Recycled Materials

Designing Sustainably for Broadway with Donyale Werle at WSD2013

img-peter-and-the-starcatcher_142013765001Sat 14 Sept 14.30 – 16.00

The Willow Theatre

Donyale Werle, who started out as a painter, began to reexamine routine theatre practices after working for 13 months on the set for High Fidelity, a 2006 Broadway musical that closed after only 13 performances, she told American Theatre Magazine in Fall 2012.

Seeing her work trashed seemed a waste in more ways than one.

This session will focus on producing greener theatre. Donyale Werle has gained much acclaim for her use of salvaged materials in her sets and for her creative designs; she won her recent Tony for Peter and the Starcatcher, whose set was made entirely of recycled materials. Werle serves as pre-production co-chair for the Broadway Green Alliance.

Open to all.

Price: £6


Donyale Werle to Speak at USITT 2013

USITT-DonyaleWerle-tonyTony Award-winning scenic designer Donyale Werle will speak at the upcoming USITT conference in Milwaukee on the subject of making Broadway more environmentally friendly. Werle, who is the pre-production co-chair of the Broadway Green Alliance, is committed to making theatre a “greener” practice, and uses salvaged materials in her sets and designs. Her set for Peter and the Starcatcher, for which she won a Tony, was made entirely of recycled materials. She will speak on Saturday, March 23.

Donyale Werle, winner of the 2012 Tony Award for scenic design and a leader in the Broadway Green Alliance, has been added to the already-stellar lineup of participants at the 2013 USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo March 20-23 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Ms. Werle’s session will focus on producing greener theatre. She has gained much acclaim for her use of salvaged materials in her sets and for her creative designs; she won her recent Tony for Peter and the Starcatcher, whose set was made entirely of recycled materials.

Werle serves as pre-production co-chair for the Broadway Green Alliance, which works for sustainable practices in the theatre community and is sponsoring her appearance at the USITT Conference on Saturday, March 23. BGA is a supporting member of USITT, the national association for backstage professionals, whose annual conference draws 5,000 people from the world of theatrical design and technology.

USITT considers Werle’s appearance a major coup for the conference, which has devoted resources to promoting greener theatre and production for several years. Last year USITT awarded a grant to Technical Director Paul Brunner, assisted by Scene Designer Michael Mehler, co-chairs of BGA’s Education Committee, to support their efforts to bring sustainable practices to educational theatre. They will be holding a separate seminar on “Reimagining Theatre with Green Ideals” at the upcoming conference and helped bring Werle in as a speaker.

Call for Proposals 2012 Cheng Long International Environmental Art Project in Taiwan, “What’s for Dinner?”

Artists from all countries are invited to send a proposal for a site-specific outdoor sculpture installation to be created during a 26-day artist in residency (April 11 – May 7, 2012) in Cheng Long, a small rural village near the southwestern coast of Taiwan in Kouhu Township,Yunlin County. This art project is an expansion of the 2010 and 2011 Cheng Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Projects, going into the Village as well as the Wetlands. The selected artists will work with elementary school children and community residents to create large-scale sculpture installations focused on the theme of “What’s for Dinner?”  The artworks should reflect on environmental issues surrounding food production and emphasize organic aquaculture.  Artworks will be in village public spaces, on abandoned buildings, and in the wetlands nature preserve, and artists will use recycled materials and natural materials to create their artworks that will stay on exhibition through 2013.

Proposals Due:  Feb. 8, 2012

Artists Notified by:  Feb. 22, 2012

Residency in Taiwan:  April 8 – May 7, 2012

Selected Artists Receive:  NT50,000 (US$1,662), round trip economy airfare, accommodations and meals for 26 days in Taiwan, local transportation, volunteer help to find materials and make the artworks

Send the following by email to Curator, Jane Ingram Allen,

  1. Description of your proposed sculpture installation giving estimated size and materials to be used (limit 1 page as a .doc or .pdf file).
  2. Sketch of your proposed work as a .jpg or .pdf file (less than 1 MG in size)
  3. Images and image list (title, date made, dimensions, materials/media, and where located) of 6 previous outdoor sculpture installations (6 .jpg files each less than 1MG in size)
  4. CV or resume showing exhibitions, awards, residencies, education and experience as an artist (.doc or .pdf file)
  5. Contact information:  Name, Present Address, Nationality, Email address and Website (.doc or .pdf file)

