While I am reflecting on all of the sustainability initiatives at Coachella it seems fitting for this festival to fall so closely to Earth Day. Coachella has been getting dissed lately. And by that I mean that the longtime festival-goers who have been heading to Palm Springs since this whole music event started are bummed. Some complain that the acts aren't as indie, others say that it's become too mainstream and crowded (now the long lineup of non-stop music is repeated for a second weekend in order to fill the demand). But in the three years that I've gone, I've noticed one change more than any of the others -- the emphasis Coachella is placing on sustainability. Heck, if that's what's next for mainstream then I am totally ready to rock out to that! And it is catching the mainstream, the younger generations, and it's becoming more of a demand by millennials than an added plus.
As one of the founders of BuyConscious.com (a site my co-founder and I started in order to profile brands and people who are focused on serving the community and planet), I am thrilled to see young people/millennials start to care more and more about their environment and their impact on it. And don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed Azealia Banks and Florence and the Machine just completely killing it on stage, but my highlight was definitely cruising the conscious corners.
The food choices were shockingly widespread and abundant for a festival. Booths offered organic, gluten-free, vegan and local options, and you could tell just by looking at the menus that local vendors were given tons of priority. There were incredibly fun stations where you could actively take part in helping the festival stay as green as possible. The TRASHed area was "pretty rad" as they say out here in Cali. With its #ArtOfRecylcing (ongoing awareness program) partnering up for the big weekend, they dispersed artist-painted trash bins for recycling that were like art pieces themselves. They also offered different prizes: For every ten bottles that were picked up and brought to their tent, you could exchange that for a full water bottle. And with that afternoon heat hitting the high 80s and 90s, trust me, those $2 water bottles add up!
This year Coachella even went solar just to show how easy the transition to renewable energy can be. And to cut down on the gas emissions, Coachella rewarded those who took part in "Carpoolchella" with secret spotters who went around searching for the marked cars and distributed awards such as VIP tickets for next year. I personally was carpooled in BMW's cute new i3 electric vehicle. I think we spent a total of $6 round trip, fueling at charging stations along the route. That's music to my wallet!
I definitely don't consider myself to be a music snob, but I'm still a tough critic. I have to say, Coachella as a whole was yet again a great experience -- I was introduced to new artists I otherwise may have never heard, new methods to practice what I preach with consciousness and sustainability, and threw on my old school hippie clothes that honestly made me feel a little bit closer to my parents' generation, if only for a short weekend. It may not be Woodstock, but it's still a dang good time. And if you're not digging the music then at least you'll love the taste of the dairy-free coconut ice cream. Trust me on this one!
This blog post is part of the 'It's Our Earth (Day)' blog series, curated by the editors of HuffPost Generation Change in recognition of Earth Day 2015. We've invited young environmental bloggers to share how climate issues are affecting their lives and futures, and why it's so important for youth to take climate action. To see all the other posts in the series, click here.
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