Music Festivals Seek Greener Footprint

29 June 2024, United Kingdom, Somerset: The crowd watching Coldplay performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm in Somerset. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire/dpa
29 June 2024, United Kingdom, Somerset: The crowd watching Coldplay performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm in Somerset. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire/dpa
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Music Festivals Seek Greener Footprint

29 June 2024, United Kingdom, Somerset: The crowd watching Coldplay performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm in Somerset. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire/dpa
29 June 2024, United Kingdom, Somerset: The crowd watching Coldplay performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm in Somerset. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire/dpa

Three planes, 270 tons of equipment, 800 square meters of stage: the figures from Madonna's massive free concert in Rio in May sounded like they came from another age.

These days, megastars are usually keener to claim a smaller footprint.

Coldplay, who just headlined Glastonbury Festival in Britain, recently announced they had cut carbon emissions on their world tour by 59-percent compared with their last tour in 2016-17.

They have taken innovative steps including solar panels and even a special dance floor that generates electricity from the movement of the audience, Agence France Presse reported.

Critics point out they are still flying around on planes, and there was particularly opprobrium in 2022 when they announced a partnership with Finnish oil giant Neste.

Though Neste promised to help them use sustainable biofuels, the Transport and Environment campaign group said Coldplay were being used by the oil firm as "useful idiots for greenwashing".

Though the overall impact is hard to measure, one study by University of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute in 2010 estimated that Britain's industry alone generated 540,000 tons of carbon emissions annually.

Climate group Clean Scene found that the top 1,000 DJs took 51,000 flights in 2019, equivalent to 35,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

Climate commitments

As a result, all the big festivals now have climate pledges and initiatives, from composting and car-pooling schemes at Coachella in California to renewable energy usage at Glastonbury.

One festival that has taken a lead is We Love Green in Paris, as the name suggests.

Some 110,000 festival-goers attended last month's event to see artists including Sza, who travelled with "almost no equipment" according to Marianne Hocquard, the festival's head of sustainable development.

She said that was down to the festival ensuring they have much of the equipment needed by its artists, and setting energy caps for performances.

Others have taken radical steps: the Bon Air festival in Marseille canceled DJ I Hate Models this year after learning that he was coming by private jet.

Many events now encourage their attendees to take greener modes of transport.

We Love Green launched a partnership with the French Cycling Federation to organize convoys of bikes for this year's edition, and said 14 percent of ticket-holders came on two wheels despite the dodgy weather, up from eight percent last year.

But there is a limit to how much can be done.

When Taylor Swift played Paris in May, the city mayor's office said there was a surge in arrivals of private jets at local airports.

Private jet operators have been jumping on entertainment events such as festivals or the Euro 2024 football tournament to boost their business.

There was little about the climate in a recent press release by private jet operator KlasJet, which said: "When you're traveling to an amazing event like Euro 2024, the last thing you want is for your experience to be ruined by a delayed flight."



Moonlit Scramble across the Sand for Türkiye Booming Baby Turtle Population

Baby loggerhead sea turtles' first challenge in life is a wobbly dash across the sand. KEMAL ASLAN / AFP
Baby loggerhead sea turtles' first challenge in life is a wobbly dash across the sand. KEMAL ASLAN / AFP
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Moonlit Scramble across the Sand for Türkiye Booming Baby Turtle Population

Baby loggerhead sea turtles' first challenge in life is a wobbly dash across the sand. KEMAL ASLAN / AFP
Baby loggerhead sea turtles' first challenge in life is a wobbly dash across the sand. KEMAL ASLAN / AFP

The baby loggerhead sea turtles emerged from their eggshells and began their first challenge in life: a wobbly dash across the sand to the moonlit waters of Türkiye’s Mediterranean coast -- sometimes with a helping hand from volunteers.
It is a perilous journey into the unknown for the sea turtles as only about one in 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood.
Some 25 years later, the females will return to the beach where they were born to lay their own eggs.
Despite grave threats from humans and predators such as birds, crabs and ants, protection measures are bearing fruit on Türkiye's southern coast.
In Manavgat, a tourist hotspot nestled in the foothills of mountains and prized for its golden sands and stunning waterfall, the number of nests has doubled from last year to 700.
A group of volunteers holds vigil around the clock along the 10-kilometer (six-mile) coastline, located east of the local tourism capital of Antalya.
It is a major breeding area for the globally endangered loggerheads -- also known as caretta caretta -- which are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) red list of threatened species.
"Our average estimate this year is around 60,000 eggs; 30,000 of them will become babies; only 30 of them will come back years later" to breed, Seher Akyol, founding president of DEKAFOK marine conservation center, told AFP.
Red lights
Türkiye's southern coast is home to 21 official nesting areas -- eight of them in Antalya alone.
Protection measures have been put in place such as limiting the use of light and the speed of sea vessels.
Many beaches are declared protected areas and are off-limits from 8 pm to 8 am.
Manavgat, though, is not one of them, so volunteers have taken on the task of protecting the breeding nests.
Akyol's volunteers, including young students from all over Türkiye and abroad, mark the nests, framing them with sticks and keeping the eggs protected from sunbathers.
At night, they patrol beaches, dig in nests with their bare hands and, donning white gloves, help baby turtles break from their shells and crawl to the sea.
Local officials also support volunteer initiatives.
Manavgat's mayor, Niyazi Nefi Kara, has placed red lights on roadsides along the coast. Signs that read "Attention! Caretta Nesting Area" dot the beach.
Under the environment law, anyone who damages sea turtles and their nests can be fined 387,141 liras ($11,700).
Kara said his office takes advice from "scientists and environmentalists" on protecting the turtles.
"After all, we need to learn how to live in harmony with nature," he said.
Akyol added that "people and caretta caretta can live together".
Songul Sert, 33, who was picnicking with her family around a wooden table near the beach, said "we do our best so as not to usurp their living space" with help from the signs.
Another local, Hasan Gulec, said that previously a lack of signs meant that "nobody knew where they were breeding, so anyone could walk on nests".
However, an AFP team saw some hotels along the beach still using the bright white lights that anger environmentalists.
-Climate change-
Loggerheads, whose overall numbers are unknown, can live for up to 80 years. Their weight ranges from 90-180 kilograms (200-400 pounds) and they can reach 1.2 meters (four feet) in length.
The small percentage of hatchlings that return to the beach to breed is why "they are endangered and need to be protected," Professor Mehmet Cengiz Deval of Akdeniz University's faculty of fisheries told AFP.
Loggerhead sea turtles are found primarily in subtropical and temperate regions of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, and in the Mediterranean Sea.
According to IUCN, the Mediterranean loggerhead is considered of "least concern", though the species remains vulnerable globally.
Climate change is also a factor that threatens the species.
The sex of hatchlings is determined by the temperature of the sand: cooler temperatures produce males and warmer ones produce females.
High temperatures from July onwards means that "most of the babies are females," Deval said.
"If this trend continues, in 30-40 years females will be the majority and there will be no male partners for them to breed. This is the biggest danger."
Akyol, who dreams of building a rehabilitation center to treat injured turtles, cannot hide her excitement each time she sends them off to the water.
"I cannot forget their last look before meeting with the water," she said. "It's as if they show how grateful they are."