Mariposa Folk Festival Works Towards a Sustainable Future

“Uh-oh”, said one attendee as she saw her Global Footprint result at the Mariposa Folk Festival’s Sustainable Orillia booth. “Really? My current lifestyle needs four Earths to support it? That’s disappointing. I’ve got to do better than that!”

Sustainable Orillia was inviting visitors to complete a quick on-line survey to calculate their “global footprint”, which told them their “overshoot day” (the date in the year when they have used up their fair share of the world’s resources), and the number of “Earths” their lifestyle would require to maintain their current lifestyle.

Thirty-two overshoot days were posted at the booth ranging from February 19th (7.2 Earths) to August 13th. Most of the posted overshoot days were in late March and early April, followed by others across May, June, July and into August.

To calculate your own footprint, go to:

Overshoot Day 2022 for all of us on the Earth lands on July 28. “For the rest of the year,” says the Global Footprint Network website, “we are maintaining our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

Many visitors to the Sustainable Orillia booth at the festival were surprised to see that their global footprint was so high, and to realize that they would need to cut it in half, or even more. Canada’s natural ecosystem sequestration means that as a nation, if we change our lifestyles and take advantage of nature’s services, we can ultimately live within our limits.

The Sustainable Orillia booth also included a 100-watt folding solar panel – the size of a thin briefcase – along with a small handheld battery pack sufficient to power a camping van with lights and a small fridge. The mini-solar system is what Kelly Ann Wright, PhD student at University of Waterloo, and her partner Yann, used on a recent road trip around the continent. Festival goers were invited to use it to charge up their phones.

Earlier this year, the Mariposa Folk Foundation invited Sustainable Orillia to help them reduce the festival’s carbon footprint over the long term. The festival is already an award-winner among summer festivals for its significant progress, particularly by diverting waste from landfill.

An inventory of other desired “greening” activities will follow, such as benchmarking hydro and petrol consumption for the duration of the festival (including set-up and take-down). The next step will be to devise a plan to make substantial reductions.

Five key areas are said to be defining our planet’s long-term trends, all of which are shaped by our individual and collective choices: Energy – how we power ourselves; Cities – how we design and manage our cities; Food – how we feed ourselves; Population – how many of us there are; and Planet – how we help nature survive.

“It’s a work in progress“, said Susanne Laperle, member of the Sustainable Orillia board of directors. “The Mariposa Folk Festival is already a leader among festivals seeking to make their events more planet-friendly. Sustainable Orillia is very happy to work with the Mariposa Folk Festival in their pursuit of becoming even more “green”.

“Our planet is finite, but human possibilities are not,” said Laperle. “The transformation to a sustainable, carbon-neutral world will succeed when we all make the effort – using technology, creativity and collaboration – to make ‘Overshoot Day’ a thing of the past.

Hats off to the Mariposa Folk Foundation for prioritizing sustainability and for their leadership in continuing to search out ways to make this wonderful music festival better and greener each year.

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