Monthly Archives: December 2015

Paris – too little, too late?

australiatemprpedictionsDecember temperatures in London have been warmer than July’s. Scotland is balmier than Barcelona. Artificial snow covers European ski slopes. Africa faces its worst food crisis in a generation as floods and droughts strike vulnerable countries.

According to the UK Met Office, the exceptional warmth in Britain and northern continental Europe is linked to the strongest El Niño ever recorded. “What we are experiencing is typical of an early winter El Niño effect,” said Adam Scaife, head of Met Office long- range forecasting.

Worldwide, November was the warmest recorded by the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the seventh month in a row where temperatures have been well above the 100-year average; 2015 is on track to be the warmest year and last week the Met Office forecast that the global average temperature in 2016 would be a record 1.14C above pre-industrial temperatures.

The relentless rise in global temperatures is sharpest of all in the far north of the planet. This is the clear message from the annual Arctic Report Card published last week by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Sea Ice cover in the Arctoc has dramatically reduced. – 29% less this year than the average between 1981 and 2000 – and it seems the Artioc is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. And sea levels are rising at an alarming rate – with the IPCC predicting rises of between 70cm and 98cm – but with Antarctic melting too this could be well over a metre. Devastating for low lying islands and shorelines as diverse as the Mekong delta to Miami Beach.

The effects are already being seen worldwide, and nowhere more dramatically than in east and southern Africa, which is most vulnerable to climate change and extreme droughts. The El Niño effect has shifted rainfall patterns and led to severe drought. After years of good harvests and relative food security, Africa faces one of its biggest food emergencies in a generation with Ethiopia, Malawi, Eritrea, Somalia, Zimbabwe and other southern and east African countries all needing emergency food aid within weeks.

“The projections across Africa are shocking; 39 million people are expected to be affected,” said a spokeswoman for the UK Department for International Development. “Around 3.5 million people in Africa could also be affected by floods and subsequent disease epidemics. The situation in Ethiopia is particularly worrying, with 18 million people projected to require food assistance in the coming months.”

This month the UN World Food Programme said 2.8 million people in Malawi needed urgent food aid as shortages had more than doubled food prices from 2014 levels. This year, it said, southern Africa’s cereal harvest fell by almost a quarter, down to 34 million tonnes.

The widespread El Niño effects are being felt in Latin America as well as Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, where it has led to some of the worst forest fires in decades. In Central America, one of the most severe droughts on record has led to 3.5 million people in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador needing food aid. The UN says that more than two million people have been affected in Peru and Ecuador.

Indonesia will have less water to run hydro-electic power generation which will effect the production of nickel. Australia will face severe drought and forest fires. India will experience smaller rice yields due to a reduced monsoon. Wetter weather may lead to copper mines flooding in Chile whilst the coffee harvest in Brazil may be disrupted.

The warm Pacific temperatures have also led to a record number of hurricanes and cyclones. According to the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth Observatory, there were 18 named storms in 2015, including 13 hurricanes, nine of which were category three or higher. This is the greatest number on record since reliable measurements started in 1971.

US Music Fans Want To Know More About The Sustainable Initiatives Of Festivals!

bonn2US Music Fans Want To Know More About The Sustainable Initiatives Of Festivals!

  • 88% say they will re-use their tent after the festival
  • Festival support for local organizations and charities goes largely unnoticed
  • 95% think recycling provisions are very well organized
  • Car sharing is an established initiative

Research Project

The Event Tutor conducted research at the 2015 edition of Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival and Lightning in a Bottle. Both festivals and A Greener Festival supported this research project. The purpose of the research was to:

“Identify how festival attendees experience sustainability policies of live events in North America”

Specifically we wanted to know how the attendees experienced the sustainability and environmental policies of these festivals. We tried to find out whether:

  • Attendees are aware of the policies
  • Attendees understand the meaning of the policies
  • Attendees genuinely care about the policies

The results were compared to research studies conducted by A Greener Festival and Buckinghamshire New University in 2008 and 2012.  At Bonnaroo we collected 282 questionnaires. At Lightning in a Bottle (LIB) we collected 180 questionnaires. Here are the key findings:

Re-using your tent

Leaving your tent behind at a campsite is a big issue in Europe. Since a few years Eco Action Partnership and A Greener Festival run the campaign Love Your Tent. The aim of the campaign is to change the behavior of festivalgoers.

Some of the American participants in this survey wondered why we even asked this question because…well…of course you take your tent with you after the festival. At Bonnaroo 88% of the festivalgoers claimed to reuse their tent. At LIB the results are very similar. 87% say they will reuse their tents.

