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The World’s Festival goes offshore in commitment to carbon neutrality

This year, Greening Australia’s commitment to offset 100% of WOMADelaide’s carbon emissions is being bolstered by investment in an solar power plant in Gujarat, India.

Set in Adelaide’s Botanic Park, WOMADelaide is an iconic arts festival that runs over four days from 8-11 March. With lauded music, art, interactive workshops and expert keynotes, the event attracts attendees from across Australia and beyond.

But with any large scale event comes the need for environmental consideration. So, for the past thirteen years, Greening Australia and WOMADelaide have been working together to offset the festival’s carbon emissions through tree planting programs in regional South Australia and have now invested in an offshore power plant in Gujurat, India.

“We are continuously pursuing new and innovative ways to minimise the environmental impact of staging the event, and the Gujarat solar plant is the next evolution in our multi-faceted initiative” says WOMADelaide Director Ian Scobie. “Internally, this includes our commitment to divert 98% of all waste away from landfill, and to invest $2 from every WOMADelaide ticket sold into biodiverse tree planting near Nepean Bay, Kangaroo Island”.

“Every year, we track, monitor and record all data on the festival’s emissions and are thrilled to report that we have already offset more than 19,836 tonnes of carbon emissions to date.”

But as the festival grows, there is always more that can be done to offset its impact. Dr Tim Moore, Greening Australia’s Director of Carbon, says that the festival’s net footprint will now significantly decrease in 2019, with the innovative offshore investment.

“We will continue to offset carbon emissions with a 15 Megawatt offshore solar plant in Gujurat, India. The project which will help pour WOMADelaide resources back into the health of the planet and contribute resounding environmental, social and economic benefits to the local community.

“Although far from home, the renewable energy setup will enable Gujarat locals to generate electricity without burning coal and reduce reliance on grid-derived electricity. Solar energy is taking an increasingly prominent role in driving sustainable efforts around the world and, as a global festival, we are truly looking forward to being part of a movement that is producing positive outcomes for the environment both in Australia and abroad.”

By the end of 2019, over 75,000 native trees and shrubs will have been planted in WOMADelaide forests on the Mt Lofty Ranges and Kangaroo Island, and 21,650 tonnes of carbon dioxide will be removed from the atmosphere as the forest matures. At the same time, these plantings will help improve biodiversity in the region, providing vital habitat and nesting opportunities for native animals, such as the KI region’s threatened Glossy Black-cockatoo.

In addition, the flourishing forest provides other valuable benefits for local communities, such as improving water quality, aiding pollination of crops, reducing soil erosion, and helping to regulate the local climate.

For more information about the WOMADelaide forest: www.greeningaustralia.org.au/projects/womadelaide-forest/