(Courtesy photo by Darragh Dandurand)
The 12th annual Greenfest Philly festival took place this past Sunday, and it was proclaimed to be the “largest environmental festival in the Philadelphia area” by its host, Clean Air Council.
With more than 100 sustainability-focused exhibitors and vendors set up at the Bainbridge Green park, the event was an outlet for attendees to learn how they can become a bit more environmentally conscious in their daily lives.
But as the saying goes, if you can’t walk the walk, don’t talk the talk, right? Rest assured, the Clean Air Council, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has been a vocal and active advocate for protecting the air and our environment, and that effort can be seen in how the nonprofit plans and executes its annual festival.
— Clean Air Council (@cleanaircouncil) September 12, 2017
For one, the whole event is powered by the sun via solar panels provided by Center City-based energy provider The Energy Co-op, and it’s been that way since 2012, said Katie Edwards, director of social media for the Clean Air Council, in an email.
They also make sure to provide water bottle refill stations in addition to reusable plastic bottles, put composting and recycling bins around the park and offer free bike valet parking. The festival is also a chance to educate people on the environmental issues that the org is pushing to address — one way they did this was by having volunteers walk around with big thought bubbles that offered tidbits of facts and information.
Want to host your own environmentally friendly event so maybe someday your org can boast a “Best for the World” status? Edwards said educating yourself is a key element in making sure you provide “easy and obvious” ways for attendees to take actions that will reduce negative environmental impact overall.
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“That means going beyond encouraging people to bike and providing free valet bike parking,” she said. “It means going beyond putting recycling and compost bins out and educating event organizations, workers and volunteers on what can go in each container.”
Sometimes, Edwards said, you can’t be afraid to use a bit of your imagination. There was one year when the Clean Air Council repurposed old event shirts to make reusable tote bags for festival attendees. It’s through efforts like this that made this year’s Greenfest Philly a zero-waste event.
“With a little creativity, you can come up with better, more sustainable solutions to all kinds of issues,” she said.