useful for human communities.

  • All grey water from restaurants and showers was treated onsite and recycled for irrigation.
  • We built a water treatment unit we called ‘STAR’. The system was based on bio-remediation and evapotranspiration. With this unit we achieved the goal of treating 100% of all waste water at Boom.
  • Total waste water generated: Restaurants – 300 mil litres. Showers 2,5 million litres.
  • Total water treated and recycled at the festival: 100% of waste water.
  • One kilometre of infiltrating channels were constructed for the shower´s water. This track is part of an integrated system designed to restore the natural hydrology cycle of the area.
  • Free Water: All participants were encouraged to use the fountains providing treated free water. This also reduced the amount of waste generated.
  • Educational signs and the “Dharma Dragon” encouraged the public to be responsible in their water use.

Objectives for 2012: Eliminate 100% of water bottles during construction period. Improve shower and water point facilities at the caravan park.

Photo 4
Compost toilets


For the first time, 98% of toilets at Boom were composting.

  • 159 Composting (no water) toilets were constructed.
  • 15 permanent composting (no water) toilets were constructed.
  • No black water was generated.
  • In comparison with normal households this means that 50% of the water that normally would be used to flush toilets was saved.

The biological filter used in all toilets meant that 70,000 lt of organic high quality liquid fertilizer was generated. This is stored for agriculture production.


We know that Boom is still not a fully sustainable festival. In spite of that we’ve been taking all the possible steps and commitments to reduce the trace of this event for the Sacred Earth. There is still a long way to go and huge improvements to be done. We acknowledge the space to evolve and the ecological pathway is an imperative for us, so we’ll keep researching the ways to reduce our footprint and give back to the Sacred Earth what a gathering of more than 20,000 people does to the environment. We Are All One.

Photo 5
Land Art at Boom 2010

Ashtrays: 20,000 pocket ashtrays delivered at the welcome point, Boom Bus station and Info Stand thus reducing the trace of cigarette butts onsite.

Recycling: Although we reduced, recycled and reduced in many aspects as you read above, recycling at Boom was a big issue. We took a step back regarding recycling at Boom when city council told us they couldn’t carry it out properly. Not only was the amount of plastic outrageous during both the construction period and Boom itself, the public system for recycling was not running at all.

They didn’t grant us recycle bins nor the transport for the plastic/metal/paper into recycling stations. Without local recycling units we couldn’t find any service that could rid us of this rubbish properly.

For next year priority goes for recycling bins and finding a way to partner with an NGO that can channel all the plastic properly.

Photo 6
Live painting at Dance Temple


We spend dozens of hours online and we read everything about Boom carefully. We love to read feedback about what went well and not so well.

One major point of negative feedback refers to some of the music played in the afternoons. We agree with this and we’ll change the format as we wrote already in our Letter for the Boomers Part I. But we need to underline that in no case will Boom clash with the creative freedom of DJs.

Another bit of negative feedback regards distances. We agree and as we wrote in the previous volume of this letter, we’ll change the whole design of the site to make it easier and with better conditions (for instance, showers and more water points at the caravan park).

Positive feedback goes to: the vibe of the festival; the art installations, the bamboo and cane constructions; the cultural diversity of Boom with music, performing arts, theatre, videoart, to name just a few; the new location; the intercultural atmosphere of a gathering of the tribes – we had people from 70 countries.

By the way, where is the feedback on the Theatroom and the Liminal Zone?

Many thanks for your words, you can keep writing, posting, twitting, blogging or you can simply email us to:

Photo 7
Ambient Paradise goes Cosmic!


The next edition of Boom will take place between the last week of July and the first days of August 2012 – in sync with the first full Moon of August.

Exact dates, theme and ticket sales will be available in a few weeks time.

Photo 8

Video Art at Boom 2010

BOOM 2010 Photo Gallery – Part II   Check the pictures and magic moments that we spent together. Click here!