Unable to name local charities and/or organizations

60% of attendees at Bonnaroo and 82% of attendees at Lightning in a Bottle were unable to name any group or project supported by the festival organization.

Some participants in the survey were aware of the organizations own ‘good causes’ such as Bonnaroo Works Fund and The Do Art Foundation. Perhaps greater emphasis can be placed on this for future editions of each of the festivals. Festivals should shout about their sustainable initiatives much more.

Recycling provisions

Recycling provisions at Bonnaroo were rated at 98% good/really good and 94% at Lightning in a Bottle. Festivalgoers at both festivals felt very safe with Bonnaroo scoring 91% good/really good and Lightning in a Bottle 87%. The lowest scores of good/really good were given to signage. 24% of Lightning in a Bottle fans indicated that signage on site could be improved upon and 21% of Bonnaroo fans said the same.

Signage is an important part of event planning. Recycling can be made easier if signage is clear and consistent. At both festivals we observed attendees at recycling stations. We wanted to know how easy it was for them to dispose of their trash. Attendees at both festivals really made an effort to separate their trash. Where volunteers were present the process was much quicker.

Car sharing

Transport is one of the biggest contributors to the overall carbon footprint of a music festival. Both festivals actively promote carpooling schemes on their websites. The festivals incentivize their audiences to car share and use organized buses were possible.

50% of fans at Bonnaroo and 59% of Lightning in a Bottle attendees indicated they had shared the car journey to the festival with someone else. We asked them how many people they shared the journey with. The average for Bonnaroo is 2.2 and for Lightning in a Bottle 2.5 fellow festivalgoers per car share.

On average Bonnaroo fans travelled 477 miles by car to get to the festival site. Lightning in a Bottle fans travelled less far but this is mainly because the majority of the interviewees had a Californian zip code. On average interviewees travelled 292 miles by car to get to Lightning in a Bottle. Our research at both festivals focused specifically on the distance travelled by car.

Environmental policies of festivals

Festivalgoers indicated they want, and expect, a festival to have an environmental policy. Over the years more festivals in North America have implemented environmental policies.

This is great news but festival organizers need to make sure they communicate their policies to the fans. They should make it clear what the policies are, how they are being implemented on site and what it will mean for the fans. Festival organizers: shout about your policies!!


Based on our observations and interviews we can conclude that festival attendees genuinely care about the state of the festival site and the environment in general. A festival creates a perfect opportunity to educate people on the issues of sustainability and raise awareness.

More information

More information can be found in the eBook Event Planning: Research at Music Festivals in North America. Or visit the website

Posted by Jarno Stegman

EE Music European Industry Energy Efficiency Awards

EE_Music_Logo_Claim_RGBVillage Underground (UK), Mysteryland (NL), Solar Sound System (FR/CH) and Clubmob (DE) recognised at the EE MUSIC Europe Awards for the most outstanding engagement with energy and energy efficiency in the European music event production industry

At a ceremony in Barcelona on the 10th of December, the pan-European EE MUSIC project awarded the most innovative and effective initiatives, festivals, clubs and event organisers across Europe for their outstanding achievements in developing an energy efficient music culture.

EE MUSIC aimed to scale up skills and knowledge within the industry on energy efficiency and sustainable energy management, to stir up an industry-wide conversation amongst music event professionals, venues, and festivals on how they use energy, and provide the tools and resources necessary for that transition. Over the past two years, the initiative has mobilized hundreds of clubs, events and outdoor festivals to become part of a broader cultural movement towards a more sustainable future, and lay the foundation of a music industry that is engaged with intelligent energy management.

The EE MUSIC Europe Award winners are:

  • EE MUSIC STAR FESTIVAL: Mysteryland, Netherlands 

For a total reduction in overall energy use per visitor day of 43%, a significant upscaling of sustainable biodiesel use, innovative use of new monitoring technology through start-up Watt Now and ID&T’s overall audience engagement with environmental sustainability through their Celebrate Life campaign.

  • EE MUSIC STAR CLUB: Village Underground, UK

For its significant investment into energy efficiency across the venue including LED lighting and infrared heating resulting in energy consumption per m2 significantly below UK and European benchmarks, its use of a 100% renewable energy tariff, its innovative use of a living roof to address twin challenges of temperature insulation and noise insulation, and its visible commitment to environmental sustainability through the reclaimed London underground carriages serving as creative offices and studios on the roof of the venue.

