Among the many sustainability initiatives at this year's Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival are a group of folks from four Vermont based companies who are dedicated to producing tangible carbon reductions in festival participants' daily lives. Representatives from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Seventh Generation, dealer.com and Gardener's Supply have returned to the premier music festival in the United States to engage the Bonnaroo community in reducing their carbon footprint over the next year.
The Carbon Shredders, as they call themselves, are aiming to get 10,000 folks to reduce their footprint by 10% by Bonnaroo 2010. Though the Shredders have only signed-up forty percent of their stated goal, they have already surpassed their 2008 record of 3,000 participants.
All the Shredders are asking for is your email address and they will be following up with all registrants in the days, weeks, and months to come, to check out the participants' progress. After signing-up, participants will be contacted to work through a personal carbon calculator to establish a baseline carboon footprint. After that, participants should expect more communications from the Shredders who will follow-up on the carbon footprint reduction progress (in a non-spammy, non-nagging sort of way).
This year's efforts from the Carbon Shredders are focusing on practical solutions to cut carbon, according to Shredder, Stacie Okosky of Richmond, Vermont. "People really want to help out, they just need to know how," says Okosky.
Perhaps the simplest ways to cut carbon use for most participants, according to Okosky, is finding carbon reductions in their laundry practices (though judging solely by the cleanliness of festival attendees on the fourth day of a four-day festival, one might think that clean clothes are not real high on people's priorities!). Washing clothes in cold (or even warm water) and hang-drying clothes can slash energy use substantially, said Okosky, who is hoping to see the Shredders' message go viral as people take what they've learned home to their own communities and social networks.
"Community-based programs are the most successful and this is a great community," said Okosky.
As an incentive to participate, the Carbon Shredders will be raffling-off twenty or so Solio solar-powered battery chargers to lucky participants. For those who would rather not give their email addresses, the Carbon Shredders are still educating interested visitors to their booth about the simple steps individuals can take to reduce their carbon impact now - and they are having tremendous success in doing so.
"The crowd is so knowledgeable [about sustainability] already," said Okosky