Envision's Eco Initiatives:
Making an impact through expanding eco-awareness!
Education on sustainable living practices benefits all. Through carefully selected partnerships Envision promotes eco-education as well as participation and creativity. From group seminars on the beach to interactive demonstrations throughout the grounds and surrounding areas, we hope to engender a lasting consciousness about how our actions and choices influence the planet and to create viable solutions to the problems we face.
We encourage festival goers to pack responsibly for Envision. Do not bring items that will end up in a landfill or that you will not want to take back home again. Remember to pack light, reuse and recycle.
Envision aims to set a standard in eco-festivals by having a significant influence on the thought process of people from all backgrounds and places of the world as well as by developing a functional model based on sustainability and community.
The festival will highlight Costa Rica to the world as a leader in eco-local consciousness. By using local vendors and suppliers for everything from building materials to organic produce and artwork, the community involvement will enrich each guest's individual experiences. Promoting local businesses builds sustainable prosperity for the local community.
Community Carbon Trees – Costa Rica
Envision has partnered with Community Carbon Trees and has helped to contribute at least the equivalent of 5% of all ticket sales to support their cause. Here is a message from Founder and President, Jennifer Smith.
"If we are truly to create lasting solutions to the environmental problems facing the planet, we have to do MORE than plant trees for global warming. . . . Ideally, we also have to find ways to preserve local communities and cultures, while immediately rebuilding deforested soils, wildlife corridors and protecting watersheds and old growth forests. This work is especially important in countries like Costa Rica where there still exist intact stretches of primary jungle along the coast which, in turn, influence the oceans and marine life, together so vital to the overall stability of our global climate".
Community Carbon Trees offers the following synchronized solutions.
- Sequester tons of carbon dioxide and other fossil fuels year after year
- Create biological corridors connecting fragmented rainforest to insure wildlife and species survival
- Protect rivers, streams and natural water springs from drying effects of equatorial sun
- Stabilize and repair damaged lands to prevent landslides
- Preserve local species of rare native trees and medicinal plants through seed collection networks
- Provide organic food for humans and animals alike
- Empower Tico landowners to engage in widespread, multi-species reforestation of degraded pasture land
- Provide Costa Rican "Tico" landowners with a way to earn good income off their land without engaging in destructive farming practices or real estate development
- Produce alternative, sustainable sources of rare tropical hardwoods through selected thinning and continued management to improve growth rates and carbon sequestration
- Fairly employ local Costa Ricans in a conscientious, cooperative endeavour
- Educate young and old, foreign and local as to value of preserving existing rainforest and regenerating what has been destroyed
- Establish integrated community cooperation and responsibility for the rainforest and its products
- Preserve local customs and Pura Vida ways of life
Co-founder of Envision and eco-superstar, Stephen Brooks, has been making the world a better place one day at a time for over a decade. We strongly encourage you to watch this presentation he delivered outlining his the journey he has taken and the mission he is on to seek more sustainable ways to live our daily lives without compromising quality of life. We promise it's both entertaining and informative!
For more information visit:
Envision 2012 Sustainability Report
Prepared by Ecotopian Enterprises
Envision seeks to be the local leader in sustainable event practices in Costa Rica and throughout Central America. We believe that education on sustainable living practices benefits each and every one of us. Accordingly, Envision promotes eco-education through carefully selected partnerships and the encouragement of participation and creativity at the festival. From group seminars to interactive demonstrations we seek to engender a lasting consciousness about how our actions and choices influence the planet while creating viable solutions to the problems it faces. Envision aims to set a standard in ecologically conscious festivals by having a significant influence on the thought process of people from all backgrounds and places of the world as well as by developing a functional model based on sustainability and community. While it is virtually impossible to ensure that an event will be completely impact-free, we seek to reduce our environmental impact as much as possible in regard to emissions and resource use, by properly planning for and managing transport of goods and people, energy, waste management, product sourcing, and water management. Production decisions revolve around efforts to operationally minimize our environmental impact in each of these areas and maximize the triple bottom line.
Two major challenges in 2012 were a new location and vast increase in attendance. For 2012, Envision moved 20 minutes south from our 2011 location in Playa Dominical to our new home in Uvita, adjacent to Bahia Ballena National Park. From a little over 500 people in attendance last year, the event quadrupled in size to well over 2,000 people this year. As a result of the new landscape and vastly larger gathering to manage our sustainability efforts were figured out from the ground up. However, new obstacles to overcome lead to more opportunities to learn and improve.
Envision prides itself as being a world leader in sustainable event construction. Nearly ever structure on site was constructed of locally and sustainably harvested bamboo. The majority of this bamboo is being stored nearby and will be reusable for many years to come.