For more information visit the Blog at or contact Jane Ingram Allen,

PUBLIC ART and LEED – Materials & Resources and Indoor Environmental Quality

This post comes to you from Green Public Art

continued from… PUBLIC ART and LEED – Energy & Atmosphere


Recycled Content – should be self explanatory. Use post-industrial or post-consumer recycled materials

Regional Materials –means all materials used in a project are sources within 500 miles of project site

rendering of Erwin Timmers recycled glass artwork

Construction Waste Management – To earn a credit in Construction Waste Management the project must Divert construction waste from landfills towards recycling or reuse.

rendering of Didier Hess' Orit Haj

Example: The artist, Erwin Timmers, dug through the site demolition to remove glass for this 30 feet long by 9 feet high artwork. The recycled glass was then melted down and recast into the new colorful forms.

Example: Didier Hess’ Orit Haj will incorporate rammed earth from excavation of interpretive center, stainless steel rod, concrete and concrete fiberboard scraps from building construction.

Rapidly Renewable Materials – are natural materials that regenerate in less than 10 years, like bamboo, straw, cork, natural linoleum products (such as Marmoleum), wool, wheatboard, and strawboard.

Certified Wood – And you can use wood if it is a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood product.


Low-Emitting materials – If artwork will be indoors the material must have Low or no VOC (volatile organic compound) content.

And projects should enhance the Daylight & Views

The conversation continues here: PUBLIC ART and LEED – Innovation & Design


Rebecca Ansert, founder of Green Public Art, is an art consultant who specializes in artist solicitation, artist selection, and public art project management for both private and public agencies. She is a graduate of the master’s degree program in Public Art Studies at the University of Southern California and has a unique interest in how art can demonstrate green processes or utilize green design theories and techniques in LEED certified buildings.

Green Public Art is a Los Angeles-based consultancy that was founded in 2009 in an effort to advance the conversation of public art’s role in green building. The consultancy specializes in public art project development and management, artist solicitation and selection, creative community involvement and knowledge of LEED building requirements. Green Public Art also works with emerging and mid-career studio artists to demystify the public art process. The consultancy acts as a resource for artists to receive one-on-one consultation before, during, and after applying for a public art project.
Go to Green Public Art

PVC Tape in Lighting Rigs.

Rubber strap at work!

With each show that comes into Arcola comes a different lighting rig.  We encourage production companies to look at ways they can reduce the carbon footprint of their show, and last week we introduced a new way of doing this during the pre rig of Uncle Vanya.

The large amount of cable used in theatre lighting rigs is usually taped to a lighting bar with PVC tape, which is not reusable.  We have estimated that approximately 198m of this tape is used per production.  We did think of using Velcro ties instead, but Lighting Designer on Uncle Vanya, Alex Wardle came up with an idea using rubber bands, which we developed so we could use recycled materials.

For the production of Uncle Vanya however, we’ve swapped this PVC tape for reusable rubber straps, made from used bicycle inner tubes. Just under 100 of these were made especially for this production.  We hope that more companies will be interested in using these straps if the trial on Uncle Vanya goes well, so that eventually we can be free of PVC tape on our productions.

Go to Arcola Energy

ashdenizen: is “junk” a celebration or a critique of waste?

‘Junkitecture’ is a clever term, combining design and ‘waste’. But what if the materials used for buildings, for sets, for props, for puppets, for the vehicles and floats of parades, were thought of simply as ‘materials’? Of course, they would have a special value or feel if they had been used for something else. But to call them ‘junk’ is to share the attitude that separates the ‘new’ from what we think of as ‘waste’. What is happening with the use of materials in the arts that have a history can often be more of  a valorisation of consumerism and excess, a celebration of trash as ‘trash’ or salvage, than a critique of waste or an affirmation of recycling.

What if no special claims could be made for using reclaimed or recycled materials because it was commonplace? Then, what would be remarked on would be the design, the space or object itself, and the qualities that the materials brought to it.

The Jellyfish Theatre building was enchanting for its design and for its transiency, a theatre space in a symbolic shape, assembled from what was to hand, played in, and then dispersed, the theatre becoming again the material that it was, maybe to be used again, having acquired another layer of history.

via ashdenizen: is “junk” a celebration or a critique of waste?.

