Envision Festival and Rancho La Merced would like to thank you for helping to keep Envision a conscious and progressive gathering, by maintaining awareness throughout the event about your impact to this beautiful land on which Envision is held. Envision is a Leave No Trace event, and we therefore always leave the land in as good if not better condition than we found it. We try to minimize waste sent to the landfills and maximize recycling and composting rates, conserve water as much as possible, mitigate our atmospheric impact from transportation and energy, source only environmentally-sound products and materials, and we always maintain positive relations with our surrounding community.
As a participant at Envision, please do your individual part by:
– Using your own water bottle. There are 3 filtered water Hydration Stations onsite. NO PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES, PLEASE!!
– Using your own reusable bowl, plate, cup & utensils or making them yourself with palm leaves, banana leaves, and bamboo (demonstrations and assistance with Community Carbon Trees at the Tree Center) or buying bamboo ware at Envision Merchandise (limited quantities available!).
– We have several dishwashing sinks available for your use throughout the weekend. In an effort to almost completely eliminate disposable food vendor waste, please help Envision and the global community by being conscious food consumers and resource conservers, and by not using any disposable plates, bowls, cups or utensils you may have brought. There will be no disposable plates or utensils at Envision 2017.
– Being ready to sort all of your waste when you go to throw it out. Envision aims to send as little to the landfills as possible, and we really need the participation of all Envisionaries in our waste sorting efforts. Helpful members of the Envision Eco Crew will be around to help you get the hang of our sorting procedures.
Please refer to the following sorting guide for general guidelines, which is subject to minor changes on-site:
- Food waste
- Shredded paper and smaller pieces of shredded cardboard (non waxed)
- Used banana leaf, palm leaf, bamboo and other 100% nature-sourced bowls, utensils, and cups
RECYCLING (which is divided into individual streams)
- Glass: Glass bottles with caps removed
- Aluminum: Aluminum soda and beer cans (crushed), clean aluminum foil & tin cans
- Cardboard: Broken down and flattened cardboard and TetraPak soy/nut milk containers
- Plastic #1-7 hard plastics and crushed plastic bottles
- Cigarette butts
- Bottle tops
- Waxed or plastic-lined paper
- Non-numbered hard plastic
- Soft plastics
- Cellophane, chip bags & candy wrappers
HAZARDOUS: DO NOT PUT IN BINS, BUT INSTEAD PLEASE GIVE TO A VOLUNTEER ON THE ECO CREW
- Fluorescent bulbs
- Paint, oil, propane, cleaner or other chemical product cans
- Broken glass shards
- Sorting your campsite waste before you leave. Please keep landfill waste separate from glass, plastic, aluminum/tin, cardboard and compost. Before you depart at the end of the weekend, you can leave your sorted bags of campsite waste with an Eco Crew Volunteer at the Waste Sorting Area, but please do not drop off any campsite waste at any of the Bin Stations on site at any time! Not throwing anything on the ground! All things that do not come from the land are Matter Out of Place (MOOP), and should not be discarded onto the earth. You can help us by picking up MOOP you see on the ground, even if you did not put it there, and placing it in the appropriate bin.
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 for the last 5 years 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
PREPARED BY ECOTOPIAN ENTERPRISES
In this document we share the results of the 2015 Envision Festival Eco Initiatives. The Envision team is motivated by the principles of permaculture, and we aim to proliferate this message out in the world and at the Festival itself. We continuously do as much in our power as possible to educate and empower people to further spread the seeds of of environmental regeneration on our planet by living consciously in every thought and action. We believe in environmental symbiosis, biodiversity, low impact living, organic food and other healthy lifestyle choices, and the right of every individual to live freely and happily, so long as the health of Earth and themselves is the number one priority. The eco initiatives we have implemented over the past five years, and those still yet to come, are in place in order to spread these values and to ensure that our event grows in a way that accounts for these goals, and does not sacrifice them in any way. Compost toilets, maximum efficiency waste separation, renewable energy sources, on site compost processing and use, and a venue that shares our values, are just some of the measures in place to ensure this path of environmental resilience and improvement. Many of the rest of our eco initiatives are outlined in the following document, which we hope you’ll spend a few minutes reading over. We are fully aware that there is a lot more work to do in order to make our gathering fully regenerative, and we are constantly working on this endeavor. But if you have any environmental ideas that we may not be thinking of, please, feel free to share and collaborate on our collective future.
