Hillside Festival is carbon neutral

GUELPH – After years of green initiatives that reduced the Hillside Festival’s carbon footprint in every area and after years of measuring how much carbon the festival saves and creates, it is officially carbon neutral.

With the help of volunteers, the festival has compiled years of hourly data on things like energy and water use, the number of cars and bicycles that come to the festival, and the number of people on shuttle buses.

The footprint is small with respect to energy, hospitality, waste and promotion, however the transportation footprint could not be reduced as dramatically, as people fly and drive to the festival.

First, the festival wanted to get emissions down as low as possible before purchasing carbon offsets.

And then organizers consulted with board member Rob Pangborn, who is doing graduate work in sustainability, for an idea of the best projects to 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,” officials said in a press release.