Being green: it’s simple really

Kat New items, News

Words by Kat Bennett, Green Gathering Media & Comms

Last week I had the chance to attend a Green Events and Innovations conference held by A Greener Festival.

It’s always fun to see a bunch of people gathered together who are probably more comfortable in a muddy field than in the underground conference suite of a posh hotel. But there we were in the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, brought together for a full day of chat about how to run a festival sustainably. 

It was a fascinating, inspiring day, where I was privileged to witness just how many people are working so hard to make the music industry a leader in environmental practices. It also made me see one way in which the festival I work with – The Green Gathering – is so completely unique.

As many of you may know, The Green Gathering community has been around in various incarnations for quite a while, creating festivals and events with a low-impact ethos at the absolute forefront of everything it does.

I’m writing this as a relative newcomer to the community. As someone who’s only been working with the festival for two years, there’s one thing I hear time and time again when I ask why something is done the way it is.

“Well…because…well, why would you do it any other way?!”. This answer has always told me more about the Green Gathering ethos than anything else!

Growing awareness of the urgency of the climate crisis is making more organisations aware of the changes they need to incorporate to create sustainable – even, ideally, regenerative – ways of working. 

But these changes can feel hard to make. Maybe you have to convince stakeholders that sustainability is now more important than the bottom line. Or you have to consider training, infrastructure investments and more – and all this when your company is only just recovering after covid. 

In the GEI keynote address, Aurora (the luminous Norwegian singer, songwriter and producer) kept repeating one thing: “it’s simple isn’t it?”. She was referring to the choices we make, and the changes needed. 

Looking at The Green Gathering in the context of the wider industry, it becomes apparent that the best way to live and work sustainably is to do it from the start.

Our festival is lucky in that the sustainable ‘choice’ isn’t a choice, it’s just how things are done. And it made me think about how much easier it would be to enact the necessary changes in our lives if we could just imagine or act as though the green way was the only way.

Imagine if you’d never known anything other than

  • Sourcing and eating locally grown food
  • Refilling reusable containers when you need to top up your cereals
  • Travelling by cycling or walking, or taking public transport
  • Turning off the tap water when cleaning your teeth

Suddenly it sounds much simpler. We don’t have to factor a ‘sacrifice’ into sustainable living. It’s just the way things are done. 

We see in society how changes to the ‘normal’ way of doing things can and do happen on a small scale. Most people walk into a supermarket with their own bag – the offer of a throwaway plastic carrier being rare now. Plenty of us take our own cup into a coffee shop, something that would have been seen as weird a decade ago. And as we share skills and grow in the world of music, we see how changes roll out across festivals as well, from growing numbers of solar stages to public transport promotions and more.

Sometimes it feels like there’s so much work to be done – but breaking it down, and remembering just how simple the choices really are, makes things much clearer. 

Tickets to The Green Gathering | 4 – 7 August 2022