It’s known, and in the current days, even obvious to everyone: parties make trash.

They not only make trash, as they can persuade and drive hundreds, thousands of people to either forget about the post-fun consequences, or on the contrary, to be more aware of the trash and wastage caused.

Parties and festivals represent a lot of weight in the general contemporary human lifestyle, not only regarding the rubbish that results from large amounts of people eating, drinking and so on, as also resources, CO2 emissions and energy usage throughout the whole process of making an event happen.

Given the unavoidable climate crisis upon us – which has been going on for decades, even though the majority of Mankind have chosen to ignore it, or to simply remain in the ignorance bubble -, the reasonable step forward seems to be the reinvention of the modus operandi in pretty much every working industry.

This is much more than a new marketing trend, or a fresh requirement to be “cool” in the field. Many companies seem to fall in the web of “green capitalism”; they mostly change their communication campaigns, instead of rethinking the roots of their production methods, nor  their resources management. This often includes event promoters, agencies, festivals and all sorts of music-related organizations.

Taking real action in the context of the climate crisis in the XXI century – which is actually the same as making an attempt to survive as a species – should be the norm, and not seen as something cool, or trendy. The terms “green”, “environmental friendly” or “sustainable” are often misused and do not reflect the reality behind how things are set.

Without an aim to brag, these were the first steps we have taken in the past 2 – 3 years in our path to respond to the climate crisis:

  • No flyers or posters have been used (ever) to promote the ELA parties. Since we started, we rely on the digital tools we can access, and mainly word-of-mouth, with special focus in all the team members’ personal network. In the first year, paper wristbands were used to consolidate the event’s concept and improve your experience; in the meantime, for ecological reasons, the wristbands have been swapped for a stamp.
  • Whenever the venue for a specific party requires a build up, which may include DJ Booth, Lounge Areas, Decor and so forth, the materials are collected prior to being wasted. We reuse and upcycle all sorts of materials, from plastic to wood, card and whatever we can find – and in the process of finding them, we occasionally take the chance to clean the landscape. We avoid investing in new materials or objects to create these structures at the party, in order to promote a circular economy and reduce the demand.
  • In past events that happened in the Nature – such as ELA in the Woods or Ela in the Sand -, portable ashtrays were given to party-goers free of charge in order to avoid/reduce cigarette butts to be left in the floor. After each event, the dancefloor and surrounding areas were clean to make sure no cigarette butts (and other types of small rubbish) were left behind.
  • It’s a shame that glitter, a great feature to magic and happiness in the party, turns out to be harmful for Nature, as it is made of microplastics which will hardly decompose, and will contaminate the soil. For this, we have turned the magic towards biodegradable glitter, which is made from compostable/organic matters that simply mix with Nature itself.
  • As recycling does not represent a solution for the major plastic problem, ELA went single-use plastic free: the cups used in the parties are reusable (either made of polypropylene or glass), and only bamboo straws are served (from our friends and partners Dois Vadios, Portuguese activist online brand).
  • The opportunities to reduce and be cleaner go beyond the party set up and running. Lisbon is a hard one to move around due to its ups and downs; nevertheless, every time it is possible to go around the hills using the cycle path that goes from one extreme of the city to the other, down by the river, we always choose to make our work-related trips by bicycle in order to reduce our emissions to zero. Second option is using the public transports – they are not as fast nor as clean as the bicycle.
  • Last but not least, we try to encourage our crowd, who is generally informed and aware, to cooperate with our efforts with simple but effective actions, like coming to the party by bicycle, using public transports or car sharing, and bringing their own reusable cups if they can.

A lot of work is yet to be done and implemented. Our ecological footprint is still far from what would be desirable; therefore, one of the main goals for ELA in the near future is to double our efforts and study new ways to achieve the least carbon footprint usage possible.

In the parties, there are two main things we aim to introduce whenever possible, that are still missing in the present time: the source of power for the audiovisual equipment – which should be renewable and clean, as an alternative to electricity -, like manpowered, sunpowered and/or windpowered energy; and the recourse to dry toilets, which not only create a system that allows to generate compost from poo, as they save liters and liters of water (no single water drop is wasted in the whole process), and are, by far, cleaner and safer than the regular chemical toilets (as they are not as propitious to bacteria spread as the regular ones).

We recommend the watching of the short-doc “How music festivals are responding to the climate crisis” – which inspired our blog post -, developed by Resident Advisor, to broadly understand this topic and to what extent we can all cooperate.

As information and communication are vital parts of the learning process, we invite you guys to get in touch with us anytime, share your thoughts and propose other solutions and measures that, in your point of view, can be applied at ELA to respond to the climate crisis. You’re part of the Team.

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