  • EE MUSIC STAR CAMPAIGN: Clubmob Munich, Germany and Solar Sound System, France (joint winners)

Clubmob for its integrated approach to audience outreach that helps unlock investment for energy improvements while also making the audience part of systemic change and actively contributing to energy efficiency in a model that is replicable around Europe.

Solar Sound System for its approach to audience engagement that demystifies the concepts of ‘energy’, ‘renewable energy’, and ‘energy efficiency’, making a tangible connection between sound and energy, in a package that can be taken to the street across the globe and for its cross-sector collaboration between artists, scientists and engineers that is creating new technology from the ground up.

The jury also distributed a number of discretionary awards to recognize outstanding contributions to the EE MUSIC project and project legacy:


For bringing together local government (Land Steiermark), local energy supplier and energy consultants (Energie Steiermark), and local cultural venues to provide a framework for on-going support and improvements for energy efficiency in the local creative event production sector.

  • EE MUSIC SUSTAINABILITY PIONEER: Rock in Rio Festival, Portugal

For its long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability and energy management and efficiency, including in-depth carbon footprinting of its global events, its community outreach programmes such as its sponsorship of solar panels for schools in Brazil, and its generosity in sharing data and knowledge with the EE MUSIC project and broader music event industry.

  • EE MUSIC GREEN PRODUCTION PIONEER: Eurovision Song Contest 2015, Austria

For its ambitious achievement to power Europe’s largest televised production entirely through a green tariff from the mains electricity grid and battery power, eliminating generator use and avoiding the use of over 400,000 L of diesel, far-reaching audience communications on the event’s environmental sustainability by public broadcaster ORF, and the legacy it leaves for future ESC productions in other European countries.

  • EE MUSIC DIAMOND AMBASSADOR: Antonio Cañas Rojas, Greenize, Spain
Jacob Bilabel

Jacob Bilabel

“Across Europe, operating in hugely varied contexts, we found a group of people within the music event industry who want to create a better world – and who are taking the initiative to change the system by design. Our biggest goal is not to have a green movement, but to make green the overall standard in the industry.”  Jacob Bilabel, founder, Green Music Initiative

“As world leaders reach a universal agreement on limiting climate change in Paris, it is now up to civil society and business to help us translate this into reality. It is courageous pioneers who enable us to change the conversation. The EE MUSIC Award winners, and countless of the organisations and individuals we have encountered throughout Europe, are taking on that leadership role within the music event industry. Now, we need to find a collective narrative within which everyone can find their own voice.” Alison Tickell, CEO and founder, Julie’s Bicycle

EE MUSIC is co-funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe programme of the European Union.

The EE MUSIC Europe Awards Ceremony in Barcelona was organised by Greenize and supported by RTVE Radio 3, the Antigua Fábrica Estrella Damm, Apple Tree Communications and Fabra i Coats in Spain.

Meat – is it really murdering the planet?

footballcowsbybenchallisSurely we all agree that we all eat too much meat – and that farming meat is ridiculously inefficient and requires a staggering amounts of resources. What’s more, once you have bred your animals, processing those resources then requires another massive amount of energy, and the farming of livestock releases much of the greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to global warming. Hmmmmm. Makes sense to us – BUT – and its a big ”but’, a team from the respected Carnegie Mellon University has published a new report in Environment Systems and Decisions arguing that vegetarian diets contribute more to climate change than livestock farming. Really?  Carnegie Mellon researchers even say that updated US Department of Agriculture recommendations— which emphasise cutting back on meat and consuming more fruits, vegetables, and seafood — are encouraging citizens to inadvertently use more resources and thus cause more “emissions per calorie.” How can this be? Well the key word here is “calories”.

Munchies rells us “Raising a pig obviously requires far more resources than raising a few heads of iceberg lettuce. But this is the larger issue: ten pounds of pork feeds a lot more people than ten pounds of lettuce. You have to eat a lot more lettuce to feel full than you do pork fat. And therein lies the issue.”

Paul Fischbeck, Professor of Social Decisions Sciences and Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon, said in a statement, “Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon” adding “Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think,” he continued. “Eggplant, celery, and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken.”

Glastonbury faces sewage charges

GlastoloosLocal press reports says that the Glastonbury Festival is being prosecuted after failures in the way the event deals with the thousands of gallons of human urine and excrement. The charges stem from the 2014 Festival, the first year the majority of the toilets on the site were specially-built long drop toilets, which collected the waste in huge underground concrete tanks. Organiser Michael Eavis had earlier that year said the Festival had plans to store human waste on site and convert this to fertiliser for farmland (although not for Worthy Farm itself).