With the assistance of a sizable Ecotopian Crew comprised of environmentally educated, action-oriented, energetic volunteers, Envision was able to successfully separate waste streams and ensure all disposables were processed properly. The event utilized color-coded waste bins throughout the festival, enabling participants’ to learn and understand proper sorting of their waste. Eco Crew volunteers were stationed at bin stations throughout the weekend, helping people sort their waste into the proper bin, sorting bins if they stepped away for a few minutes, and being overall guardians of sustainability at the gathering. This system completely eliminated the need to sort waste after it was tied up in its bag. The ladies of The MOOPsquad offered assistance with a mission of inspiring people to have fun while picking up trash and treasure and rocking the slogan “Leave No Trace, Make Your Mark.” Together the grounds were kept clean, attendees were educated about the waste situation and many were inspired to get involved in keeping Envision clean. Most importantly, all waste was processed in the proper manner.
In the end we sent the overwhelming majority of glass and plastic to be recycled at the local recycling center and aluminum cans were donated to the community to be redeemed for cash. Vendor and campground generated compost was processed on site, and coconuts (other than those that were returned to the jungle) were used to help alleviate one of our drainage issues - for which they worked perfectly. Finally, remaining waste that could not be recycled or composted was sent to the local landfill.
Waste Management Goals for 2013:
Although we try to impose a Leave No Trace “Pack it in, pack it out” policy for campsite waste, most people still left bagged campsite waste at the bin stations. Because we did not have enough volunteers to help with the Monday exodus, lots of potentially unsorted campsite waste wound up in the landfill waste stream, unless it was clearly pre-sorted recyclables. For 2013, we plan to have a larger Eco Crew work force on departure, as this is a crucial component of keeping our waste stream uncontaminated.
Several Eco Crew volunteers never showed up for their shifts causing the team to short-shifted. Next year, we plan on increasing Eco Crew volunteer numbers, and triple checking with volunteers ahead of time that they will be showing up.
The biggest missed opportunity for 2012 was calculating the diversion rate of our waste. Although all landfill trash was sorted and bagged separately from the plastic, aluminum, and glass recycling streams, the hauler picked it up before the bags were counted. Likewise, glass and plastic bags were sent to the recycling center without being counted, and aluminum cans were redeemed for cash. In order to get solid numbers next year, we will either get dumpsters to store trash and recycling bags enabling us to weigh each waste stream before it is hauled off-site, or hand count bags post-event ourselves.
As expected, our largest waste generators were the food vendors. Although Envision Cafe and a few other vendors used all or mostly biodegradable plates, cups, and utensils, certainly not all of the disposables were biodegradable. To improve this situation going forward, we would like to institute a policy of 100% biodegradable plates, cups and utensils at food and beverage vendors. Ideally, we would like to cut out disposables altogether and inform patrons, artists, staff, and volunteers that they need to bring their own reusable dishes and cutlery to the festival, with the option to buy these things there if they forget. However, it is yet to be seen if this is completely feasible in Costa Rica.
Transport of Goods & People
Transport of goods and people accounts for the largest source of emissions generated from Envision. While we feel that our remote location is crucial to the spirit and intention of the event, it is in this category that an emissions reduction is most essential.
To reduce the amount of cars driven to the festival, the Envision Team strongly recommended taking the three hour Envision Shuttle service from San José International Airport straight to the festival grounds. Envision Shuttles were running before, during, and after the event several times per day. At least 575 festival attendees chose to ride on the Envision Shuttles. The public TRACOPA bus, slightly longer at four hours from downtown San Jose, was also running from San José, and many people chose this option. A relatively small number of people chose to drive to the gathering in their owned or rented cars. All cars were charged $5 for parking each time they arrived in the lot, or $20 to be able to come in and out all weekend.
Except in rare circumstances, materials and products were delivered in bulk, thus minimizing the number of trucks and other transport vehicles making trips to the festival site before, during, and after the event.
Envision is partnered with Community Carbon Trees – Costa Rica (CCT), a non-profit organization producing a highly diverse selection of rare native tropical trees in their own nurseries and carefully transporting, planting and maintaining them in a natural forest matrix. By planting and maintaining trees, CCT helps Envision offset part of the emissions produced by our artists, staff, volunteers, and attendees traveling and transporting themselves in order to attend the event. Envision has accordingly contributed $2,000 to support this worthy cause.
Transportation Goals for 2013:
Next year we plan on giving out numbered car parking passes so that we know how many cars drive to the event. On Thursday and Friday, we will also have an Eco Crew volunteer taking tallies of number of people in each car, identified by a unique parking pass number, to get an estimate of the number of people who traveled to the festival by car as opposed to bus. We will then be able to more accurately calculate transportation emissions impact.
We will also be organizing a rideshare for people with cars to link up with folks in close proximity or on their way and looking to get a ride. The Envision Airport Shuttle will be expanded in anticipation of attendance next year.
