It’s no surprise that festivals can have an environmental impact. Thousands of people gathered in one place is always going to create waste – when you consider the nature of consumerism: fast fashion, single use plastics, throw-away, flimsy tents, paired with audience travel and artists jetting in from all around the world, the impact can soon add up!
Kambe’s flagship festival Shambala focuses on ways to minimise the negative impact of the festival industry: we have reduced the events carbon footprint by over 90% in the last decade, we run the show on 100% renewable energy, we’ve been proudly meat and fish free since 2016, removed single use plastics from the festival ecosystem back in 2013 and balance our staff and audience travel miles as standard. By making these changes at our festival we have also been able to influence our audience and encourage them to make similar changes when they return to their everyday lives, as well as facilitating conversations engaging them in climate discussion.
But there is always more we can learn to better ourselves, our events and our environmental impact. So, as a team we took it upon ourselves to get truly Carbon Literate!
You may be wondering what we mean by Carbon Literacy…
The Carbon Literacy Project defines it as “an awareness of the carbon costs and impacts of everyday activities and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisation basis”. When you have the necessary understanding around climate change it allows you to create a positive shift in behaviour to combat it within all areas of your life.
Climate EQ provides Carbon Literacy training to those working in the music industry and gives organisations and businesses the opportunity to learn about climate change and the industry’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions. By creating more awareness of just how much the music and festival industry affects the environment, we can enact innovative and significant changes to combat our footprint.
In our training sessions with Climate EQ we focused on imagining a better future in order to create one. Through understanding all aspects of climate change, from the science behind it, to our influence as human beings, we were able to clearly picture what changes we can make to reduce our negative impact on the world as individuals and as an organisation to work towards a better future.
We learnt some pretty hard-to-swallow facts too. …
In less than a century we have burnt over half of all fossil fuel reserves resulting in the highest C02 emissions in 800,00 years of data – and did you know (we didn’t!) that a single human being releases 40 billion tonnes of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere every year? (For reference, that’s the equivalent weight of 200 million jumbo jets!)
Although singular action alone isn’t enough to reverse the damage done, as individuals we have a responsibility to do what we can. It can be easy to feel powerless, as an individual – your reusable water bottle or bamboo drinking straw might seem a pretty futile effort when 100 giant corporations are responsible for around 71% of global emissions – BUT, believe it or not, individual and household reductions in carbon producing behaviours has the potential to reduce the world’s overall emissions by 25-30% of what’s needed to keep us from avoiding catastrophic levels of global warming. And, a movement is made of people!
The entire Kambe team worked out our individual Carbon Footprint using the WWF Footprint Calculator. While the majority of us came in below the 2021 UK Target of 10.5 tonnes it’s worth noting that the world average is between just 4 and 5 tonnes and the poorest 50% of the world are responsible for less than 1% of total C02 emissions, but are often the ones most devastatingly affected by climate change. Knowing this, does the UK’s target seem low enough or should we be doing more in our country to reduce our own carbon footprints?
Everyone on the Kambe team has taken a group pledge within their department to commit to a carbon reducing action, which will be integrated into this year’s planning. In the MarComms department we are working to reduce the carbon footprint of our event websites and the finance department are looking into ethical banking. No action is too big or too small and hopefully you’ll join us in making everyday changes!