Monthly Archives: June 2013

Calgary Floods – Sled Island cancelled

calgary floods BBCThe whole world will now have seen the dreadful pictures from Calgary which has experienced severe flooding. At least three people have been killed and more than a 100,000 forced to flee their homes as floods triggered by torrential rain hit Western Canada. Officials have ordered the evacuation of the centre of Calgary, Alberta, after both rivers that flow through it, the Bow and Elbow, overflowed. The floods have washed away roads and bridges, cut-off electricity and submerged hundreds of homes.  Some 25 neighbourhoods in Calgary, a city of one million, had already been evacuated. The mountain resorts of Banff and Canmore were left isolated after the Trans-Canada Highway was closed. The Saddledome, home to Calgary’s professional hockey team, is also flooded with water levels rising to the stadium’s 10th row. The floods come after a rainy week in Alberta, capped by 4in (10cm) of downpour on Thursday. ]

sled island logoOur own Jude Smith is in Calgary and was the environmental auditor for the the Sled Island Music & Arts Festival – which had already started when the rains hit. Jude let us know “I am safe and sound but stranded in Calgary. The town where I live has been flooded in parts but our house is safe” saying that he hadn’t heard from the festival organisers but understandably they were busy with other things and their own office had been closed by the floods.  It was slated to wrap up on Saturday with a concert at Olympic Plaza “Our commitment to the safety of the citizens of Calgary remains paramount. Please take care of your friends and family who may require assistance and stay safe,” according to the Sled Island website. Other cancelled events include the Banff Marathon, First Street Market Walk, Go Skateboarding Day, Wing Kei Walkathon, Allied Memorial Remembrance Ride, Remington Race for Pace 2013, Aboriginal Awareness Week and the Enbridge Ride To Conquer Cancer.

Jude had already seen some good things at the event, with a real push to promote cycling,  but the event was cancelled yesterday (Friday) and Jude’s last email was “I am stranded as the roads home are all closed!!!  I think I’ll go to watch a movie!” but more poignantly ” it’s an interesting extreme weather event, part if climate change I think.  I wonder whether the tar sands folk from Calgary will take note, maybe they will decide to cancel the Keystone pipeline as a result…”.

More information on water saferty, power outages, evacuation orders, shelters, road closures,  and hospitals here


Julie’s Bicycle Update

julies bicycleBig conversations in the arts and sustainability space continue to proliferate. With further budget cuts for the arts announced, the question of financial sustainability remains acute. ‘How we can better value what matters,’ be it nature or culture has become a hot topic.

So what are we up to? Well, big conversations require big responses. We’ve just passed the first annual environmental reporting deadline for Arts Council England funded organisations. Over 700 organisations are participating, a step change on greening the arts in the UK. Our environmental sustainability team will soon be analysing this data, developing industry benchmarks and providing a rich cultural snapshot of sustainability data backed up by amazing arts practice.

We’re also working in partnership with a number of other fantastic organisations, and some city-wide initiatives all committed to taking change to scale. In Scotland, Creative Carbon Scotland have licensed our IG Tools and integrated them into their innovative Green Arts Portal. In Wales, we’ve completed the first stage of a sustainable venues project forCreu Cymru in partnership with Cardiff University and Cynnal Cymru, supported by the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Living Grant and inspired by the Emergence-Eginiad initiative.

Beyond these shores, we’ve just kicked off two pan-European projects. We’re co-curating the Green Arts Lab Alliance with Trans Artists. Funded by the EU Culture Programme, GALA will explore environmental sustainability in visual arts and design across multiple European countries. We’re also a partner for EEMusic – Upscaling Energy Efficiency in European Music Events Sector – funded by Intelligent Energy Europe. To support EEMusic our IG Tools will be translated into seven European languages!

The organisations we work with have also been doing great things. In January Latitude and Reading festivals achieved the prestigious three star Industry Green rating and were joined in April by Shambala. In March we went to see the students from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama perform Cabaret, the school’s first show to trial a sustainable production model. The Green Festival Alliance’s work on power proved so successful that the group has now transformed into ‘Powerful Thinking,’ an ‘industry think-do tank’ tackling sustainable energy in the event sector. They will be launching their ‘Know Your Power’ campaign soon giving festivals a unique opportunity to monitor and reduce fuel consumption.

