The day begins to wane as you watch the vibrant sunset from the comfort of your trusty canoe, allowing the sun’s fleeting rays to warm your soul. As you paddle along you take note of the tiny turtle family sunbathing amidst a floating log on the nearby bank, and the rhythmic lull of the flowing river as the bow of the canoe bisects the current. You begin to comment on the perfection of the pristine panorama you are beholding, but what is that in the distance obstructing your view…a pile of tires? Unfortunately this has happened to me and many others across the world as we face an epidemic of illegally dumped tires in our lovely waterways, parks, roadsides, and just about anywhere imaginable. As un-anesthetically pleasing as this may be, abandoned tires cause far worse problems to our environment and health. With a little education and effort we can eradicate-or take steps to prevent- the tire pile-up by recycling, re-purposing, or reusing these tires in new and innovative ways.
At Lightning 100’s Team Green Adventures, we love the outdoors. We are passionate about maintaining a clean, sustainable environment for all to enjoy, and it is our goal to get the community of Middle Tennessee involved in our efforts. That’s why we incorporate as many community service events as we can to help raise awareness about environmental concerns.
Each year Team Green Adventures hosts multiple waterway cleanups to collect litter from our beautiful creeks and streams. In 2015, over 100 volunteers gathered for six different waterway cleanups; together we gathered 167 bags of trash and 118 tires!
If you live in Nashville, it’s been hard of late to avoid daily discussions of Music City’s growth and what it means for the identity of this Southern locale known for it’s country music scene and it’s endless hospitality. Though Nashville’s face has been changing, many of those recent developments are improving the city for the better, making the city a more sustainable, healthy, and accessible place to live. In a better-late-than-never recap of our sustainability walking tour of the Gulch with Urban Green Lab and Kim Hawkins of Hawkins Partners, check out 6 things that are helping Nashville’s hottest neighborhood be the city’s most sustainable as well:
Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again – the weather is hot, school is back in session, and Lightning 100’s Live on the Green is returning! This year marks the 7th time we’ll be taking over Public Square Park for the biggest free concert series in town, and we hope you’ll join us for the fun!
Live on the Green started with a vision to create an event that was by Nashville and for Nashville, and we’ve always tried to make sure the festival embodies the values Music City stands for. For that reason, sustainability has always been a central component of Live on the Green’s mission, as we want to host an event that is as environmentally and socially responsible as possible. The festival takes place in what is perhaps Nashville’s most eco-friendly park, where the courthouse lawn doubles as a green roof over a parking garage and the fountains use recycled rainwater to supply Nashvillians young and old with a place to cool off on a hot summer day.
We do as much as possible to make our event sustainable, but we need your help to make it happen! As a follow-up to our Buzzfeed feature on 10 reasons to be excited about Live on the Green, here are 10 ways you can help us and our community partners make 2015 the most environmentally-responsible year of Live on the Green yet:
1. Ride A Bike
Each year, we partner with Walk Bike Nashville to host a free bike valet for anyone who wants to use a little pedal power to get to Live on the Green. Last year, more than 800 Nashvillians biked to Live on the Green, setting a new record for bike valet usage. We’re hoping for an even greater number this year, and with the capacity to check more than 250 bikes during each show date, we think we can do it! Bonus: You can also ride a Bcycle to Live on the Green, with three convenient check-in locations near Public Square Park, including at the bike valet station at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Union St.
2. Take the Bus
Taking the bus is one of the easiest ways to get to and from Public Square Park, and it’ll save you a lot of money over paying for parking downtown (one-way fares are just $1.70). Music City Central (Nashville’s main bus terminal) is located just a block from the park, and the Music City Circuit is a great option to get from downtown to Germantown, SoBro, or The Gulch. Bonus: Music City Circuit buses are free! Check out Nashville MTA’s website to learn all you need to know about riding the bus, including how to bring your bike on the bus if you happen to ride to the festival but don’t want to ride home after dark. You can also take a peek at Transit Now Nashville’s handy trip planner if you’re unsure of which bus you need to take to get to the festival – it’s so easy!
If you live or work downtown, we definitely encourage you to walk to the festival! Bring a change of clothes to work and show up early to Public Square Park to get a good spot on the lawn. The festival site officially opens at 5pm, meaning you can grab dinner from one of our delicious food trucks and save yourself a trip home. If you walk, you also avoid the hassles that downtown traffic and parking can cause, creating a headache-free Live on the Green experience for you and your friends.