An Open Letter To Entertainment Industry Manufacturers

At LDI in 2009 and at USITT 2010, there was a lot of discussion about sustainability. Hundreds of your current and potential customers attended sessions with “green” in the title and participated in events where sustainability was a topic of discussion. This was an edifying exercise in talking about environmental responsibility, but it is time for our industry to take the next step.

We are writing to ask you to help us support our clients in their efforts in sustainability, which may, at the same time, help you promote your products. While much of our equipment is exempt from ASHRE standards and is not considered directly in LEED building certification, the point is not the certification; it is behaving responsibly.

Read the full letter at Live Design’s Website here: An Open Letter To Entertainment Industry Manufacturers.

Curtis Kasefang is trained as a lighting designer and embarking on his 20th year as a theatre consultant. He is a principal with Theatre Consultants Collaborative, LLC. Prior to his consulting work, he was a production manager for a four-theatre complex. He also chairs his local Historic Districts Commission. He will participate in the Green Day Think Tank at LDI2010.

Mary Jo Aagerstoun: Art from recycled objects and materials is not EcoArt

Today I received word of yet another use of the term “EcoArt” to describe artworks made partially or wholly of recycled materials. Because this is becoming a serious detriment to SFEAP's efforts to educate the South Florida public about what EcoArt is, I wanted to remind SFEAP supporters on FB and elsewhere of how SFEAP does define this work (from our website

” practices… inspired by the precepts of Joseph Beuys’ “social sculpture” and [which] address environmental problems with creative combinations of conceptual art, process art, connective aesthetics, participatory and socially engaged practices, phenomenological and eco-philosophies, direct democracy processes and other social/aesthetic forms and techniques.

SFEAP seeks nothing less than development of a large contingent of ecoartists committed to staying in South Florida and who are, or wish to become, master cross-disciplinary learners and social system choreographers, skilled at drawing into the collaborative creation of ecoart stakeholders from grass roots community organizations, scientific institutions, public policy agencies and pioneering philanthropic entities. SFEAP will dedicate itself to development and promotion of the best ecoart projects: those that engage and mobilize community while employing, enhancing and melding techniques, knowledge and wisdom from landscape architecture, environmental biology and chemistry, planning and engineering and many other disciplines, and collaborating with their practitioners, while drawing from the deep roots of art history and the broadest lexicon of aesthetic methods.”

While art works that include or are made wholly of recycled materials can be interesting objects and demonstrate how art does not have to be made of new materials, SFEAP, Inc. does not include such work in our definition of EcoArt. We see EcoArt as having an active role in environmental amelioration, and which must include direct community engagement and collaboration with scientists and environmental experts. SFEAP is dedicated to bringing many Florida based artists into EcoArt practice. This is the primary mission of the organization. We currently have our pilot community EcoArt education and artist apprenticeship well underway in Martin County. The apprentice EcoArtists there have just installed their first EcoArt work at the Florida Oceanographic Society. A video about the apprentices and this first project can be seen at

Please feel free to cut and paste this definition into an email to anyone in South Florida who is using the term EcoArt in relation to art that uses recycled objects or materials.

Thanks. MJ Aagerstoun

Facebook | Mary Jo Aagerstoun: Art from recycled objects and materials is not EcoArt.

Code Green

A Comparative Look at Worldwide Cultural Policies for Green Events

by Sam Goldblatt

as published in the CSPA Quaterly/Fall 2009

In the Fall of 2008, London and New York, the two greatest theatre cities of the western world, simultaneously announced campaigns for reducing the negative environmental impacts of the respective   theatre industries in the West End and on Broadway.  In September, Mayor of London Boris Johnson revealed his 58-page, comprehensive Green Theatre plan, which was followed in November when New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg staged a press release for the Broadway Goes Green campaign, featuring green-colored characters from Broadway shows singing a newly composed show-tune for the campaign.  While they feature similar strategies of energy-efficient marquee lights, use of recycled materials in set construction, washing costumes in cold water and audience education, the two initiatives reflect the differences in the two governments.  Bloomberg’s campaign, which relies primarily on private companies and associations such as The Broadway League, serves partly as a publicity stunt to spark the stilted Broadway economy.     Johnson’s 58 pages of policy, on the other hand, which delve into far greater municipal detail in areas of carbon emissions and energy  efficiency, serve not as much to promote the West End as to regulate it.  

