Music Lives!

Hillside Festival: They’re Carbon Neutral!

Hillside Festival is Carbon Neutral!
Organizers, patrons, performers can be proud of our minimal environmental impact

The Hillside Festival is proud to announce that we’re carbon neutral!

Yes! After years of green initiatives that reduced our footprint in every imaginable area of the festival, and after years of measuring how much carbon we save and create, we are proud to tell you that we are carbon neutral.

With the help of a huge number of fantastic volunteers, we have compiled years of hourly data on things like our energy and water use, the number of cars and bicycles that come to our festival, and the number of people on our shuttle buses. We have determined that our footprint is small with respect to energy, hospitality, waste, and promotion, but, no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t reduce our transportation footprint as dramatically. You see, people fly and drive to our festivals. And, though it sounds sacrilegious, we do want them to come.

Over the years, our green initiatives have been very successful. Here’s what we’ve saved in carbon emissions at the summer festival, for instance:

Composting: 682 tonnes saved
Tree planting: 32 tonnes saved
Meatless Meals: 154 tonnes saved
Water Tanker: 68 tonnes saved
Dishwashing: 50 tonnes saved
Shuttle Bus: 410 tonnes saved
Recycling: 460 tonnes saved.

But our summer festival also produces about 57 tonnes of CO2 and a lot of that is in transportation, which we knew we would have to offset.

First, we wanted to get our emissions down as low as possible before we purchased carbon offsets. And then we consulted with our board member, Rob Pangborn, who is doing graduate work in sustainability, for an idea of the best projects we could fund that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He picked a wind power project in India. That may seem like a long way to go, but since climate change is a global problem, an emission reduction made elsewhere has the same positive effect as one made locally.

We thank you, our members and patrons, for supporting our green initiatives, our Sustainability Committee, Ian Garrett from York University, Jeanette Lynes from the University of Waterloo, as well as a huge host of students and volunteers who painstakingly counted, measured, gauged, and calculated year after year.

We all did this. We all should be proud!

The Hillside Festival is a 36-year old charitable organization that celebrates creativity
through music, art, and community and that champions altruism, equality, environmentalism and peacemaking.


For more information, please contact:

Marie Zimmerman, Executive Director, Hillside Festival:  519-831-1576

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