“It’s time to stop using words like ’environment’, ‘green’ and ‘sustainability’ as marketing catchphrases, and actually invest in tackling these matters head on at festivals. Festival owners and event organisers have a golden opportunity to instigate behavioural change around waste,
by promoting an environmentally respectful approach to outdoor recreation, and contributing to the creation of a community of
responsible festival goers who will take these learnings with them beyond the festival gates.”
Maura Lyons, Manager, Leave No Trace Ireland
Leave No Trace Ireland, the Irish arm of the international environmental non-profit organisation, has called on festival owners to take urgent measures to avoid the huge waste of recyclable resources, as seen in videos and photographs shared online, following last weekend’s Electric Picnic in Stradbally, Co. Laois.
Maura Lyons, Manager of Leave No Trace Ireland said: “These photos and videos from the Electric Picnic festival site in Stradbally, Co. Laois are hugely disturbing and showcase the unnecessary waste that too often occurs after festivals in Ireland. It’s time to stop using words like ’environment’, ‘green’ and ‘sustainability’ as marketing catchphrases, and actually invest in tackling these issues head on at festivals. Leave No Trace Ireland calls on responsible festival owners and event organisers across our nation to make a real commitment to the design, development and implementation of a sustainable event plan for all future events. While we understand efforts are made to ensure these sites are returned ‘as found’ through clearing and dumping, it is possible to implement on-site activities and supports to encourage festival goers to take individual responsibility for their actions with regards to the environmental impact of their use of the outdoors. It is not enough to simply clear and dump millions of euros in materials into landfill sites. We are literally drowning in our own waste. Many of these materials are re-usable and recyclable. Seeing bulldozers scorch the site is sickening in a time when these materials could be used for many purposes.”
Lyons added: “It is clear that those attendees who feel it is acceptable to walk away from their own waste need to be made accountable, and a step towards this is on-site education and engagement. It isn’t easy to motivate huge crowds, especially in a music festival setting, however a well-planned and professionally managed approach can go a long way to ensuring that awareness is heightened. Yes, individuals should be held accountable, but clearly this isn’t happening organically. Festival owners and event organisers have the golden opportunity to instigate behavioural change around waste, by promoting an environmentally respectful approach to outdoor recreation, and contributing to the creation of a community of responsible festival goers who will take these learnings with them beyond the festival gates. It is heartening to see many festivals and large scale events taking their environmental responsibilities seriously. There will always be waste from festivals, that is understandable, but there is a lot more that can be done to reduce the impact of tens of thousands of people gathered in one area over a number of days.”
Leave No Trace Ireland is an environmental not for profit company made up of member organisations with a shared interest in encouraging responsible enjoyment of Irelands natural environment. The key mission of the organisation is to promote and inspire responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and membership. The Leave No Trace Ireland education programme strives to inspire those who enjoy outdoor recreation to take personal responsibility and to reduce their impact on the environment, through simple skills and techniques.
The Leave No Trace Ireland message has been adopted by numerous organisations across Ireland including government departments, state agencies, national governing bodies of sport, education and training organisations, as well as a range of tourism businesses. Leave No Trace Ireland promotes responsible festivals and events, and provides support to festival owners and event organisers in the design and delivery of achievable sustainability and environmental impact programmes to ensure their events contribute to a greater awareness of the environment and encourage individual responsibility.
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Maura Lyons, Leave No Trace Ireland firstname.lastname@example.org / 087 9005683
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Maura Lyons, Manager – Leave No Trace Ireland
Maura is a graduate of Science from UCC, holds a Master’s Degree in Communications, and a BSc in Psychology. She is currently undertaking a PHD at NUIG which explores conservation in outdoor recreation. She is a certified Leave No Trace Advanced Trainer. Before joining Leave No Trace Ireland as Manager, Maura worked overseas for Enterprise Ireland within the environmental sector, coordinating Ministerial and Presidential Trade Missions for high potential start-up Irish companies in Northern Europe. She also worked with Fáilte Ireland in assisting the development of Ireland’s first Coastal Blueway Kayak and Snorkel Trails. Maura has been awarded for her efforts in innovation at the UCC Entrepreneur Awards. Her volunteer efforts were recognised at the Volunteer Citizen of the Year awards, by the President of Ireland. She has recently completed her first trans-Atlantic voyage from the Caribbean to the Azores. Maura currently sits on the Council of Gaisce - The President's Award. She holds senior outdoor qualifications and experience in white-water kayaking, canoeing, snorkelling, power boating, sailing, lifeguarding, surfing, climbing and mountaineering.