What Every Festival on Earth Can Learn from Wanderlust
"Wanderlust" is described as a strong desire to travel the world, but that wish can only be fulfilled if we work together to take care of ourselves, strive to care for one another and live to take care of the planet. Wanderlust , a traveling, worldwide celebration of mindful lifestyles for yoga enthusiasts and music lovers alike, is a true embodiment of that mindfulness and it shines through the festival's commitment to sustainability.
“As yogis we practice mindfulness in an effort to cultivate our best selves,” said Caitlin Milliken, Wanderlust's Sustainability Advisor & Guest Experience Manager. “Mindfulness also means being present in the moment, in your immediate surroundings, and pausing to revere nature. Every action we take somehow impacts the environment whether it is by utilizing natural resources, creating waste, or emitting energy; therefore, it is crucial for us to be mindful of the effects of our actions to protect future generations.”
Mindful Sustainability Through Co-Creation
Photo by Ali Kaukas
Festival sustainability is a community effort, and Wanderlust continues to embrace this notion by encouraging staff and attendees to be involved in green efforts through different community programs and resources before, after and during the festival. All Wanderlust attendees are invited to co-create in Wanderlust’s green efforts the moment a ticket is purchased through the festival’s C02 emissions reduction program.
Wanderlust’s CarboNZero offset scheme program gives attendees the opportunity to contribute to the overall reduction of C02 emissions on the planet; 100% of those donations go directly to Trees, Water, & People , Wanderlust’s partner in reforestation projects. TWP plants a diverse balance of native species to uphold the biodiversity of each specific region where plantings take place, all of which have previously been heavily deforested. Wanderlust will match any donation made. This means that by adding this ticket, attendees are contributing to the overall reduction of C02 emissions on the planet.
Festival grounds are also equipped with sustainability resources. Educational Zero Hero waste diversion tents and a volunteer green team can be found strewn across Wanderlust grounds to ensure composting and recycling are both easy and convenient. Volunteers closely monitor the waste stream to ensure patron compliance and to avoid cross contamination.
“Festivals are all out celebrations of community, and by hosting or attending a festival, you're contributing to the effect it has on the environment,” Caitlin explained. “This means we're all responsible for the subsequent impacts and pitching in to help mitigate the effects. While we come together in celebration at Wanderlust, we also try our best to balance these effects by conserving and preserving wherever we can and really raising awareness”
Promoting Green Efforts Through Education
Photo by Ali Kaukas
In addition to encouraging yogis to get involved in pre-fest and on-site festival greening efforts, Wanderlust works to raise awareness by providing patrons educational workshops conducted by some of the most impactful sustainability professionals of our time. Last year, Bill McKibben, environmentalist and founder of 350.org, joined Wanderlust Stratton to speak on the Climate Fight (you can watch his captivating presentation here). In previous years, other sustainability speakers included Zero Waste "Trash is for Tossers" blogger Lauren Singer and ecologist Matt Wasson . These educational talks provide attendees with the educational resources needed to go back and make a sustainable difference in their own communities.
Keeping Up With a Moving Target
Photo by Keith Tharp
Wanderlust acknowledges the fact that sustainability is a moving target and sets a high standard when it comes to festival greening efforts by constantly evolving with the environment’s needs as education unfolds. In addition to expanding its onsite Green Team, Wanderlust introduced the Globelet to its New Zealand festival in 2015. The Globelet is a customizable, rigid, reusable cup that reduces the waste from cups and cans at festivals and other large events. As use of similar items spreads, this will majorly reduce plastic and paper waste.
In addition to adapting to the environment’s needs with the times, Wanderlust makes an effort to cater to the specific needs of different regions. In 2016, Wanderlust O’ahu partnered with an organization called Sustainable Coastlines, a 501 c3 nonprofit whose primary goal is to inspire diverse communities to take care of the coastlines. In addition to working on a waste diversion program in Oahu, Wanderlust and Sustainable Coastlines organized a beach cleanup on the island's North Shore in 2016 and 2017. That particular region is in major need of this support, due to the fact that Marine debris from thousands of miles away washes ashore after passing through the North Pacific Garbage Patch. Wanderlust and Sustainable Coastlines made a conscious effort to leave this area better than they found it.
Setting the Sustainability Standard
Photo by Ali Kaukas
Wanderlust is a tastemaker on the festival scene, an inspiration in the holistic lifestyle community and a genuine leader in the overall goal of creating a more sustainable festival model. While the festival has worked to accomplish big things, it’s the small details that truly make a difference, and those are the things that all other festivals can emulate to create a more green community for everyone. With sustainability coming to the forefront of the festival community, it's exciting to anticipate how far along we will come as a culture in the next few years.
“When planning any event, being solution-focused is the best mindset. Make it as easy as possible for attendees to pitch in and do their part – whether it's offering water refill stations or having educational signage for recycling and compost receptacles,” said Caitlin. “A little bit goes a long way and it should always be a group effort!”