These twin initiatives reflect a growing trend to apply sustainable  standards, long established for the automobile and energy industries,   towards newer industries, namely those of the arts, events and tourism.  While there remains a dearth of policy regarding sustainability in the fine arts, policies concerning sustainable cultural events, such as festivals, large-scale performances and sporting events, continue to emerge    worldwide, providing a fertile area for analysis and cross-country comparison.  This article will examine the ways in which US policies toward    sustainable cultural events promote private enterprise and education, while UK policies deliver more thorough and far-reaching strategies for sustainability.

American Entrepreneurs

Bloomberg’s green Broadway initiative, with its musical celebrity launch and its website’s focus on press, bears the hallmarks of a publicity campaign designed to invigorate the Broadway (and New York) economy.  Broadway Goes Green capitalises on the “Creative Economy” trend promoted by sociologist Richard Florida, which has successfully convinced Mayors of America’s biggest cities to support major arts and cultural projects in order to drive their cities’ economic engines.  The rapidly rising trend towards green entrepreneurship promoted by President Obama in initiatives such as the Clean Energy Economy shares Florida’s emphasis on job creation and improved standards of living.  Both theories of the Creative  Economy and the Green Economy combine ethical pretenses (i.e. supporting culture and protecting the environment, respectively) with economic incentive, a strategy perfectly employed by Broadway Goes Green, which embraces both culture and the environment as tools to rebuild New York’s economy.

Independent campaigners Green Theater Initiative capture these twin trends of Florida’s Creative Economy and Obama’s Green Economy in an article bluntly titled, “Will the NEA Fund Green Arts Projects?” in which the $50   million awarded to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in a February economic stimulus bill is compared to the $100 billion reserved for environmental projects.  The article argues that:

“In this funding environment, it seems likely that any projects applying for federal funds, be they green projects or no, will be evaluated at least partly on the basis of their contribution to a new green economy, or, alternately, on their benefit to the environment or environmental education.”  (Banner 2009)

While the article eyes the new administration both optimistically and opportunistically, critics of the Creative Economy or the Green Economy theories might question why the intrinsic values of art, culture and the environment need   economic justification.  A Creative Economy, after all, reinforces the US government policy of “cultural Darwinism,” which Kevin Mulcahy argues causes harm to less lucrative but more beneficial arts institutions.  Why, for instance, has Bloomberg focused on Broadway, America’s most profitable commercial arts corridor, and not the many comparatively economically stagnant dance companies and concert halls in New York?  In the same vein, one might ask whether Broadway Goes Green seeks primarily to stimulate the economy or protect the environment.

While the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not yet generated policies toward theatre and the fine arts, they do provide guidance on Green Meetings (inclusive of cultural events), filed on their website somewhat incongruously under “Prevention, Pesticides & Toxic Substances.”  EPA guidance comes in the form of Blue Green Meetings, an interactive but simplified web-based guide to producing green events, consisting of 16 short pages, available at  Lacking mention of alternative energy, carbon offsetting and advice on implementing a green event plan, Blue Green Meetings provides modest tips which critics could easily describe as pandering to the establishment.  Hosted by Canada’s Oceans Blue Foundation and America’s Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC), Blue Green Meetings lists nine businesses and industry associations on its Advisory Committee, plus nine other    private funders as sponsors, showing a private sector audience somewhat divorced from the US Federal Government.  Created by and for professional meeting planners, Blue Green Meetings provides basic guidance as well as a wide range of further references and resources for green events, without challenging industry practices or seeking an audience beyond industry insiders.  By sponsoring the website, the EPA supports private research and initiatives   without creating its own; the US Government continues to act as facilitator to private sector schemes.

With Bloomberg’s forward-thinking public-private partnership Broadway Goes Green as a notable exception, the most successful US initiatives in green events, and those with the greatest influence on industry policy, tend to come from the private sector.  Live Earth, founded by Former Vice President Al Gore and mega-concert producer Kevin Wall,  produced the world’s largest green event to date with a 2007 concert series spanning 24 hours and seven continents, featuring the world’s most famous musicians and reaching around 2 billion people.  A private enterprise with a public policy agenda, Live Earth not only educated its massive worldwide audience on climate change and lobbied governments for environmental regulation, it created and implemented landmark green event policies.  The Live Earth    Environmental Guidelines, which, at 73 pages, even top Johnson’s Green Theatre document, provide a comprehensive guide to green event management so meticulous and authoritative as to render the EPA’s Blue Green Meetings obsolete.

