What's your new year's resolution? At the Atlanta Dogwood Festival our resolution is to create a revolution in the impact that festivals, like ours, have on the environment.
Last year, we took steps towards this goal by positioning recycling bins throughout Piedmont Park and using bio-diesel fuel for all of our generators. This year, we want to do more.
We have signed a partnership agreement with the US Green Building Council – Georgia Chapter, to create a Green Event Initiative for our 2010 Festival. The USGBC is a non-profit organization focused on the environmentally and socially responsible development of buildings and communities.
Through our partnership with the USGBC, our goal is to take some of the standards and principals typically reserved for buildings and apply them to the processes and functions of festivals. We want to create a system of actions that festivals across the country can use to cause a measureable reduction in their use of resources.
Through careful review of our processes, we have come up with a handful of ways that the Atlanta Dogwood Festival can be more sustainable in our activities.
Here are some of the changes we're excited to introduce for the 2010 festival:
Requiring food vendors to use only recyclable, compostable containers and supplies
The food at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival is as popular as the art; however, the art goes home and the food containers – often made of Styrofoam - are left behind. This year, we are requiring food vendors to use more eco-friendly alternatives like uncoated paper, aluminum food service ware, and "bio-plastics" made from corn, potato and other plant materials.
The recyclable materials will stay out of the landfills and find new life in post-consumer products. The compostable materials will be recycled into soil amendment - a portion of which is to be returned to the Piedmont Park grounds.
Use of recycling centers, staffed by the Girl Scouts, to assist and educate people on which materials go in which containers and why
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting in 2012, the Girl Scouts are engaged in a two-year initiative called "Girl Scouts Forever Green." Their goal is to work within their schools and communities to promote sustainability and responsible use of resources.
In support of this initiative, Atlanta area Girl Scouts will be on hand at each of the recycling centers throughout the park to educate visitors about the types of materials that can be recycled, the importance of recycling and of reducing waste in landfills.
Creating a solar powered acoustic stage
This year we hope to have the biggest star of all as part of our acoustic stage – the sun. We are working with both solar suppliers and staging companies to develop the ability to power all of the stage's electrical components with the solar power collected from Atlanta's sunny, spring days.
Use of electric powered golf carts
If you've attended the festivals in the past, you may have been among the unfortunate few who have been left in our fumes as we made our way from one end of the park to the other in our gas powered golf carts. This year, we are excited to have a fleet of electric powered carts that we will use during festival hours.
Discovery centers positioned throughout the festival to educate and encourage people about sustainable practices
Sustainable practices can be applied to many areas of our day to day lives, but knowing what to do or how to begin isn't always easy. Through demonstrations and hands-on experiences, each of our discovery centers will provide visitors with an opportunity to learn simple ways in which they can take action and make their environments a little more eco-friendly.
Dedicated sponsor booths for companies whose business is green initiatives and/or products
In addition to our artists' booths, we will be creating The Green Village which will be a series of booths dedicated to those businesses that provide eco-friendly services or those who sell eco-friendly products.
We are looking forward to making these changes and reducing the impact we have on Piedmont Park and the environment overall. Our hope is to be an example for all festivals and to demonstrate that great events don't have to have a great environmental impact.
For more information or if you would like to be involved, please visit our website www.dogwood.org contact our offices at 404.817.6642
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