If you must drive into downtown, please carpool! You’ll save money by splitting parking costs with friends and do your part to help reduce traffic and air pollution downtown caused by idling cars trying to find a parking spot. Parking is easiest in the Nissan Stadium lots just across the river, so please utilize these resources whenever possible and avoid driving downtown altogether. Bonus: For the first time ever, we’re partnering with Uber this year to host an official Live on the Green pick-up and drop-off lane. You can see the drop-off location at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Union Street on our official 2015 festival map, and Uber makes it easy to split the fare with friends!
We’ve always tried to divert as much of our waste as possible from landfills, but we need your help to make this happen! Recycling stations are clearly marked and located throughout the event site, so please use them. This year, we’re switching to selling all beer in aluminum cans because they’re the most recyclable and eco-friendly option available to us. Bonus: Hands On Nashville volunteers will be stationed throughout the festival to help you dispose of your food and drink waste properly, so be sure to give these folks a high five when you see them and thank them for their help! Want to go one step further and volunteer yourself? Do it.
6. Bring a Reusable Bottle
It’s August in Nashville, and we know it gets hot! Every year, we partner with Metro Water Services to provide you with free drinking water on site to help keep you hydrated and happy. Bring a reusable water bottle to Live on the Green this year and take advantage of this complimentary service! Your body, and your wallet, will thank you.
7. Eat Some Food
Did you know Live on the Green encourages all of its food vendors to use eco-friendly and compostable serviceware? We make sure that nobody is using harmful products like styrofoam, and we also advocate for the use of locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. It makes it even better that all of our food trucks are small local businesses, so eating dinner at Live on the Green means you’re actively supporting Nashville-based entrepreneurs – a win-win for the environment and the local economy!
8. Buy a Souvenir
We partner with Friendly Arctic Printing & Design to produce all of our generally awesome limited-run Live on the Green merchandise, meaning you can both feel and look good when you buy a hand-printed t-shirt, tank, or poster. Friendly Arctic uses only the most eco-responsible methods and supplies (they only use water-based inks, among other things) to print their products, and their high-quality work is designed to last a long time, ensuring you get a truly sustainable shirt.
9. Take What You Need
It’s easy to get excited about all the free stuff at Live on the Green. From the music to the promotional giveaways, there’s so much going on around the festival that won’t cost you a dime that it’s not hard to get carried away. Whether you’re grabbing yourself a super cool Lightning 100 sticker or koozie, some handy Erie Insurance sunglasses, or any of the other swag you find around the festival, be sure to only take what you need and leave the rest for someone else – Mother Nature, and the other festival-goers, will thank you.
10. Clean Up After Yourself
We want you to have a blast at the show, enjoy some food and a few drinks, and dance your heart out to your favorite songs, but sometimes having a lot of fun can get messy. On your way out of Public Square Park, make sure you pick up any trash lying around on the ground and dispose of it properly. As mentioned before, there are tons of recycling bins around the site, so put them to use! We rely on volunteers to clean up anything left on the site after each show, and as much as they love to lend a hand, they’re not your mothers! A little effort on your part goes a long way, and means that we get to keep hosting Live on the Green year after year… for free!
If you want to learn even more about Live on the Green’s sustainability efforts, check out the festival’s website, where you can also find out all you need to know about the music lineup, check on VIP ticket availability, and see photos and videos from past years. You can also download our newly-released and seriously awesome Live on the Green festival app to stay up to date on all things LOTG2015. We can’t wait to see you out there on Thursday!
– Matt (Team Green’s Events Coordinator)
Here at Team Green, we love working with local non-profits and other community partners to create high-quality, engaging events, ranging from free workshops to volunteer opportunities. This week, we sat down with Jennifer Westerholm, the Executive Director of Urban Green Lab, who we partner with on our monthly Engage Green sustainability workshop series. Check out what she had to say about Nashville’s growth, being green, and reaching the next generation of sustainability leaders:
“’Sustainability’ is a term used by many different people and organizations in many different ways. The truth is, it’s a huge and dynamic concept, and it’s easy to get lost in all the hype around it. At Urban Green Lab, we define sustainability by sticking to the triple bottom line of ‘people, profit, planet’.” The organization’s website gives a solid overview of their strictures of sustainability, and to expand upon those principles, Executive Director Jennifer Westerholm sat down with us to talk a bit more about the mission of Nashville’s Urban Green Lab.