Climate change news

Lord Krebs, Chair of the Committee on Climate Change, has told the UK government that it needs to act now to prevent future problems from climate change. Predicting  wet winters and searingly hot summers, with temperatures expected to rise by 4.2C by 2080 and sea levels by 40cm (sixteen inches),  the Commitee says the country will have to adapt to extreme weather in the future with more flooding, drought and heatwaves. The Committee has said that new housing should be fitted with shutters and exiting homes retro-fitted, and streets should be planted with millions of trees to provide shade in hot weather – a tactic adopted in Mediterannean countries such as France and Spain – and that homes vulnerable to flooding should have action plans. The Committee also suggest that homes should be fitted with mandatory water meters. Because of the density of the population, a creaking Victorian infrastructure  and with increasing droughts (the first six months of  2010 were the driest January-June for 71 years) the UK has less available water per person than Israel.  Only 30% of Londoners have water meters compared to 98% of people in new York. The Commitee also suggests re-using ‘grey’ water to flush toilets and to water gardens. As far as infrastructure is concerned, the Commitee urges the government to reconsider relocating some roads and railway lines which are vulnerable to rising sea levels, but also points to certain advantages from climate change – an extended growing season and opportunites for new crops such as apricots and grapes.  Only 7% of local authorities have any plans to deal with chagnes brought about by climate change and Lord Krebs said “if the UK waits, it will be too late to effectively manage the risks of future climate change.

In other climate change news – it seems that working at home isn’t as green as it seems. Home workers don’t commute to work – BUT – they tend to live further away from work, so when they do commute have higher carbon footprints – and when at home they use more lighting and heating than they would in a shared offce. The report, from the Institute of Engineering andTechnology, says home workers also tend to do more short trips and errards in the car – rather than picking up goods from stores near to a workplace or on the way home.

Sainsbury’s is about to ditch cardboard boxes for breakfast cereal – radically reducing packaging. As most cereals are already in an internal bag, the supermarket chain plans to replace packaging with environmentally friendly bags on its own range of cereals, saving 165 tonnes of packaging, saving on fuel for deliveries, reducing storage space needed and the number of carrier bags customers use. Cereals that run the risk of being crushed in bags will remain in cardboard boxes. Kellogs says it has no plans to remove outer cardboard packaging, saying crushing would create more food waste and that the plastic bags would need to be much thicker. Sainsburys already sell chopped tomatoes in cardboard boxes having dispensed with tins. Asda is testing reusable pouches for fabric conditioner in five stores  and several retailers have introduced refilable containers for liquid products.

And finally, Brazil and other countries in South America have joined the long list of countries experiencing extreme weather. Just three months after some of the most serious flooding in its history, Brazil now has its worst drought for 40 years and some tributaries of the Amazon has now been reduced to a trickle compared to their usual size this time of year. In Bolivia the drought has destroyed corn crops and has allowed forest fires to scorch vast tracts of the Eastern Andes.  


Brushing your teeth and leaving the tap running costs 6 litres of water per minute – turn it off!

Flushing a loo costs 9 litres of water  – put a brick or ‘hippo’ in the cistern

Washing a car with a hose uses 400 litres of water  – use a bucket!

If you have a garden or yard, install a water butt to collect rainwater.


10th October 2010 ….. coming soon

find out  more at 


Vote now in the UK Festival Awards

The first round of voting in the public categories of the UK Festival Awards 2010 begins Thursday 16th September, giving festival-goers the chance to have their say about the events they went to this year. Every voter will be entered into a draw to win a dream summer – a pair of tickets to every winning festival. 

You can vote at in the 15 Award categories for the public to decide. In four weeks time, votes will be totted up and a shortlist for each category will be drawn-up, before a shortlist phase of public voting decides the final winners, who will be announced at a gala ceremony in front of 1,500 key festival industry figures at indigO2 at The O2 on November 18th 2010.

The categories open for public voting in the 2010 Awards are as follows:

• Best Major Festival in association with Tuborg

• Best Medium-Sized Festival

• Best Small Festival

• Best Overseas Festival

• Best Metropolitan Festival

• Headline Performance of the Year in association with Jagermeister

• Best Breakthrough Artist

• Feel-Good Act of the Summer

• Anthem of the Summer

• Best Dance Event

• The Grass Roots Festival Award in association with Robertson Taylor

• Best New Festival in association with Access All Areas

• Best Toilets

• Virtual Festivals’ Critics Choice Award

• Best Family Festival

A further five Awards will be decided by judging panels of industry experts:

* Outstanding Contribution to Festival Production in association with TPi

* Best Brand Activation in association with Brand Republic

* Line-up Of The Year

* Promoter of the Year in association with IQ

* Lifetime Achievement Award in association with Music Week

+ The ultimate UK Greener Festival Award will be made by

PS – if you are a voting mood – Mixmag want to identify the greatest DJ of all time. They have got 35 influential dance music types, including other DJs and pundits, to nominate 35 contenders for the title of best ever deejay – and they want votes – you can find out more at