Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lollapalooza Goes Green

Lollapalooza will take place August 1-3 in Chicago's Grant Park. Headliners include Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, and Nine Inch Nails. And in a move reminiscent of Super Bowl XLII, organizers are pushing for the event to be completely green. Generators will be run on biodiesel, all paper products will be made of recycled materials (including TP and merchandise bags), and Styrofoam will be banned. When you purchase your tickets online, they also offer you an optional fee of $5 which will go towards the purchase of renewable energy credits from Green Mountain Energy designed to offset the CO2 emissions you are responsible for by traveling to Chicago.

"The Green Commitment at Lollapalooza" is a lot of good ideas, but if you read deeply, that's all they are: ideas. There's a lot of strong language, but nowhere does it say "We are X% away from making this year's festival carbon neutral." And even if organizers claimed this year's Lollapalooza was completely carbon neutral, that wouldn't be true. Purchasing credits to offset emissions doesn't really decrease the amount of CO2 that gets emitted. It just helps the emitter feel a little less guilty about their actions. To be realistic, carbon neutrality is an unrealistic albeit honorable goal for this kind of event.

Even if it is all just a bunch of talk, it's talk that needs to be heard more. This program will remind concert goers throughout their visit to the park that their actions have environmental consequences, and I believe that education is the biggest step in battling climate change. As information becomes more and more widespread, then it will have a larger impact on everyone around. It's a good sign that events like the Super Bowl and Lollapalooza are spreading the word and improving society's awareness of climate change and the ways in which anthropological effects can be diminished in everyday life.

Lollapalooza: good music AND good for the environment. However, I do wonder if they're accounting for all of those cigarette lighter emissions...

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