“The goal is to improve all around health and well-being through sustainable living,” said Westerholm. “We teach classes and workshops in schools and in the community about how we can make a healthier planet by implementing practical and green practices in our houses and businesses.”
According to “Nesting In Nashville”, approximately 85 people move into the city of Nashville every day. In an ever-growing small town gone rogue, expansion and sustainability are two concepts that tangibly collide every day, with this tension most common in trendier areas of town such as Hillsboro Village and 12 South.
“For us, it’s the perfect time to be in this line of work because it’s so needed. As Nashville expands, the need for sustainable development is higher now than ever before,” said Westerholm. “Our goal is to make this the culture of Nashville as it becomes a bigger city; inspiring the next generation of sustainability leaders.”
Since December of 2013 Urban Green Lab has been an official partner of Lightning 100’s Team Green, and together the Engage Green sustainability workshop series was re-born. These monthly workshops take place around Nashville, teaching skills such as making homes more energy-efficient, the environmental benefits of home brewing, small scale gardening techniques, and everything in between. While the non-profit does the majority of its work with classes of adults after work, they also reach out into Nashville’s community of middle and high schoolers in an attempt to enrich science curricula and teach towards real-world applications.
“We did a six week engagement series at Bailey Middle School last fall, and for the last couple of weeks the kids created these poster boards with drawings and collages and things that they presented at a community expo type thing,” said Westerholm. “It was very exciting for me to see 5th and 6th graders get excited about sustainable living and be like ‘Yeah, saving the planet! This is cool!’ It really gives you hope for the future.”
Starting this July 21st, Urban Green Lab will be kicking off an Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds needed to run their up-and-coming Mobile Lab. The Mobile Lab will showcase five areas of improvement through sustainability: water, energy, food/agriculture, transportation, and green-building.
“It’s kind of a mobile interactive museum of sorts with activities to do, and it’s all hands on, for both children and adults. We’re building it now and will be launching it towards the end of this year,” said Westerholm.
The hope for the Mobile Lab is to not only reach a larger audience in Nashville with the benefits of mobility, but also to advertise the non-profit and its mission of improving the health and well-being of our city on a personal level.
“I invite people to get involved in our work in whatever way they feel excited about!” laughed Westerholm. “We have a lot of volunteer opportunities, so it’s great if folks have a special use or talent we could use, or help us grow by connecting us with a company, or something like that, that would be interested in our work.”
Urban Green Lab can be found on Facebook and on their website, which has information on booking the Mobile Lab as well as a calendar of upcoming events. The next Engage Green event will take place on Wednesday, August 5th at Little Harpeth Brewing from 6-7pm. Like all Engage Green events, this workshop on Sustainable Brewing will be free of charge. Spots can be reserved on the Team Green Adventures website.
“Most everything we do is free or really cheap and open to everybody, so come out to see us at Engage Green!”
– Aziza Cunningham (Lightning 100 Summer Intern)
Imagine yourself waking on a late spring morning, embers still crackling in the wood-burning stove and the sound of birds seeping through the open window. You throw on your hiking shorts and fleece pullover then step onto your patio, where you take a seat at the rocking chair and you think to yourself “which trail am I going to wander down today?”
There are three amazing lodges, only accessible by foot, that Team Green Adventures frequents for our spring and fall hiking getaways. This week’s blog gives you a taste of each!
Now that Spring has sprung, and the sun has finally joined us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time to start enjoying some outdoor festivals full of food, beer, activities, and entertainment! These events celebrate the good weather with good times, but often have the tendency to leave their environmental impact out of the equation. Lucky for you, we have two great festivals on the horizon in Nashville, both with a major emphasis on sustainable practices: Nashville Earth Day Festival (April 18th) and Lightning 100’s Live On The Green (August 20th, 27th, September 3rd & 10-12th). Keep these five factors in mind when choosing which festivals to fall in love with!
1. Waste Management (Reduce, Recycle, and Compost)
Festivals are infamous for creating a considerable amount of stress on their surroundings… and the environment at large. If there’s one thing a festival is really good at, it’s creating waste. Individuals bring in disposable goods, create trash, then leave it on site, leaving you with that “not so fresh” feeling while there. There are three fundamental ways a festival can combat these problems: reducing, recycling, and composting (not the traditional 3 Rs, but close enough). Reducing is the easiest way to manage waste on site at a festival, but it starts long before the event kicks off. Research and planning are key factors in finding alternatives that would eliminate unnecessary waste from the festival infrastructure. Some good examples of this are: eliminating plastic, providing reusable water bottles, prohibiting superfluous paper advertisements, and setting concrete goals for waste reduction.
