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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Greening of Barrie Caribfest

I was looking online to find something new to add about Barrie's Caribfest this weekend and I came across this article about the steps organizers are making to minimize its environmental impact. I thought it was interesting and very admirable, so here is the article. (for all the details you need about getting to the festival and stuff click here.

We are going up on Friday to beat Saturday's traffic and we gonna hit Friday nights boat party.
Try and use another route if you are driving up Saturday morning, or leave REAL early. Last two years we got stuck on the 400 and suffered. I can't really suggest a good route, talk to someone with a cottage.

Here's the article, and the Greening of the festival has nothing to do with all the reggae this year ;)

Barrie's Caribfest to be the greenest of all

(Written for Root Issues in the Barrie Examiner, published in a slightly abridged version under the title "Caribfest showing great environmental flair")

Culture is a very important part of our economy, because we can grow culturally without depleting our natural resources. Singing, dancing, sharing ideas and stories should be things we can do without having to worry that we are harming the Earth in the process. Yet if cultural events aren’t planned with ecology in mind, they can trample the natural world we want to celebrate. I’ve been to concerts and festivals and been dismayed at the litter left behind, or the energy unnecessarily wasted.

Barrie’s Caribfest is eager to avoid this pitfall, and instead be the “greenest” Caribbean festival in the world. In the process, they will probably be the greenest festival of any type in the region, besides Ecofest itself.

Many weeks ago, Caribfest organizer Ricardo Rowe contacted me, in my role as a director of Barrie’s chief environmental NGO Living Green, to seek our assistance in “greening” Caribfest. At first I was a bit skeptical, since it isn’t a request we’d ever received before, but signaled that we were open to providing whatever help we could. In my mind were already a number of concerns I expected the organizers would overlook. I asked him to send us a written proposal.

When he did, I was pleasantly surprised. Caribfest anticipated and addressed several major concerns I had in mind. Rather than use noisy, stinky diesel generators, stages will hook up to the electric grid and festival sponsor Bullfrog Power will contribute the electricity. To avoid litter and landfill, not only will they have staffed waste sorting stations, but will mandate that all food vendors use uniform biodegradable dishes and containers. And they will offset their unavoidable carbon emissions by planting trees.

This was a fantastic start! It immediately upped the ante, so our board brainstormed more advanced measures to help further green Caribfest. We proposed bike corrals, so cyclists could come to the fest without worrying about parking or bike theft. We suggested event guests and attendees be provided information on getting to Barrie and downtown using transit or shared rides. We recommended that any trees used to offset carbon be planted either in Barrie or in the Caribbean, rather than some unspecified location. And all of those suggestions were enthusiastically adopted! Caribfest even plans to plant food-producing trees in poor Caribbean regions which will not only absorb carbon, but will provide other ecological, health, economic and social benefits.

The greatest challenge, especially for an outdoor summer event, is avoiding the modern plague of throwaway bottled water. Yet the Caribfest organizers are forgoing some lucrative sponsorship opportunities and doing what they can to encourage people to use refillable bottles and our own Barrie tap water, which meets the highest quality standards in the world. They are also asking food vendors to consider locally-sourcing their ingredients in future.

I am happy to say that Living Green is extremely impressed with the commitment of the Caribfest committee to reducing their ecological footprint. If you want to support this kind of approach, your first chance is this Saturday, July 10. Boarding the Serendipity Princess at 8:30 pm is the 6th annual Caribbean Dinner & Dance Cruise. An exclusive evening of food, music, costume and dance awaits. Tickets are limited, so visit Ticketbreak.ca or the Roti Jerk at 69 Dunlop West to get yours soon!
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is an educator, father, volunteer, and politician.


TriniRose said...

Hey, Kara!

what your email or how to I send you the pic that I have of us from Saturday?

Anyhow,I never been to Barrie so my question is that I as read that there was traffic going up to Barrie, what the best time to leave then? And it is best to park @ the end(Lakeshore dr.) right?

And for the performances, we have to pay or it free for masqueraders. It will it be more at the gate to pay( I dont mind paying money to see Bunji, Fayann & Sparrow) They put on great show anyway. Thanks, see you soon.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I won't make it Barrie this time, hopefully next year I can.

Trini-in-Toronto said...

The email is Karabana01@yahoo.ca

And everyone including masqueraders has to pay to enter the main stage area.
Under normal conditions its only supposed to take about an hour once you leave from 400 and 401, but I would at least double that time for a Saturday morning in the summer. Some people have suggested going up hwy 10, but I really have no experience with that. Leave at least an hour and a half more time than mapquest says, if you reach early you could lime by the beach and take drink. I would park on Lakeshore and walk to the beginning of the route.

Anonymous said...

The littering from caribfest was the worst I have ever seen in Barrie. Did we not have garbage cans... disgusting

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