Lifestyle, Opinions, Pop Culture

Coachella can’t beat its carbon footprint

Shelling out a grand to pound $20 vodka Red Bulls in the scorching heat of a random desert, what’s not to love?

With around 250,000 attendees altogether, this mindset has become a standard justification for many.

Since its inaugural celebration in 1999, Coachella has long-established itself as one of the top contenders for musical festivals, rolling in more than $100 million each year in profits. While the Indio, Calif. celebration generates large spikes in the local economy, the financial boom doesn’t quite make up for the massive weight of environmental strain.

The festival, as per a 2017 report, rakes in 107 tons of solid waste each day. Of this waste, only 20% is recycled.

Despite small initiatives like donation centers for unused supplies and rewarding water bottle recycling programs, there still remains a gaping hole for more efficient solutions.

Aside from the non-recycled 513 tons of trash, out of 642 tons total, piled by the end of the six-days, the festival also uses an absorbent amount of power.

The festival’s elaborate performances, complete with lights, 110 decibel speakers and fog machines are made possible with the use of diesel generators. Such equipment utilizes electricity while emitting harmful gasses like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides.

Research by California’s Air Resource Board shows that these gasses can be harmful to plants, animals and the atmosphere.

“Carbon monoxide contributes indirectly to climate change because it participates in chemical reactions in the atmosphere that produce ozone, which is a climate change gas,” the site published.

Additionally, carbon emissions produced from the tens of thousands of attendees is a major contributor.

Studies conducted by the City of Indio found that in 2016, there were over 36,000 vehicles used for transportation to the festival, which is the equivalent to a year’s worth of energy supply for 142 homes.

The trash buildup, in conjunction with the festival’s trailing carbon footprint, are cause for concern.

Though the official Coachella website encourages environmental initiatives, at some point the land may demand greater efforts.

Before wasting a paycheck for VIP tickets, remember the consequences. At the very least, come prepared with reusable utensils, water bottles and a carpool group.


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