How to Leave a POSITIVE Trace at a Festival

Photo by @FishMakesPhotos

Many members of the festival community are visionaries of positive change and care deeply about their connection with the earth.

But have you considered that festivals also take a big toll on the earth? From attendee transportation to waste management and fueling the lights and sound, a festival can actually be quite taxing on the earth and its resources.

That’s why it’s important for both festivals AND their attendees to be more conscious and actively work towards regenerating the earth.

While the widely adopted concept of Leave No Trace (LNT) is good, it’s not enough. Many festivals bolster this ethic and put it into practice, but it doesn’t reverse the damage to the earth. It simply reduces it.

LNT is based on the imaginary idea of a faraway place, where your trash disappears to when you leave the event. Even if you leave your campsite sparkling clean, the trash you produce goes somewhere else (and unfortunately it often in ends up in the ocean or in marginalized communities).

Luckily, Lucidity puts in effort to make the festival a “Leave It Better” event. The festival has separate containers for compost, which builds soil and keeps food waste from landfills where it can produce greenhouse gases.

There’s an “End Single Use” campaign, where the festival strives to use reusable items rather than throwing them away.

Photo by Amir Weiss

The festival benefits the environment socially by offering eco-education during CourseWeek and throughout the event. The event also partners with seasonal, local and organic coops and vendors to provide food during the event.

On a grander scale, it’s not enough to sustain the earth with the current damage that’s been done.

We must regenerate.

That’s where permaculture comes in – it teaches us how to sustain life while healing the damage that’s already been done.

There are events around the world that transform how our gatherings impact the earth. For example, Envision festival plants fruit trees in the jungle that their event is held on.

Events like Envision, Global Eclipse Gathering, and Boom Festival have implemented composting toilets, which turns human waste into a valuable resource. Permaculture convergences, environmental conferences, and permablitz events around the world are pushing the mark on how to regenerate, rather than merely conserve the land that they are held on.

We can’t solely rely on events like Lucidity to care about environmental stewardship; the solutions lie in our hands also.

To make the maximum positive trace at a festival, it takes a two-fold approach: reducing our negative footprints while actively working towards regeneration of the environment.

Photo by Amir Weiss

How to Reduce Your Footprint:

1) Rideshare, Carpool or use public transportation

Or even better, find a transportation source that does not rely on fossil fuels. A bio-diesel vehicle, electric vehicle, or bicycle are some examples. These can be difficult means of transportation to find in order to reach a festival site, but it’s worth trying!

2) No More Plastic

Rather than packing disposable cups, cutlery, and water bottles, bring items from home that you can re-use. Reduce buying and get creative in how you can upcycle items for practical everyday use. Cut down on packaged goods.

3) Pick Up MOOP

MOOP stands for “Matter Out of Place”. It can be anything from a discarded cigarette butt to a rejected tent. Don’t only pick up your own MOOP – pick up other’s MOOP too! It’s a good practice of selfless service.

You can groundscore some pretty cool stuff by helping to pick up trash after a festival. I once scored a tent with one broken pole that someone just left at a festival. All I had to do was repair the pole and I saved hundreds of dollars on a new tent! Make sure that the item was discarded by the original owner before taking it.

Photo by Anna Jones

4) Sort Your Trash

Don’t just pick up your trash – sort it too. It will help keep toxic material out of the ocean, landfills and oppressed communities. Learn how to sort different types of recycling, compost, and trash.

5) Protect The Ecosystem

Stay on trails, avoid trampling on vulnerable plants (that includes with your vehicles!), and don’t bring invasive species into new ecosystems.

How to Regenerate:

1) Choose the Right Gathering

Favor events that actively work towards regenerating their local ecosystems and that build positive relationship with local communities. Don’t always trust what they say on their website – do some research!

2) Educate

Teach your friends about MOOP, eco-conscious living, and how they can reduce their impact on the environment. But try not to be too snobby—lead by example rather than preaching. Give creative gifts to fellow attendees such as MOOP pouches, native plant seeds, upcycled jewelry, fun fact sheets or zines.

Photo by @FishMakesPhotos

3) Volunteer

Since it’s usually not an option to start planting your own native trees on the festival grounds, see if you can volunteer with a local environmental group to help restore the local ecosystem where the event is located.

4) Donate

Support or donate to environmental and social organizations that are associated with the local area of the festival. Examples include tribal councils, eco-restoration groups, and urban community gardens.

If you’re tight on money, energy or time, consider redirecting your time away from partying and towards regenerating the earth or engaging community through volunteering and charity.

5) Right Livelihood

The bigger picture is that we can all try to make our interactions with all beings positive. The more that we uplift humanity, the more people will make conscious decisions.

Learn to live in positive relationship with the earth. Grow food and create habitat by planting edible and native species in your backyard. Consume less, re-use more. Buy local. Engage in your local government and community.

These are all steps towards healing our interactions with society and the planet.

See for yourself at Lucidity.

Tickets available here.

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