Tackling special issues such as composting, restrooms, production design and artist management and providing a comprehensive guide to planning and implementing green initiatives at events, Live Earth’s Environmental Guidelines stand as the world’s authority in green event planning.  More than any article filed on a government website, the   private organisation Live Earth stands as the world’s most visible green event role model, and Environmental Director John Rego frames the Live Earth Environmental Guidelines as supplemental public policy:

“Even without local, national or international regulations, concert and event organizers are setting their own standards.  We designed this manual to act as a companion guide to your personal or governmental standards.”

By setting standards, raising benchmarks and policing industry practices, Live Earth takes a firmer, more proactive stance on green event policy than both the EPA and Mayor Bloomberg.

One must recall, however, that these Environmental Guidelines are ancillary to Live Earth’s most visible impact as a green event: education.  The Guidelines clearly state the mission of Live Earth “to trigger a mass movement, empower individuals to change their behaviors, and urge corporations and political leaders to enact decisive measures to   combat the climate crisis,” and the website measures this mission in terms of press, publicity and outreach.  Similarly, the Guidelines, written one month before the concerts and perhaps cognisant of the herculean task before them, set modest goals, instead emphasising the greater impact in the public discourse:

“It is the goal of Live Earth not only to implement a few of the solutions presented in this manual – and be a global low-impact, carbon neutral event – but to create a legacy that starts a conversation and shares best practices, lessons learned, and sets benchmarks that enables future events to continue to achieve further sustainable progress.”

While Live Earth has certainly invigorated the global conversation on climate change, its  impact on the events    industry is less direct: its Environmental Guidelines show no distribution plan, and, indeed, were only discovered via an internet search that opened a private page of the Live Earth website.  In fairness, Live Earth’s public site provides most of the same information in an accessible, 9-page Green Events Guidelines section which still rivals Blue Green Meetings in terms of detail.  Although commercial Green Events in the US continue to focus on audience education rather than detailed green regulation, they are still broadly more successful than meager government initiatives.

Green Britain

Perhaps in recognition of Live Earth’s limitations in shaping event industry policy, Rego, in the Environmental    Guidelines, anticipates the creation by the British Standards Institute (BSI) of a “Specification for a sustainable event management system with guidance for use,” known as BS 8901.  Indeed, many event professionals expect BS 8901 to bring authority and accreditation to the field of green events, because of BSI’s reputation as Britain’s National    Standards Body and the world’s leading authority on setting industry standards based on empirical data.  

As its title suggests, BS 8901 does not dictate specific Environmentally Friendly Practices (EFPs) but rather provides the specification and methodology for creating one’s own sustainable event management system.  Although unique EFPs are highlighted in areas including biodiversity, archaeology, equal opportunity and supply chain management, BS 8901 focuses on managerial tools such as defining objectives in terms of scope, performance level, criteria and consistency, using key performance indicators (KPI) to measure progress, and documenting results.  Charts are provided, including an “Outline structure for a sustainable development maturity matrix–guidelines for continual   improvement,” which shows how progress in areas of inclusivity, integrity, stewardship and transparency can be measured from “minimum involvement” to “full engagement.”  Most importantly, although it encourages gradually increasing EFPs, BS 8901 firmly states that sustainability “should be an integral part of the event management process, and not regarded as an ‘add-on’ component,” and that “its influence should extend throughout the entire supply chain.”

Rather than provide baseline advice, available elsewhere, on EFPs, BS 8901 targets the higher goal of redefining event management altogether with a new system and a new ethos.  Although the standard, at £120 per copy, is inaccessible for grassroots events, it attracts high profile companies such as Live Nation which seek industry prestige and competitive advantage.  In presenting Live Earth at Wembley Stadium in 2007, Live Nation, the world’s biggest concert producer, became an early adopter of BS 8901.  Live Nation Production Manager Andy Pearson frames the decision in terms of savvy business advantage:

“Sustainability might not be a massive issue now but I think in the next few years it will become one. If you fail to do something now, you will find yourself in a position of scrambling to catch up, or simply out of business.”

Pearson reflects a desire to stay at the forefront of his industry and in good standing with government policy, values shared by the other high-profile implementers of BS 8901 thus far, which include professional conference organisers EC&O, sports venue the Lord’s Cricket Ground, and major arts event the Manchester International Festival.