Although Envision contributed a sizable sum of money to CCT’s cause, zero offsets were bought at the festival. In order to improve on this, we will offer more education of our offsetting efforts in the festival program, as well as offer an incentive for people to make a donation, such as Envision stickers or merch vouchers.
While the bulk of the greenhouse gas emissions created from Envision came from the transport of goods and people, energy/power generation also played a role, considering the remote location and lack of access to grid power. Although there are now many better alternatives to diesel-powered generators, these resources are not readily available in Costa Rica and renewable energy is an area we seek to improve upon next year. While we did rely on diesel fuel to power our stages and lighting, there were several initiatives in place to reduce energy use and likewise emissions from power generation.
In especially hot climates such as that of Costa Rica, water conservation and wastewater management are crucial components of sustainable planning. In 2012 Envision provided free potable water via a fill-up station in the campground and a sink by the showers, reducing the number of plastic water bottles used and increasing the hydration of our participants. Bamboo showers were provided and attendees were educated that only biodegradable soaps were to be used in them. As a result, shower water was not wastewater but rather environmentally safe grey water.
Water Use Goals for 2013:
As anyone in attendance can attest to, plumbing issues led to a potentially serious water shortage on site in the early part of the weekend. For next year, Envision is working with the town of Uvita to install a new 2” water pipe connecting the venue directly to the town water supply. This will allow us to provide additional fill stations to serve our thirsty guests.
Drainage was another issue, as the campground water bottle fill station was sited too close to campsites. Food vendors used more water than anticipated and the drainage ditch behind Envision Cafe and several food vendors overflowed. Empty coconuts provided a quick and sustainable solution as they quickly absorbed excess water. However, the campground fill-up station remained an issue throughout the festival. Next year we plan on more intelligently planning out the location and capacity of drainage areas.
Materials & Product Use & Purchasing
Envision Cafe used, prepared, and served local, organic, vegetarian, fair trade food on banana leaves and corn-based biodegradable plates and poured healthy beverages in biodegradable cups. Other food vendors were encouraged to do the same. For next year, we plan to use only biodegradable or reusable products at Envision Cafe and require other food vendors to do the same.
Locally sourced bamboo was the primary construction material for all on-structures, including the stages, vendor structures, art gallery, tea lounge, and yoga sanctuaries. All bamboo is being stored for reuse in future years. Reused and re-purposed materials were utilized as much as possible.
Envision’s ticketing service, inTicketing, mailed out a grand total of 0 tickets, thus not using any paper, recycled or otherwise, or chemical-based ink. The overwhelming majority of total tickets sold were ordered online and held at Will Call. The remaining tickets, only 300, were printed and sold at local ticket outlets to Costa Ricans at a discounted rate, in order to encourage the local population to come out and get involved. Those tickets were printed on recycled or hemp/flax paper stock with soy-based ink. Since many Costa Ricans could only pay with cash, this was the only feasible option.
Workshops at Envision were centered on spirituality, health, art, consciousness, and sustainable living practices. Workshops with a focus on sustainability included:
“Preserving our Environment, Communities and Cultures through Reforestation” with Jennifer Smith of Community Carbon Trees - Costa Rica (http://www.communitycarbontrees-costarica.com/)
“Intro to Tropical Permaculture” with Stephen Brooks of Punta Mona Center for Sustainable Living & Education (http://puntamona.org/)
“Empowering the Leader Within: Sustainable Leadership for Sustainable Endeavors” with Chef Sprout of The Sun Kitchen (http://www.thesunkitchen.com/)
“Medicinal Plant Walk & Talk” with Sarah Wu
“Urban Permaculture, Bringing Nature's Bounty to the City” with Marcus Thompson
“Environmental Filmmaking: How we are changing the world with our cameras” with Annika Beaulieu & Renzo Zanelli
Envsion’s world-class yoga instructors offered an array of daily classes in the Bamboo and YogaPlay temples. Workshops were offered in the sustainably built Bamboo Temple, Yum Sauce Tea Lounge and Root Down Tree Alter. Various kinds of healers and masseuses were available for participants at The Oasis & Vortex. A Kids Zone was set up on site however lacked proper management at several times throughout the weekend.
The Ecotopian Crew and MOOPsquad provided education regarding environmental efforts, specifically the waste system and water regulations. By talking with participants, strategically hung signage, walking through campsites encouraging people to Leave No Trace, and MOOPsquad theatrical demonstrations, festival attendees were able to experience our dream of a sustainable community.
We believe that social impact is a leading component of sustainability. Educating our community in a positive and lasting manner is crucial to the continued survival of our planet and all of those beings living on it. Our social outreach and community-building efforts are centered on forging a participatory social vibe at the festival and beyond, in order to create a more sustainable, connected, happy, and healthy world.
Envision thanks Ecotopian Enterprises and The MOOPsquad for helping keep us green!