Recycling of plastics, cans, and paper are a must-have for any self-respecting outdoor festival. Did you know that in 2014 Lightning 100’s Live On The Green diverted over 12,660 pounds of trash from the landfill– a pretty significant number for a six day festival! Any eco-friendly festival will have multiple clearly marked recycling stations for commingled or separated recyclables. Put the plastic bottle in the recycling can, people! You can set an example by picking up recyclables off the ground and putting them in their proper place. You’ll be amazed how many people follow suit.
Composting is the above-and-beyond waste management strategy for your friendly neighborhood festival. Re-purposing organic matter, specifically food waste and compostable food containers, is a great way to give back to nature. Give it a try at home too. Check out our past blog about using compost in your home garden!
2. Ride Sharing and Alternative Transportation
The simple truth is that festivals attract large amounts of people, and these people cause parking congestion. When an individual festival-goer drives separately in their own vehicle, it seems harmless. Multiply that by 10,000 and you have an issue! Carbon emissions, oh boy…. carbon emissions everywhere! Many Earth-friendly festivals have recognized this malady, and have put measures forth to encourage alternative forms of transportation. Partnering with public transportation (like Metro MTA buses), encouraging carpooling, and offering free bike valet are all features you’ll find at both Nashville Earth Day Festival and Lightning 100’s Live On The Green!
3. Sustainable Energy Use
Sustainable energy is the ultimate buzz word with ecologically-minded individuals, and for good reason! Sustainable energies could very well be the key to unlocking a cleaner and healthier environmental future. Festivals consume massive amounts of energy through stage sound equipment, lighting, projectors, and food truck generators! When a festival organizer chooses to use sustainable energy, the benefits are insurmountable. You might think that only festival giants such as Coachella or Bonnaroo, which implemented solar panels into their electric grid in 2013, are capable of such technological feats. But they’re not! Since its start in 2009, Lightning 100’s Live On The Green has made extensive use of energy-efficient LEDs for stage lighting, which limits energy consumption to less than 30% of an event of comparable size and scope! More and more festivals are incorporating sustainable energy sources into their grids, proving that it doesn’t just cut energy consumption; it cuts costs!
4. Eco Vendors
Implementing standards of efficiency for their food, beverage, and merchandise vendors is another simple but effective way to make your festival experience more Earth-friendly! Food trucks and beer vendors are some of the biggest targets for improvement. Donating used cooking oil for biodiesel, eliminating plastic disposables (and replacing with compostables or finger-foods only), hiring local vendor workers, and using locally-sourced ingredients or products are all efficiency standards that help make the festival as a whole more green.
Another great trend taking root at many festivals is free communal drinking water, so participants can refill their own reusable bottles. This is a great way to cut down on plastic, cut down on trash/recycling costs, and is also a wonderful opportunity for vendor branding (by handing out or selling logo’d bottles)! Earth-friendly festivals will also attract sustainability-conscious sponsors, like Bridgestone Americas, and feature local businesses and organizations that contribute to the community’s environmental awareness efforts, like Nashville’s own Walk/Bike Nashville, Clean Air Partnership, Cumberland River Compact, Hands On Nashville, Nashville B-cycle, and more!
5. Proactive Audience Mentality
However, there is only so much a festival can do by itself. All the infrastructure can be put in place, but in the end the audience makes the biggest difference. Lightning 100’s Live On The Green and Nashville Earth Day Festival both make stage announcements encouraging festival-goers to recycle, but it’s up to YOU to decide to listen. Fortunately, the proactive “leave it better than when you came” mentality is taking root, especially in Nashville, and many festival-goers are supporting the cause.
Remember, festivals absorb the costs of cleaning up, and have to pass those costs onto you, the participants, by raising ticket prices or cutting back on entertainment features. When you help with the clean-up efforts throughout the festival, you help reduce the overall cost and improve the quality of the festival for next year! So, the next time you go to a festival, be a part of the solution, especially if the festival is FREE, like Nashville Earth Day Festival and Lightning 100’s Live On The Green! If one of your favorite festivals could use improvements in their Earth-friendliness, send a friendly comment to the festival organizers or interact with them on social media to let them know it’s a change you’d like to see!
-Taylor (Team Green’s Spring Intern)