JBWith all this exciting activity, the public profile of sustainability in the arts continues to grow. Our Arts Director Catherine Langabeer appeared on the Danish equivalent of BBC Radio 4 (listen 10-12 mins from the end) and Alison Tickell wrote about environmental reporting in the arts for The Guardian. We’ve attended the Sustainable Events Summit, Pesky People and Future Everything’s Disability Meets Digital ‘unconference’ the Mitos’ sustainable cultural management conference and the Montenegro Green Culture Symposium. We’re also taking part in the ‘climate communication lab,’ providing expertise to environmental NGO’s on how arts and culture can help us create a new narrative on climate change. For those of you that missed ‘Green My Production,’ in March (See picture) you can watch a short film on our website.

And this surge of momentum is showing no signs of stopping. This summer, with the help of the Arts Council reporting data we’re mapping sustainability in the arts. We will be conducting the biggest survey ever done on sustainability in the arts to establish a benchmark for the sector. Keep your eyes peeled for the survey and the resulting report and event in November.


_Met_main_map_textAround twenty of the UK’s leading scientists. climate change experts and meteorologists have met up at the Met Office (June 18th) to discuss Britain’s “unusual” weather patterns. They examined the factors that caused the chilly winter of 2010-11 and the long, wet summer of 2012. They also examined why this spring was the coldest in 50 years. If you read ‘Another Planet’ regularly, you will have noticed that over the past three years, British weather records have been under increasing pressure! The big freeze that gripped the UK in December 2010 saw the lowest temperature for the month in 100 years. Last summer was the second wettest for the UK since records began, and six out of the past seven summers have been wetter than average.  Puzzled by these events, scientists  from across the UK gathered at the Met Office in Exeter to try to understand the reasons behind this run of what they term, “unusual seasons” with Climate scientists at the University of Reading linking the miserable run with a series of wet summers in the 1950s and early 60s, and the 1880s, when the jet stream was stuck over the UK because of Atlantic water temperatures – rather than further North over Iceland when warmer drier summers can be expected. But cold winters are apparently part f a different cycle, and factors could include melting Arctic ice, the El Nino/La Nina weather pattern, the solar cycle and the Sudden Stratospheric Warming phenomenon.

Betrand Piccard and  Andre Borschberg have become the first pilots to fly across the USA – in a solar powered plane.  The Swiss team’s  Solar Impulse may only reach speeds of 50mph (or 100mph with tail winds)  but it uses NO fuel. The Solar Impulse cost $115 to develop and has a wingspan to match a Boeing 747 – but only weighs as much as a family car. The engines are driven by solar power, generated by 12,000 photo voltaic cells.

G8_Priorities_PM_flagsLeaders of the G8 summit remain “strongly committed to addressing the urgent need to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2020 and to pursue a low carbon path afterwards.” Despite campaigners anger that climate change seemed nowhere to be seen, In a final communique from the summit in Northern Ireland this week, the leaders summarised the issues discussed, surprising many with a section on climate change.  In a U-turn on the announced agenda, the G8 leaders expressed their commitment to tackling climate change, calling it one of the foremost challenges for “our future economic growth and well-being”.

The NHS could make savings of £35m if nurses, doctors and hospital staff are encouraged to turn off unused equipment, switch off lights, and close hospital doors.

The impact of climate change abroad could pose a greater threat to UK businesses than domestic threats, according to new research. Consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has conducted research for Defra, which suggests that the international threats and opportunities of climate change to the UK could be an ‘order of magnitude’ larger than domestic threats and opportunities for some thematic areas, in particular business (trade and investment) and food (supply chains). But domestic challenges are having an effect too: The effects of climate change are restricting BT from further improving its customer service, according to the company’s chief sustainability officer Niall Dunne – with factors such as flooding having a significant impact.

wateraid3The impact of climate change is increasing the urgency for action on water and sanitation across the globe, says WaterAid in response to a new report from the World Bank. The report, Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts and the Case for Resilience, looks at how the negative impacts of climate change already in motion could create devastating conditions especially for those least able to adapt.  Examining the likely impacts for affected populations of present day, it also looks at 2°C and 4°C warming scenarios on critical areas like agricultural production, water resources, coastal ecosystems and cities.

The City of Bristol has been chosen as the 2015 European Green Capital, replacing Nantes in France which currently holds the title.

Achieving zero emissions between 2050 and 2100 will not be possible if existing technologies are relied upon, says Environment Director at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Simon Upton. Tackling “end of pipe” emissions has been necessary, says Upton, as there are and will be a continued use of power plants. However, he said this strategy posed a risk of getting stuck on a path dependency in which time and energy is wasted making incremental improvements around an embedded incumbent technology.

