If you throw one more cigarette butt on the ground, I’m going to kick your ass.
You are not cool just because you are at Wakarusa/Summer Camp/Bonnaroo/Electric Forest and haven’t showered in over a week. You are not a true hippie, and you are not recreating some mythical Woodstock.
What you are, in my opinion, is an eco-asshole.
If you’re going to call yourself a hippie, or try to live a Woodstock-inspired lifestyle by frequenting today’s music festivals, please pick up your trash. (And even if you’re not trying to call yourself a hippie or recreate Woodstock, please pick up your f*cking trash!)
The Woodstock generation is the same generation that first spoke up about the damage we are doing to our earth everyday. The generation that started these festivals we love so much stood for peace and love, but also for protecting our beautiful planet.
If there was ever a time to recreate to the Woodstock generation’s passion for saving the environment from the devastation of a consumption based culture, it would be now.
But instead, all I see are teenagers throwing processed food, plastic and cigarette butts all over the beautiful places festivals are held. By doing that, not only are you disrespecting a place you paid to be in, you’re also giving the middle finger to the people that hoped these kinds of festivals would inspire change.
I know you probably think it doesn’t matter if you litter because someone else is paid to pick it up later. To me, using that logic is the same as not brushing your teeth because you have a dentist you can pay to do that.
Shouldn’t we all be accountable for properly disposing of our own trash at festivals? Shouldn’t we all be working together to create the best experience for everyone? It’s hard to have a good experience when you step barefoot into a plate of day-old peperoni pizza.
Most of these festivals even make vast efforts to make it easy for you to not be an eco-douche. They have trashcans every 50 feet with signs that explain what can be recycled and composted. Is it really that hard to use them?
If we keep trashing the venues we love so much, they will lose their beauty. Then, where will our grandchildren party?
In order to protect our festival venues for future generations, I think the solution is quite simple. All you have to do is self-enforce a Leave No Trace policy and “never let it hit the ground.”
I saw and learned how this works at Burning Man, where the amount of littering is close to zero. All of the participants work together to keep their environment trash-free and take all of their trash with them when they leave.
It may sound annoying to you, but the practice of leaving no trace helped create such an amazing experience for everyone that it inspired me to continue to do so in my daily life (as much as possible).
So please, pick up your trash as festivals (and everywhere else); it’s really not that hard. And if you already do, please help me to remind those who forget.
Change starts with you.
To learn more about the efforts music festivals are making to become greener, please check out these sites:
Cassandra Smith was formerly an editorial intern at elephant journal and and is currently the social media and marketing coordinator at Gabriel Sales. She is a fifth generation Colorado native who believes dance has the potential to liberate human consciousness from its cultural prison. Cassandra formerly trained at Boston Ballet and recently graduated from University of Colorado Boulder with degrees in journalism and sociology. Visit her website at cassandralanesmith.com, and follow her on Twitter.