It is understood the charges relate to the numbers of people urinating into hedgerows, with the Environment Agency closely monitoring the pollution levels in the stream that flows through the Worthy Farm site.

Operations Director Christopher Edwards appeared before magistrates in Yeovil to represent the company, and faced a charge that on or before June 29, 2014 at the Glastonbury Festival, ‘otherwise that under, and to the extent authorised by an environmental permit, caused or knowingly permitted a water discharge activity or groundwater activity, namely the discharge of human sewage derived from the Glastonbury Music Festival’, breaching the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010. Magistrates were told there was a possibility that charges relating to the 2015 festival might also be brought as part of the case.

A joint application for an adjournment was made and because of the complexity of the case the matter will now go before a District Judge in the Magistrates Court in Yeovil. The Magistrates Court agreed to the request and adjourned the case until January 14 2016.

In 2002 the Festival was fined £10,000 after a cesspit for one of 32 blocks of deep drop toilets leaked and its contents polluted the River Whitelake. Environment Agency officials detected high concentrations of ammonia in the river as far as two miles downstream of the Worthy Farm site where the festival is held. Pollution had also occurred following the previous festival in 2000, and the Agency had given formal caution to the organisers. at the time then Operations Director Melvin Benn said “We’ve agreed a programme of improvement to those cesspits, and a programme of testing” adding “During May the organisers will be carrying out sealant tests on the tanks using water, which will allow sufficient time to sort out any problems before this year’s festival at the end of June.”

UK to Allow Fracking in National Parks


Derwentwater in the Lake District

UK MPs have voted to allow fracking for shale gas 1,200m below national parks and other protected sites. The new regulations – which allow drilling from outside the protected areas  were passed after Ministers used a statutory instrument to push through the new rules, which means legislation can pass into law without a debate in the House of Commons. MPs voted in favour by 298 to 261.  Opposition parties and campaigners criticised the lack of a Commons debate – and accused ministers of a U-turn as they previously pledged an outright ban on fracking in national parks. The government said its plans would protect “our most precious landscapes”. It said the UK had “one of the best track records in the world for protecting our environment while developing our industries”. Shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy accused ministers of using a “parliamentary backdoor” to try to approve the “weak regulations” without debate. The Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, whose constituency includes part of the Lake District, said: “The government’s decision to sneak through a huge change to allow fracking in our national parks without a proper debate is outrageous. They have shown their true colours and complete lack of regard for protecting some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK and its wildlife.”  More on the Guardian here.

Paris climate deal offers a glimmer of hope for the planet

parigi-570x350A historic, legally binding climate deal that aims to hold global temperatures to a maximum rise of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, staving off the worst effects of catastrophic global warming, has been secured.

After 20 years of ‘fraught’ and sometimes utterly unproductive UN climate talks, Paris has seen all countries agree to reduce emissions, promise to raise $100bn a year by 2020 to help poor countries adapt their economies, and accept a new goal of zero net emissions by later this century.

Formally adopted in Paris by 195 countries, the first universal climate deal will see an accelerated phase-out of fossil fuels, the growth of renewable energy

As the final text of the agreement was released, the French president, François Hollande, said: “This is a major leap for mankind. The agreement will not be perfect for everyone, if everyone reads it with only their own interests in mind. We will not be judged on a clause in a sentence, but on the text as a whole. We will not be judged on a word, but on an act.”

Economist Lord Stern added: “This is a historic moment, not just for us but for our children, our grandchildren and future generations. The Paris agreement is a turning point in the world’s fight against unmanaged climate change which threatens prosperity. It creates enormous opportunities as countries begin to accelerate along the path towards low-carbon economic growth.”

The British prime minister, David Cameron, also welcomed the deal, praising those involved for showing what ambition and perseverance could do. “We’ve secured our planet for many, many generations to come – and there is nothing more important than that,” he said.

Climate scientists and activists cautioned that while the agreement was unexpectedly ambitious, the measures did not go far enough. “The cuts promised by countries are still insufficient, but the agreement sends a strong message to business, investors and cities that fossil fuels belong to the past,” said Corinne Le Quere, director of the UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

However, US  President Barak Obama said the deal was “the best chance we have to save the one planet we have”. He said it could be a “turning point” towards a low-carbon future.

China, the world’s biggest polluter, also hailed the deal, as did India. But some campaigners said it did not go far enough to protect the planet.

The Paris pact aims to curb global warming to less than 2C (3.6F) by the end of the century.

Nearly 200 countries took part in tense negotiations in the French capital over two weeks, striking the first deal to commit all nations to cut emissions.

The agreement – which is partly legally binding and partly voluntary – will come into being in 2020