I am no longer interested in non-sustainable events

In a moment of calm I come to the computer to write, to let my voice be heard where it will be, to let Spirit move me to express what needs to be expressed.

I am a human. I live in the United States. I am increasingly aware that our collective habits of consciousness are causing harm to us and to our planet. I speak now from peace, but have felt much pain and distress about this.

This weekend I went to a concert – an EDM show by an artist I have followed for years. Hundreds, thousands of people traveled to come to the concert. They traveled in cars, using fossil fuels to do so. At the concert I was struck by the huge amount of resources being used for this recreational experience. All around me people were drinking bottled water, single-use cups with alcohol in them. We were bathed in laser lights and fog and an enormous amount of sound and light. At the end of the show, there were fireworks. 

Fireworks are a display of explosions for the purpose of entertainment. They pollute the air, as well as the shared sound-space. It’s an abrupt, explosive sound, akin to the firing of a gun. I’ve been told that the sound of fireworks can trigger trauma in war veterans. And even for me, without the trauma of direct experience in war, I recognize that sound not as a harmonious sound but as a harmful sound. 

There is something at the base of a concert that is fundamental to the human experience: gathering in celebration, gathering to celebrate art and music and movement. We do need to gather and enjoy ourselves. There is wonderful therapeutic value in expressing ourselves in music and dance. I see the modern day EDM show as somewhat of a distant descendent of the ancient drum-and-dance circle, which peoples all over the globe have enjoyed for thousands of years. Yet the drum-and-dance circle has an element of worship and prayer to it, while the EDM show… while having so much ‘more’ on the material level, so much more physical stimulation, so much more noise and light… still, it is less. Still people need to inhibit themselves with substances to enjoy it, and for many people it’s an entertainment activity rather than a true participatory activity. 

The physical space that we set aside for events like this — in this case, it’s a brand new amphitheater. What was the land here before this? I do not know. Now it is a mix of structures and concrete and lawn – sod, which will require a lot of resources to maintain. 

I’ve grown up around structures and places like this, and learned with time that it sort of encourages forgetting about the land beneath my feet. Like I can take for granted that the ground is here holding me up. I don’t need to offer gratitude for that, or assume any responsibility for caring for it in return. 

The costs of places like this are truly hidden from us. And on such a deep level, my people are afflicted with a deep, deep malaise and sickness from being so separated from our land and our Earth that we can allow our species to continue on its course of destruction, numbing ourselves with drink and drugs to go to these ‘fun’ events because what else can we do? 

No. I can’t live in a lie anymore. The truth is that a lot that is very inherent to my culture is harmful, and needs to change. I won’t let my awareness of this stay hidden. I have to raise my voice. This is the beginning of my practice of speaking up.

In no particular order, here are a few specific things that bothered me that I know could be different. 

  • This brand-new venue does not have a water filling station or water fountain. Their policy is to not allow camelbaks into the venue. This effectively leads people to need to buy disposable single-use water containers from the venue, which of course makes sense from a business perspective (if you like manipulation to be a part of your business model) but not at all from a sustainability or human rights perspective. I lose a lot of respect for the venue designers for not choosing to make water accessibility a priority here. Somehow, collectively, can we start holding a standard about this?
  • Back to the resource use thing — I’ve been to events where the whole stage setup was powered by solar energy. Again, this is a brand new venue. What if it had been designed with solar panels or some other kind of green energy generation mechanism? Wouldn’t everyone feel better about that? How can we move towards that?
  • Fireworks are just not OK to me anymore. I don’t think it’s okay to blow things up for entertainment anymore. Our actions have consequences, and that moment of entertainment is polluting our air and creating disharmony in our ecosystem. How are other people experiencing fireworks? Is it truly enjoyable or just a habit? Doesn’t it feel a little weird and unreal? Like life is a TV show instead of something real…

One lesson I’m walking away with is that this kind of thing isn’t fun for me the way it used to be. There’s too much that’s out of sync with reality. I’ve been to high-vibe events where people are really engaging collectively with the pressing questions upon us – how do we create new patterns in our world that are sustainable, regenerative, healthy? I care a lot about that question and am going to choose to gravitate towards events and people that are turning to face the hard questions of the day. We can’t do it alone, we have to do it together! And we do deserve to gather and celebrate, to have fun, to have parties, to make music and dance and be free. We are all of those things at our core and deserve to express it. AND, we are responsible for our impact. We are responsible for being true caretakers, good stewards of this beautiful world. 

That’s all from me today. Just putting it out there to share where I’m at and hopefully touch a soul or two. I’d love to hear from you if I do. Love & Blessings!

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