Rancho La Merced is a National Wildlife Refuge that consists of 506 hectares of primary and secondary tropical wet forest, as well as pastures, mangroves next to the Morete River, and adjacent to the beach and Pacific Ocean beyond. Exotic birds, reptiles, insects, and mammals abound.
Rancho La Merced has been protected from hunting for many years and it is an active member of the Asociacion de Amigos de la Naturaleza del Pacífico Central y Sur (ASANA). El Rancho is part of the Tapirs Path Wildlife Corridor. It was recently awarded with the Bandera Azul Ecológica and the Certificación de Sostenibilidad Turística (CST) from the Costa Rican Tourism Bureau. The management of Rancho La Merced is very much in concurrence with Envision’s beliefs about the importance of permaculture and community.
With only 4 compost toilets onsite in 2014, we significantly increased compost toilet construction and use in 2015, adding an additional 56 stalls, and taking 2 out of commission, leaving us with a total of 54 compost toilets.
Portable toilets almost completely eliminated, with this being the goal for 2016. Aside from humus’ use as a potent natural fertilizer, which we plan on using on site at Rancho La Merced and other local farms, our compost toilets saved approximately 28,800 gallons (1.6gal/flush x 3 times/day x 6k people) of fresh water per day, compared to typical low-flow flush toilets in the United States and Canada.
WASTE MANAGEMENT (= LANDFILL MINIMIZATION)
No landfill materials of any kind given out at the Festival by production, food vendors, merchandise vendors, or any other official contributors. The Eco Team separates all recycling from landfill materials on site, thus minimizing volume sent to the landfills as much as possible.
All biodegradable materials kept separate from landfill and recycling streams. Campers encouraged to leave their camping trash at the Eco Hub (the Eco Team’s headquarters) because the logistics of carrying trash off-site without a vehicle, in a country where it is not possible for foreigners to utilize recycling facilities, is tricky at best. Disposable plates, cups & utensils completely eliminated, with the exception of compostable reserve cups at the bars. Bottle caps, cigarette butts, plastic bags and wrappers, non-reusable tarps, and waxed and plastic-lined paper are about the only items that were not compostable and or recyclable generated in any significant amount at Envision.
All kitchen food scraps from every food vendor and the Envision Cafe collected separately from landfill and recycling materials, processed on site, and then used for its potent fertilizing properties on the property and nearby farms. All human refuse collected and processed on site via our new compost toilets.
We pay a group of local people connected with the Envision Family to recycle all of our different recycling streams (metals, plastics, glass, and cardboard) in Perez Zeledon, about an hour from Rancho La Merced, where they in turn make more money for themselves via redemption. Recycling breakdown by specific stream: 41 bags of aluminum cans, 8 bags of metal food cans, 50 sacks of glass bottles, 8 bags of cardboard, 5 bags of paper, 50 bags of plastic bottles
Biodiesel generators power all stages. Biodiesel produces less air pollutants (other than nitrogen oxides) and greenhouse gases than diesel fuel, and is also biodegradable, non-toxic, and easier to handle. The biodiesel we use is domestically produced from non-petroleum, renewable resources. Initiatives in place to reduce energy use include: Energy-efficient LED lighting for stage decoration and ambiance. Lighting in the art installation, gallery and workshop areas, as well as along pathways, is run on rechargeable batteries, many of which are solar-powered. Demand for generators reduced through efficient planning for placement, distribution, and usage patterns. Rancho La Merced is connected to grid electricity, which is over 90% powered by renewable sources in Costa Rica. We supplied electricity for all build activities and for art installations during the event with grid power. We used over 2,000kilowatt hours of renewable grid energy.
Most people camp on site during the Festival, thus eliminating daily car trips and associated emissions. Over 600 people took the Envision Shuttles to and from the airport, and many take the public bus. The idea is to limit car trips. A materials storage bodega was built on the site, thus eliminating emissions and materials that would have been generated and yet required for transporting heavy reusable items to an offsite storage location.
