The new brass at Pride Toronto seem fit on making waves in the city - waves of fresh views that is. Their recent announcement indicating a plan to make the festival more environmentally friendly is a big step in the right direction. Although the press release belows speaks in generalities only, I for one am looking forward to seeing what the overall strategic plan will be for Pride 2010. As with any large scale event, there is tons of waste created, energy used and emissions generated.
For my initial wish list, I'd like to see everyone reusing their plastic beverage glasses. Perhaps Pride could offer a discount on drinks when patrons bring up their emply cups for refills. How about alternative energy sources for some of the power needed at the stages and various other sites. This happens at the height of summer, so let's put the sun to work and think of solar energy options. Could we reduce the amount of printed guides, and perhaps have dedicated "Information Centres" where schedules are posted, pencils and recycled paper is available for note taking, computer stations are available with access restricted to the Pride homepage? For those items that do get printed, recyclable newsprint should be the only option.
I could go on and on, but I'll leave that to the powers that be at Pride, who have made the first baby step to a brighter, more sparkling and earth-friendly event.
Pride Toronto will receive $140,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to work in partnership with The Icarus Foundation to assist Pride Week to reduce its carbon footprint in Toronto and become more environmentally sustainable over the next three years.
The official funding announcement was made today by George Smitherman, MPP for Toronto Centre-Rosedale at a press conference led by David Whitaker, President of Tourism Toronto. Members of Pride Toronto and The Icarus Foundation were present, as well as Paul-Francois Sylvestre, a member of the OTF’s Grant Review Team.
“Although increasing focus has been placed on greening business practices, these initiatives have not spread as widely in the tourism industry, especially for festivals and public events,” said Tracey Sandilands, Executive Director, Pride Toronto. “Our aim is not only to reduce Pride Week’s footprint but to also reach and educate our diverse audience on how they can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and to showcase this opportunity for festivals and events across Canada.”
Tourism is the world’s largest industry and the economic impacts are well documented. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism generated $3.9 trillion and accounted for 9.8% of the world's GDP in 2005. However, with this growth has come negative impacts and threats.
In addition to tourism creating mass consumption of resources such as water and energy in Canada, our climate has an important influence on operating costs such as heating and cooling, food, water supply and insurance costs. Canada's roster of festivals and events makes up an important part of the tourism industry and has a huge environmental footprint.
“We are thrilled to be able to partner with The Icarus Foundation to provided added benefits to our local community,” added Sandilands. “They have a wealth of experience in working to reduce the footprint of festivals and events and they are passionate about fostering a sustainable tourism industry. The organization has international expertise in this field, and a wide diversity of skills to provide strategic direction.”
The funding will be used to conduct an audit in the first year, and to finance the employment of a Program Manager to oversee the greening initiatives and to educate and train staff, volunteers and members of the community.