A growing number of countries are banning unsustainable plastics, meaning UK plastics firms will need to adopt oxo-biodegradable technology quickly if they want to retain their export markets The warning came from a leading plastics technology specialist Michael Stephen, deputy chairman of Symphony Environmental Technologies, at an international conference in Zagreb

The waste sector has a pivotal role to play in creating a circular economy by helping manufacturers “design for recovery”, according to a report from the Environmental Services Association (ESA). The study offers 10 recommendations for policymakers and other stakeholders and draws on input from partner organisations across the entire supply chain, including the manufacturers’ organisation the EEF, B&Q, iESE, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, and Coca-Cola Enterprises.–reality-waste-manufacturing-alliances-/

The Observer Ethical Awards 2013 – the winners!

observer ethical awardsHere are the winners of the 2013 Observer Ethical Awards – all well deserved!

National Campaigner of the Year: Joanna Lumley (for The Gurkha Justice campaign, and climate change campaigns)

Unsung local hero: Francis McCrikard (Myddleton Grange meadows and woodlands)

International Campaigner of the Year: Malala Yousafzai (education for women)

Travel Award: Unseen Tours

Lifetime Achievement Award: Lenny Henry (for Comic Relief)

Ecover Young Green Champions: Queen Elizabeth II High School, Isle of Man (Grow Your Own Clothes)

Well Dressed Award: Rosalind Jana

Arts & Culture Award:  Beasts of the Southern Wild

Business Initiative Award: Virgin Atlantic with Lanzatech (alternative sustainable aviation fuels)

Products and services Award: Colalife

Retailer Award: Riverford

Big Idea Award: Loowatt (real energy from waste – toilet waste!)

The Judges Panel included James Wong (botanist and BBC Science presenter), Lily Cole (model and campaigner), Alice Wilby (stylist and editor of Eco Age), Lucy Siegle (Observer columnist), TV presenter Ben Fogle, Julie’s Bicycle CEO Alison Tickell, musician and campaigner Tim Burgess and poet and novelist Ben Okri.




EXIT 2013If you are and event organiser in Europe – Come to EXIT, join the exclusive GO Group seminar and see the Exit festival in all its glory

Greener, smarter, more sustainable – the GO Group credo is becoming more and more important to the European events industry. Festivals from all over the continent take part in the process and we really want to see all the others follow. EXIT Festival and GO Group are proud to announce the first „GO Group Workshop for eastern European Festivals“ taking place during this year’s EXIT Festival. We offer this interactive, open and communicative workshop format to stimulate exchange, cooperation and inspiration – between event organizers, suppliers and all other parties involved in an event’s organisation.

The 2-day workshop at the Town Hall of Novi Sad on July 11 and 12 2013 is for free to eastern European events invited personally by EXIT Festival or GO Group – binding registration by mail required. The GO Group Workshop for eastern European festivals will provide a wider view on sustainable event management, case studies from major European festivals (Glastonbury, Exit, Sziget and Rock For Peopleand initiatives such as A Greener Festival, Green Music Initiative and GreenEvents Europe, best practice examples and more.

Please register here for your participation or register automatically by booking one of the accommodation packages below.

This is interesting for festival managers and people working in production as well. We are trying to show an overall approach for those not yet deep in the topic, presenting reasons, solutions and fields of action as well as festival case studies from events you probably all know!
 (Feel free to forward to whom you think it may concern.)


Program: (subject to change)                The workshop language will be English.

Day 1
Thu 11 July 2013
14.00 – 14:30 Opening & first round-up (30)
14:30 – 15:15 „Groove To Save The World“ Jacob Bilabel (45)
15:15 – 16:00 „A Greener Festival“ Claire O’Neill (45)
16:00 – 16:15 coffee break (15)
16:15 – 16:45 „Sziget“ case study Fruzsina Szep (30)
16:45 – 17:45 Group sessions (60)
17:45 – end Results & Q/A

Day 2
Fri 12 July 2013
14.00 – 14:30 „Exit Festival“ case study Vladimir Vodalov (30)
14:30 – 15:15 „Good Practise & Great Examples“ Holger Jan Schmidt (45)
15:15 – 16:00 „Glastonbury Festival“ case study Ben Challis (45)
16:00 – 16:15 coffee break (15)
16:15 – 16:45 „Rock For People“ case study Stepan Suchochleb (30)
16:45 – 17:45 Group sessions (60)
17:45 – end Results & Q/A


EXIT1Jacob Bilabel, Green Music Initiative, DE
Prof. Ben Challis, Glastonbury Festival / A Greener Festival, UK
Claire O’Neill, A Greener Festival / Association of Independent Festival, UK
Holger Jan Schmidt, GreenEvents Europe Conference, DE / Yourope
Stepan Suchochleb, Rock For People Festival, CZ
Fruzsina Szep, Sziget Festival, HUN
Vladimir Vodalov, Exit Festival, SER

Travel and accommodation: We can offer you two packages incl. arrangements for accommodation and travel together with the workshop and the festival itself:

193 € (Yourope members discount price 153 €) travel from Belgrade airport. The package is incl.:

223 € (Yourope members discount price 183 €) travel from Budapest airport. The package is incl.:

oya-osdsloAND DON’T FORGET THE GO GROUP’S TRIP TO THE OYA FESTIVAL ON THE 8TH AND 9TH AUGUST – MORE HERE – looking at best practice at live events – and communications and behavioural change.