Our largest emissions impact comes from the transportation of people from international locations. While our remote location is crucial to the spirit and intention of the gathering, it is in this category that continual improvement is most crucial. Association Community Carbon Trees Costa Rica (ACCT) is our carbon offsetting non profit organization of choice. ACCT nurtures a highly diverse selection of rare native tropical trees in their nurseries and then transports, plants, and maintains them in a natural forest matrix until maturity. By planting and maintaining trees with funds raised at Envision, ACCT directly helps Envision offset part of our transportation emissions. Using an approximate average round trip to and from the United States of 4,110 miles, each person would need to offset 2,240 pounds of carbon dioxide to completely offset their trip. Envision donations to ACCT in 2015 were enough to account for the planting and maintaining of 154 trees, which equates to 154 tons of carbon sequestered.
Filtered municipal drinking water offered to the public free of charge. Handwashing stations in food vendor areas for participants to use. Shower units with pressure control open to the public in the mornings and afternoons, with specific shower times posted. Envision used a total of ______ cubic meters of water this year, compared to 397 cubic meters last year. Although the event was significantly larger this year, Envision is striving to limit its water usage significantly in the future due to local water table constraints and global water issues. In the future we are going to diversify our water sourcing, bringing in water from surrounding watersheds, as opposed to solely the Uvita system, as we overdrew from the system at multiple points in 2015, despite our system planning which aimed to avoid this uncomfortable situation.
ECO BUILDING & OTHER MATERIALS
Locally-sourced bamboo is the primary construction material for all on-structures. All bamboo is stored for reuse in future years or resold on the market. Bamboo joints are saved and turned into cups, and internodes are used to construct bowls.
Envision Cafe prepares local, fair trade, organic, vegetarian food on reusable plates and healthy beverages poured in reusable cups. Klean Kanteen steel water bottles sold on site. Reused and repurposed materials utilized as much as possible. All reusable materials left on the site deliberately – such as camping equipment; plastic sheets and tarps; reusable plates, cups, and utensils; rope and string; nails and screws; and anything else potentially useful – is stored onsite and is used for future events and/or site improvements. No physical tickets of any kind were mailed out, thus not using any paper or ink for this purpose. All tickets were presented to the box office via smartphone QR codes, and people were given the option to print at home.
A Permaculture Action Day was held the day before the Festival in the nearby town of Uvita, mobilizing the Festival community to take tangible action to help the local area. Three projects at two local schools and an extracurricular education center were completed, with activities including mural painting, planting gardens and fruit trees, and musical activities with the students. Eco Team education of participants from the box office line, to campgrounds, and at individual bin stations. Educational necessities are continually evolving. Several workshops and lectures with a dominant focus on permaculture and environmental consciousness. Eco Hub space in The Village, adjoining the Network Center. This is the headquarters of the Eco Team, as well as an information booth for all things environmentally and permaculturally related at Envision Festival and within the community, and also a place to share ideas about all things environmentally oriented.
Support of and participation by Costa Rican non-profit organizations including Association Community Carbon Trees, Buenaventura Costa Rica, Natural Leaders, and the Lisa Wendel Memorial Life Foundation. Stephen Brooks, Co-Founder of Envision Festival, has lived in Costa Rica since 1995. He is the Founder and Director of Punta Mona Center for Sustainable Living & Education, located near Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean Coast. He co-founded Kopali Organics, and he is also the co-founder of La Ecovilla, a 45-acre permaculture community featuring state-of-the art ecological technologies and abundant foods. He likewise founded Tacotal Eco Village, a permaculture based community of 33 families of artists, healers, builders, activists and farmers from five different countries. Envision hosting of the indigenous Boruca Tribe. Designated children’s zone that serves as a sanctuary for those younger guests in attendance and their families. Volunteer opportunities make the festival accessible to low income individuals, while providing opportunities for skill development to all who wish to pursue them. Reduced ticket prices for citizens of Central American countries. Local residents were employed by Envision for certain jobs and paid fair labor wages. Recycling money went to a local women’s recycling group.