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Yackandandah Folk Festival – Going Green

By Matthew Charles-Jones, Yackandandah Folk Festival Committee

Observers on the environmental movement frequently suggest that environmentalists are terrific at telling everyone ‘What Not To Do,’ but less effective in communicating what we can do.

In its own humble way, the Yackandandah Folk Festival is working to model what can be done to offer an event that does not unnecessarily compromise the natural world.  Carbon neutrality has become a key goal for the 2011 festival, which is to be held at the end of March and coincides with the 2011 Earth Hour.

The festival organising committee are aiming for a position where the carbon pollution from the festival (including all the emissions from those who attend) is balanced by measures to absorb the resultant carbon dioxide. 

Progressively, efforts are being made to reduce and separate waste, use biodegradable and recycled products, offer ‘free-range’ water options and to explore how green energy can be integrated into the event. This year we are encouraging people to use public transport or perhaps more realistically, share transport with friends.  We are helping in this process by offering access to an online carpooling tool, (details available on the festival website), which invites people to share travel to the festival. 

Ticket buyers are encouraged to offset their carbon emissions by making a contribution to a local tree planting initiative.  Once all possible steps have been made to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the festival, guests can elect to balance their remaining carbon emissions through the wonderful and tireless technology of the humble tree.  Put simply, the more trees, the greater the storage of carbon!

There is no doubt that the greatest appeal of folk festivals is the terrific ‘soul food’ – sharing the stories and music of more than 40 live performers, time amongst friends (new and old), the calm environs of Yackandandah and perfect autumnal weather.

All this points to a really important and larger question.  How do humans and our expanding population, find ways to sustain both the environment and our ambitions to ‘live fully?’  This is no easy question, but one thing is certain; the answers will not be found in either denying the problem or refusing the dramatic change required. 

So if you wish for a great and green weekend – come along to our little show and consider some of the growing options to support a greener event.