The House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee  have in effect scrapped plans for the Severn Barrage, citing costs of £25 billion, possible damage to estuary’s sensitive ecosystem and effects on shipping (and a knock on effect on jobs) as reasons. The barrage would have produced 5% of the UK’s electricity. The Committee suggested smaller tidal barrage projects should be considered.

But more on the Committee: Tim Yeo, Conservative MP and chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, has stepped aside after undercover reporters alleged he had admitted to coaching a CEO who had appeared in front of the Committee. Yeo has referred himself to the parliamentary standards watchdog. And in the wake of the this, it seems a number of other MPs on the Commitee have links to energy companies: Peter Lilley (Conservative) has received £23,500 from Tethys since last November according to the Times; Dan Byles (Conservative) received £1,600 from Primer Group, a liquid fuel storage company; Sir Robert Smith (Lib Dem) has declared shareholdings in Rio Tinto, the mining group, and Shell and was a guest of BP’s at the 2012 Olympics and the Royal Opera House; Christopher Pincher (Conservative) is a consultant for  a vehicle and equipment disposal company; Dr Phillip Lee (Conservative) has declared donations totalling £10,000 from the owner of two local petrol stations; Yeo himself has received more than £235,000 over the last three years from two companies that develop biofuels and other alternative energies and has shares worth £583,000 in low carbon companies.  Sir Robert Smith will replace  Tim Yeo as chairman.

One of Britain’s biggest power providers, SSE, has said that Government should tear up its Energy Bill and simplify subsidies for green energy projects saying that they are concerned with the complexity of a market based approach. Current plans would provide subsidies to offshore wind farms and new nuclear power stations – funded by a levy on consumer energy bills.

Jupiter’s Green Gauge bulletin points out that whilst the  investment industry is increasingly short-termist, environmental investing remains a ‘long game’ but green business are making significant inroads into the mainstream economy as they become more economically viable choices for both businesses and consumers. The Report also says that demands of a rising population will remain a key driver for growth in environmental investing – the World’s population has risen from 5.1 billion in 1987 ti 6.5 billion in 2005 to an estimated 7.1 billion in 2013 – with the cost of staples such as wheat and oil rising from $3 a bushel and $18 a barrel to $6.87 a bushel and $ 97 a barrel in the same period. Princes for corn and soya have also increased and extreme weather is expected to play a significant part in future economic trends  – as will pollution, land degradation and water scarcity one fo the reason China has accelerated environmental investment and has become a World leader in environmental technology.

windturbines_300The Renewable Energy Association has published the results of a survey which shows that 68% of the British public support wind farms: All well and good but a number of commentators have questioned whether or not those surveyed were ‘well informed’ about the intermittent nature of energy generation from wind – and the fact that in the UK 90% of the population is urban and hardly in a position to question the day to day effects of wind farms. Noise, sleepless nights and environmental blight are all issues – both on rural communities themselves – and on our treasured landscapes.

More on wind power: The UK has a “once-in-a-generation” chance to attract major companies to build factories that will supply the fast-growing offshore wind energy sector, according to a report published today. However, the study, published by the wind power association RenewableUK and The Crown Estate, also warns that unless the UK seizes this unprecedented opportunity, the manufacturing advantage will be lost to its European competitors.

DRAX POWERThe International Energy Agency (IEA) has urged governments to adopt four policies that it claims will stop growth in energy-related emissions by 2020 at no net economic cost.  A new IEA report, Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map, presents the results of a ‘4-for-2°C scenario’, in which four energy policies that are capable of driving emissions reductions by 2020 and rely only on existing technologies. The policies have also been adopted successfully in several countries, says the IEA.

Small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) will be one of the European Commission’s top priorities in its effort to reduce resource consumption and the EU’s environmental impact, says the European Commissioner for Environment. Talking to at Green Week in Brussels, Janez Potocnik said that it was essential to focus much of the European Commission’s attention on SMEs because “they are the drivers of our development”.

