Social and eco sustainability work hand in hand

In the dif intro, we say we advocate for social and eco sustainability, why do we mix DEI with ecology? Simply because ecology is fully part of DEI as pollution first affects individuals and communities already marginalised by the post-colonial and capitalist order, may they live in the Global South and lacking access to clean water or live in a European city having asthma; pollution kills over 7 million people a year.
Culture is probably very low on the list of polluting industries compared to big oil, fast fashion, mass agriculture or war. However, cultural workers lowering our impact can already make a bit of a difference, but mostly, we are very visible to the public eye and can influence whole communities to pay attention to eco sustainability.

Recently, a festival un-booked a headliner who wanted to fly by private jet. The use of a jet was justified by a tight schedule from the artist’s side, but does the end justify this kind of means, or could the artist play the festival next year instead? Following Covid restrictions, many artists see an urgency in accumulating high-paying gigs and funds, this is very understandable; however, a person who already has a proper living may not need to accumulate more at the expense of the quality of air others need to breathe, nor by sending out the message that private jets are welcome in our industry – also looking at you Burning Man.
Transport is one big polluter in our industry, could streaming and residencies help, could events booking more local acts help as well? No such major issue will have one answer, but the discussion should at least be public and wide-spread, together we can crowd-source workable solutions.
Another side of this discussion is how the public access events: not everyone can bike (especially if not sober), not every venue is accessible by public transport, and not everyone is safe using public transport (especially at night). Once again, not an issue with a unique solution, however considering best options and car-pooling is something everyone can do, venues and promoters also have their part to play in this equation.

Another big polluter is electricity. Some studies show that venues switching off their fridges when not in use not only reduces their electricity pollution significantly, but also reduces their bill, so why is this is not a normal practice yet? You can find more green tips via Clubtopia, they provide advice and onsite consulting as well, free of charge for venues, festivals, and promoters. They have also created a Code of Conduct as a pledge that drafts good practices both for eco and social sustainability.
Another action of interest in Berlin, is the collection of bottle metal caps to create pocket ashtrays. This action means we should aim to use glass bottles instead of plastic ones, recycle anything that can be, and not throw cigarette buds that leak toxic chemicals in the soil and water just anywhere –  also because there is no good excuse not to clean up after oneself, even when having fun, cleaning crews are not our maids.

Learn more about green touring with Berlin – New Delhi singer-songwriter Ditty, and and check out how dif helped implementing green tips for a Superbooth 24 room hosted by music tech brands. Here is what happened below, feel free to send us your tips or queries via info @ dif-ev .org or via the (anonymous) contact form.

The room was decorated with lots of rented plants, to make sure people could feel good with something organic among all the tech and to focus their attention on the theme.
All drinks were bought locally in recycled crates and glass bottles, including a beer brewed locally and DIN ISO 14001 / 50001-certified. When possible, a keg plus attendees bringing their own cups is even better!
Vegan snacks were served, single-wrapped or paper-wrapped, ecological and/or fair trade, mostly produced locally, and provided bins for recycling and for trash both in the guest and staff areas. The onsite team took time to switch off all electricals every evening, and switch them back on every morning: this extra hour of daily work lowered the electricity consumption by half. They also rented LED lights only, and used natural light as much as possible.
All materials were rented (meaning nothing was new, all re-used, some since the 70s), materials that were bought new will be reused by the brands, or their service providers, or donated to an NGO for a community center (like the floor carpet). Some rental companies charged for carbon offset, and for the rest, they bought 45 trees and gifted the certificates to guests to raise awareness on the matter.
All crew car-pooled, which was a nice way to bond out of work, and part of the artistic content was also dedicated to talking about how music can support conservation work worldwide.