The Green Times attended eco festival Rocking the Daisies, which was not only good for our souls, but also good for the environment.
“You use things faster than they reproduce,” Andy le May reprimanded the crowd of keen listeners huddled against the wind at the Rocking the Daisies Hemp stage.
This founder of icologie says that we have the power to live sustainably and happily now, but that media and marketers convince us to believing that more is better.
“Our image and self esteem is linked so strongly to our physical possessions that “all the stuff we buy ends up owning us.”
We are used to measuring success in terms of the money we spend, like our country’s Gross Domestic Product. This means that the more we consume the better and more successful we are as a country.
But Bhutan has found another tool for measuring a country’s success: Gross National Happiness.
The philosophy is in the peace and happiness of the people and the security and sovereignty of the nation. Andy demonstrated that we should all be living a little lighter, and hence conserve our planet.
These are the five steps to happiness:
- taking notice
- staying active
- continual learning
Andy also introduced us to the know-choose-share cycle. Firstly, we should sniff out where our passions lie and learn about it, whether about recycling or eco cars. Secondly, share what we know with others. This is the best way to encourage sustainable living.
“Be the example; live sustainably and use positivity and solutions to inspire others,” Andy advised as the best way to spark a change in someone’s lifestyle.
Mountain climber teaching children
Another inspiring speaker was the young mountain climber with MyKape. Kai Fitchen shared his dream to “keep climbing mountains in a responsible and sustainable way.”
In 2012 he had completed a Kape to Kenya trip. The MyKape team committed to climbing Mount Kenya, the second highest peak in Africa, in an environmentally friendly way by travelling in a carbon neutral fashion. This meant that they hitchhiked, cycled and used public transport like buses and trains to reach their destination.
But the destination was not their only priority. The team also committed to creating environmental awareness in the communities they passed through on their 14 000km journey. Kai said that the aim was to “get the kids excited about nature and educate them about climate change.” Climate change is directly impacting the lives of many in Sub-Saharan Africa, yet 56% of the people are unaware of it. The glaciers that crown Mount Kenya supply 70% of Africa with fresh water, but this resource will be gone in 40 years due to global warming.
Kai is already warming up for his next expedition in January 2014: Kape to Atacama. The MyKape team hopes to summit Ojos Del Salado in South America, which towers at 6.893km above sea level. Once again they will embrace their carbon neutral policy. The first leg of the journey, crossing the Atlantic, will be completed by participating in the Cape to Rio yacht race. The team will be faced with geographic extremes, from deserts to perilous mountains. And once again, the goal will be to reach out to schools and communities they pass through and promote sustainable living.
How green is the Daisies?
Although Rocking the Daisies is a well regarded musical festival in South Africa, it also places the environment as its top priority. The festival hosted at Cloof Wine Estate catered for a swarm of music lovers from across the country, with a total attendance of 16 500 people. How can such a large festival be environmentally sustainable?
Rocking the Daisies sports the following mantra: “We aim to host a premier music and lifestyle festival in an environmentally and social responsible manner under the motto of play hard, tread lightly’.”
These are some of its numerous awards from last year:
- Winner – Eco-Logic Awards in Transport 2012
- Winner – Eco-Logic Awards in Recycling 2012
- Winner – Highly Commended in A Greener Festival Awards 2012
The organizers have taken a sustainable approach to the festival, seeking the best ways to manage such a large scale event in an eco-friendly manner. Everywhere you walk you see signs promoting tree planting to reduce your carbon footprint, bins for recyclables and biodegradables. Presentations on sustainable living were offered at the Hemp Stage in the Green Village, which housed a number of green stores.
Many practices were implemented to ensure that the Daisies festival had a minimal footprint on the earth:
- Waste Management includes banning bottled water and promoting recycling and composting onsite (a total of 63% waste recycled in 2012).
- Transport principles include encouraging Cycling the Daisies, Walking the Daisies, the use of bus shuttles and sharing lifts.
- Energy provision included LED lighting, generators run off biodiesel as well as solar and wind power.
- Water was conserved by providing taps and purified water on site and recycling grey water.
- To protect the environment and external Impact Assessment was conducted and prohibited areas were fenced off.
- Procurement focused on locally made merchandise, biodegradable food and cleaning products. Even a phone app was developed with the full programme of Daisies readily available to avoid printing.
- To promote local and social economic growth the Daisies donated musical instruments and bicycles to Darling Trust and utilised local goods and services.
This festival demonstrated to me that we can continue doing what we love, have fun and still take care of the earth. It comes down to managing our lifestyles and being conscious of our actions and the effect they bear on the earth.
By Soninke Combrinck