Minister for School Education, Early Childhood & Youth and much-loved Australian rock legend Peter Garrett will give the keynote address at the inaugural event for TILT (Tomorrow’s Ideas Leading Today), an initiative of The Australian Institute of Music bringing together some of Australia’s brightest minds in entertainment to discuss the future of the industry in the face of rapidly changing technology. The event takes place on Friday July 5th at the Australian Institute of Music (AIM) in Surry Hills.

The UK Government has announced that it will put up £5m of funding for towns and cities in England to help reduce pollution from local buses. Local authorities will be given the chance to bid for grants of up to £1m from the Department for Transport’s Clean Bus Technology Fund. This will then be used to upgrade local buses with pollution-reducing technologies such as cleaner engines or exhaust after-treatment equipment.

UK MPs narrowly voted not to include an amendment in the third reading of the Energy Bill that will commit the UK to a near- carbon free power sector by 2030.  However, as the voting margin was so slim, many believe the amendment will be scrutinised rigorously at the House of Lords, as the energy bill moves to its next stage.

New dialogues need to be brokered between designers, suppliers and waste management companies to facilitate the level of collaboration required to transform thinking around end-of-life materials. This was one of the key messages to come out of a report released this week by the RSA and Technology Strategy Board that investigates the role of design within the emerging circular economy.  The document summarises the learning of the first phase of the Great Recovery project – an initiative which is bringing key stakeholder groups together to deepen understanding around eco-design and material use.–Radical-action-waste-design-brief-circular-economy/

Local authority collected food waste was singled out as the most important feedstock to help accelerate biomethane production for the transport sector. Speaking at the UK’s first biomethane and gas vehicle conference, ADBA’s chief executive Charlotte Morton said that 60% of the potential feedstock in the future could come from food waste and 26% from crops.

The future of nappy waste recycling in the UK appears uncertain despite plans for a new treatment facility to come on-stream later in the year. Last month the UK’s only existing plant for nappy recycling, operated by Knowaste (Midlands) in West Bromwich, suddenly closed.  The Canadian-owned company claimed the closure of its 36,000-tonne facility was necessary to ensure it could meet capacity going forward, and said it was looking to set up a larger infrastructure network elsewhere.


Recent floods in central Europe are likely to increase for several reasons including climate change, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA). In addition, the EEA says that floods, storms and other hydro-meteorological events account for around two thirds of the damage costs of natural disasters, and these costs have increased since 1980.  Recent assessments carried out by the organisation reveal that extreme weather events are mainly due to land use change, increases in population, economic wealth and human activities in hazard-prone areas and to better reporting.  However, the EEA says that in order to confirm the exact role played by climate change in flooding trends in past decades, it would be necessary to have more reliable, long-time series data for rivers with a natural flow regime.

PRS for Music presents Women in Music

prsPRS for Music has announced it will present ‘Women in Music’ at the Red Bull Studios in London Bridge On Wednesday, 19 June to debate the role of gender within the industry: Women have dominated the music charts for the past few years but PRS for Music’s membership of over 95,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers is only 13 percent female. The latest statistics from Creative & Cultural Skills? also show that the divide across all music industry related jobs is 67.8 percent male to 32.2 percent female.

The round table is moderated by Sophie Heawood, VICE columnist and writer for The Times, Guardian, Independent and NME. The other names confirmed are:

  • Gemma Cairney (presenter, BBC Radio 1)
  • Mira Calix (composer, Warp Records)
  • Deborah Coughlin (composer and director, Gaggle Choir)
  • Elizabeth Sankey (singer/songwriter Summer Camp)
  • Kate Hutchinson (music writer for Guardian Guide, Q, Time Out and Mixmag)
  • Laura Martin (director, Real Life PR, ex Anorak Director)
  • Emily Cooper (director Everything Counts PR, ex-Anorak director)
  • Kate Riding (co-founder Bang On PR)
  • Angie Somerside (general manager, Red Bull Records)
  • Katrina Larkin (co-founder The Big Chill)

Paulette Long, PRS for Music Foundation Vice Chair, commented: “I know as a music publisher how much the industry is evolving but there is still an inequality which doesn’t quite add up. So many women are developing big talent or writing enormous worldwide hits but PRS for Music research still shows a vast divide. We can work together to help women into the industry and this event is a perfect place to start, especially given the collective wisdom and experience of those involved.”

PRS for Music presents Women in Music will run from 10am – 2pm, focusing on songwriting, production, live music, festivals and music journalism. Lunch will be provided and guests will be given an opportunity to look around the Red Bull studios. to attend  please email: olivia.chapman@prsformusic.