Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Silver Lake Jubilee: A festival's mission for sustainability

An upcoming partner event this spring (May 22 & 23, in fact) is the Silver Lake Jubilee. This brand new, two-day art and music festival celebrates the cultural offerings of Silver Lake and surrounding neighborhoods. When I first learned of Silver Lake Jubilee, I was excited to help support the event as it seemed a perfect fit for ExperienceLA fans: family-friendly, promotes art and cultural awareness, embraces the community...In speaking with the event organizers to get additional details, I discovered that they were interested in promoting not just a community, but a sustainable community.

This intrigued me. I wondered how a festival of any size can go green beyond providing recycling bins. So the organizers put me in touch with one of their partners, Leslie VanKeuren from Sustain LA. Leslie is working with SLJ to help design a festival that will have "zero waste" when all is said and done, meaning that 90% of waste will be diverted from landfills through recycling, composting, and by designing out the waste.

I was surprised to learn all the various ways waste could be "designed" out of an event. For instance, I never really stopped to think about the water I purchased on those hot summer days attending music festivals. Nor did I think twice about what my food was served in or on. Sure, I was at least aware of putting my water bottle into the recycling bin, and making sure my disposable plates and aluminum foil went into the waste basket. But I never even considered that those items might not be necessary in the first place.

One of the ways SLJ will look to reduce waste is by encouraging the use of reusable beverage containers. Food vendors will also be educated on options for plating and serving that are biodegradable. Solar panels will be brought in to supply energy to the event. And festival goers can do their part by taking Metro or other public transportation, or riding their bikes to Silver Lake Jubilee (bike valets will be available). Volunteers will also be available to provide more information for those interested in learning how to be more effective in reducing your carbon footprint.

Of course, while these are just a few of the ways that SLJ hope to achieve a zero waste and carbon neutral status, the event won't accomplish its green goal simply by design. The biggest challenge is to change how people think about waste. Surely it won't happen overnight, but the effort is a start. At least for me, learning about SLJ's goals and the steps it's taking has made me more aware and conscientous of the waste I produce on a daily basis (shocking!), and adjust some of my behaviors. It will be curious to see whether other festival attendees will be affected in the same way and make a conscious effort to help eliminate waste while they're enjoying the jubilee. It's exciting to think about the possibility of LA one day becoming a leader in sustainable living.

As a side note, check out the calendar listing, or back on our blog for event updates as musical acts are confirmed!


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