Other major event producers, however, see BS 8901 as an opaque document typical of UK bureaucracy.  Ben Challis, lawyer for the renowned Glastonbury Festival, co-founded the organisation A Greener Festival in 2006 as an informational resource and an awards scheme to promote and validate outstanding Green Events.  He was unimpressed by an early copy of BS 8901, saying that, “It was the most appalling document I had ever seen.  Fifty pages of nonsense and a really good spreadsheet.  It was unreadable, and we knew full well that no small festival would ever use it at that stage.  It is bureaucratic.  It provides the processes, and that is what British Standards can be like.”

Going beyond a standard criticism of government bureaucracy, Challis argues that BS 8901 was created in a vacuum, without proper input from actual producers of Green Events.  While the well-documented BS 8901 Case Studies show BSI seeking practical experience to improve the standard, it remains unlikely that the document will target smaller festivals.  Instead, the document is being refined to serve a greater geopolitical purpose, what event scholars term a “mega event,” the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Developed specifically within a timeframe to provide the Olympic Games with a world-class standard for sustainable events with proven results, BS 8901 plays a critical part in London 2012’s ambitious Sustainability Plan.  This Plan, a December 2008, 36-page update of which is downloadable from the London 2012 website, begins by noting that,  “Sustainability has been a central theme of London 2012 since the beginning of the bid to host the Games.”  Thus does London 2012, and the government supporting it, position the UK in line with “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” as sustainable development was first defined in the UN document Our Common Future, or “an enduring, balanced approach to economic activity, environmental responsibility and social progress,” as it is defined by BSI.  The fact that this ethical and environmental theory takes precedence over any economic or political goal in the London 2012 plan represents a milestone for Green Events and for the Olympic Games.

London 2012 takes a broad view of sustainability, including five areas that London 2012 seeks to impact: Climate Change, Waste, Biodiversity, Inclusion and Healthy Living.  Of these initiatives, each of which is outlined in detail over several pages, only Inclusion, which focuses on regeneration and access, mentions explicit economic or political    interests.  The other initiatives, which include a carbon footprinting study, construction of new habitats for wildlife, a National Skills Academy and a free swimming initiative, are designed not for short-term economic gain but for long-term social growth.

The London 2012 Sustainability Plan constantly refers to its Legacy, the final phase of the Plan based on the concept that sustainable development should benefit future generations.  It is only here, in the UK Government’s Legacy Action Plan, that economic and political ambitions arise: in the last of five promises that otherwise cover regeneration and sustainability, the government aspires toward “Demonstrating the UK is a creative, inclusive and welcoming place to live in, visit and for business.”  Whereas political and economic ambition often rule a country’s Olympic Games    policies, it clearly takes a modest, ancillary role in London 2012.  With sustainability as a guiding priority, the long-term, government-sponsored initiatives in its Sustainability Plan, and the prodigious generation of policies such as BS 8901, London 2012, which reflects the UK government’s outstanding commitment to sustainability, aspires to become a landmark Green Event and a blueprint for others to come.

One World

If London 2012 promises a proactive approach, Beijing 2008 began on the defense, combatting the city’s reputation as a smog-infested center for polluting industries.  In “Smog and Mirrors: China’s Plan for a Green Olympics,” Spencer Reiss articulates the geopolitical and economic incentives behind Beijing’s environmental plan:

“The Olympics are China’s coming-out party, payback for smug Westerners and a victory lap for the Godzilla of the global economy. The stone-cold suits who run China Inc. don’t want the celebration spoiled by smogged-out skylines or marathoners in face masks.”

Although in many ways it serves to distract from China’s increasing role as the world’s largest polluter, the Beijing 2008 environmental plan does deliver significant green outcomes for China as well as advancements in the field of green event policy.  Beijing 2008 not only installed cutting-edge sustainable features in their spectacular new venues, such as the Bird’s Nest stadium’s “rainwater-capture system” and the Water Cube’s “high-efficiency thermal polymer skin,” they also created the “Green Olympics, Green Action” initiative to teach citizens EFPs and created greenspace on 74 Beijing rooftops.  

However, far from London 2012’s environmental legacy, which looks 150 years into the future, Beijing 2008 exploited the short-term strategies of temporarily shutting down construction and relocating factories outside the city.  While Beijing 2008’s environmental plan enhanced the Olympic Games and benefited Chinese citizens, it clearly does not reflect a long-term policy shift toward sustainability in China. 

