What it means to be GREEN

As a Londoner for four years now, I’ve tried to soak up as many amazing (and FREE!) festivals at Victoria Park as my busy school and work schedule has allowed. This year, however, I was lucky enough to land a job that has put me smack-dab in the middle of all the excitement (and sometimes chaos).

I must admit, summer festivals look a lot different behind the scenes – with all the meetings, management, set-ups, take-downs, policies, rules and by-laws. Not to mention the waste produced throughout the festivals – and here’s where I come in. Since we have yet to come up with some ingenious way to make a waste free world (although we’re working on it!), it is my job to ensure that the festivals are as green as possible. How is this done might you ask? My job in particular, is twofold.

First, I help volunteers understand how to properly stream the waste produced during the festivals, and help them understand the necessity/ importance of such tasks – I’m a guide to the green side, if you will. If I have done my job correctly, the volunteers will pay forward this green knowledge when they engage with festival goers at one of our many EcoStations.

The second part of ‘the greening of the festivals’ is more systematic in nature. Here we begin to see the collaboration of many parties that are involved in making a festival happen. This is a big mash up of City of London Parks and Recreation, Event/Waste management representatives, festival organizers and the environmental group, Waste Free World.

The coalition started this greening at the source of the problem, meaning the vendors and suppliers who provide items to festival goers that eventually end up in landfill. To date Styrofoam, that pesky, non-compostable material, has been banned from the park through the efforts of the coalition. The coalition – or the green team, as I like to call them – uses each festival as an opportunity to improve, in hopes that one day festivals at Victoria Park will be waste free, and our green initiatives may be internalized by at least some of the festival goers.