As a point of comparison to China’s bombastic yet shallow green events policies, the Canadian government continues to produce quiet yet comprehensive, world-leading policies in green events.  Environment Canada’s 2007 Green    Meetings Guide combines the EFPs of Blue Green Meetings with BS 8901’s strategic management systems into a  comprehensive guide to managing sustainable events.  Written completely by the government and thus reflecting   Canadian policy, the Green Meetings Guide takes a practical approach to green events, defining them as those      ensuring, “that all aspects … including its location, food services, transportation and the provision of materials are  approached with pollution prevention in mind in order to reduce its environmental impact.”  Unlike London 2012, with its ambitious social agenda incorporating issues such as regeneration and healthy living, Canada focuses on the more practical, and more feasible environmental issues.


Government documents such as Environment Canada’s Green Meetings Guide provide the most accurate view of a government’s official policy and values towards green events.  Green Meetings Guide provides a complete, practical guide to all environmental issues in event management, reflecting Canada’s serious valuation of environmental protectionism.  Both the UK and US provide similar, but much simpler, publications for download on their government websites.  The UK’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published a Sustainable events guide  in 2007, which takes the broad UK definition of sustainability to advise event managers on EFPs within the areas of transport, venue, catering, preparation, social wellbeing, raising awareness and evaluation.  The US EPA’s corresponding document, It’s Easy Being Green! has not been updated since 1996, and provides more basic advice on waste management, procurement and education.

Like the green theatre initiatives put forth for London and New York, these two documents reflect national values.  It’s Easy Being Green! boosters entrepreneurs with promises of cost savings and competitive advantage, while emphasising green education as a core value.  Sustainable events guide, on the other hand, lays out a more far-reaching and well-rounded set of EFPs which are advocated for their inherent ethical merits.  As all three documents from the US, UK and Canada mention their application to internal government meetings and events, they should be taken to reflect strict government policy.  

As David Hesmondhalgh notes, however, policy, especially when intertwined with terms like culture and sustainability, can be expressed in many ways, events being one of the most visible and memorable methods for communicating policy.  Live Earth reflects the American entrepreneurial approach while inspiring and anticipating Green Events as a major growth industry.  London 2012 promises to raise global standards for green events while triumphantly aligning the UK with the ethics of sustainable development.  If the US and UK governments can meaningfully interact both with each other and with the world-leading producers behind these Green Events, perhaps more effective, practical and supportive Green Event policy will emerge.

Earth Matters on Stage: Sustainable Practice

Many of the lectures here at EMOS are held at the very-new Hope Theater at the University of Oregon’s Miller Theatre Complex. Boom: there’s a big square fact to start the post off for you. But I’m going somewhere with it.

Right now, where the Hope would be a big black box is all full up with Set. The floor is painted in a curling desert-river pattern. Upstage is a forest of recycled wooden planks and juttings, a kind of grandpa’s-attic bamboo. In one corner is a platform with puzzle-piece innards: old bedposts, chairs and plywood fold over each other in a hefty collage.

It’s all for the stagings of the Festival’s top two prize-winning plays:  Song of Extinction and Atomic Farmgirl. But what was intended to represent a Bolivian forest and an American farm has come to represent the EMOS festival itself, both literally and figuratively: the set was  constructed with recycled materials.

Today’s sessions were sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts. Led by Ian Garrett, they included presentations by Steve Mital, University of Oregon’s Director of Sustainability, PhD candidate (and EMOS Production Manager) Damond Morris, several eco-conscious designers, and several pioneers of a Sustainable Dramaturgy program at CalArts.

At this point: it’s day seven. Everyone in the room knows each other, at least by sight. We’re calling each other out in the audience: could you talk about your experience with . . . what’s your perspective on . . . and what begins as a formal presentation becomes a group conversation quickly and easily.

Inspired by Mike Lawler, here are a few questions asked in the course of the day (some got answered, some did not):

What is a “sustainable university”?

What is the impact of a theatrical lighting system?

Where in this stream can we reduce our waste?

What are the next steps in expanding/refining sustainable pedagogy?

How do we reframe our relationship to resources?

How can we implement what we believe in the art we create?

If your curiosity is piqued, I’d encourage you to visit the CSPA’s wiki for tools and nuggets of information. As to the rest, I leave you with Morris’ Five D’s of Design for Environment:

Design for Dissasembly. Design for Recyclability. Design for Disposability. Design for Reusability. Design for Remanufacture.

See you on the other side of  a recycled-wooden forest.

Go to the Green Museum