Friday, July 15, 2011

Interview: Harry Moran from Gathering of the Vibes

Harry Moran is the Sustainability & Outreach Director for the Gathering of the Vibes. He's responsible for designing, implementing and monitoring all onsite greening programs as well as ongoing Vibe Tribe eco-awareness efforts. Additionally, Harry oversees the Sustainability Village, which showcases 15 non-profit organizations involved with critical environmental, community and social action initiatives.The newly expanded series of Green Vibes workshops are the cornerstone of onsite efforts to share useful and actionable information on a range of sustainability-themed topics.Harry is also responsible for overseeing the event's community outreach efforts, including various fundraising efforts for community organizations. The annual Terrapin Foundation Food Drive continues to be a key part of the event's outreach work and hopes to collect over 10,000 pounds of food from attendees to re-stock Bridgeport-area food pantries.

HH- I love that Gathering of the Vibes has been and is continuing to go green. Let's go step by step and discuss the challenges and triumphs that go along with all aspects of a festival that is going green! Last time we spoke we talked a lot about solar power and the pros and cons of that when powering a stage. Now that it's two years later what has the best way been and what are you doing now?

Harry- In terms of solar power we are still being challenged by the limitations and the financial realities of it. There are very few solar stage options out there that can provide the level of power that we need to power a world class stage so we don't have very many options. We are still working on finding something that makes sense for that. What we typically do is we are run power off of generators which are large scale commercial ones. The power has to be clean and stable because of the expensive sound equiptment we use otherwise it's dangerous.

HH- If you did it in a way that was all solar and the sound came in and out the fans would be upset.

Harry- Yes. Also we have big bands under contract that expect that their sound will work flawlessly so we have to make sure that happens.

HH- It sounds like something that not only Vibes is working on for the future but the solar power providers too. They need to make solar power more accessible so makes sense financially and environmentally.

Harry- Exactly. It's on-going and we are constantly exploring options.

HH- What are the ways you offset Gathering of the Vibes' carbon footprint?

Harry- Last year we had an offset program in place where we actually received a donation of renuable energy credits that offset all of our onsite electric usage from our generators and grid power. There are others aspects to our footprint like people's transportation.

HH- Yes speaking about that, this year my husband and I decided to cut down our carbon footprint a little by traveling to Vibes with Gary on the Solar Bus. Are you making it easy for other people to find rides to the festival?

Harry- We have a lot of ride sharing posts on our message boards which make it very easy for people to find rides. Another big thing we do is to encourage people to use public transportation. We are near bus, train and ferry stops so we have quiet a few people come from NYC and Long Island.

HH- I saw that there was a late night bus that goes to NYC each night after the show.

Harry- Yes. We want it to be the easiest way possible for people to come to the festival without bringing individual vehicles. It is not only good for the environment, but parking 25,000 cars is not really doable. People need to get creative and figure out ways to travel together and I feel that every year there is more and more ride sharing.

HH- Everyone wins!!! Next...let's talk composting. Last year I saw that it was required of the vendors to have compostable cups, plates and utensils. I heard that is not the case this year. Could you explain to me why.

Harry- Yes. This is a great way to examine the pros and cons of what we deal with. With the compostable cups, plates and utensils from last year, we gathered a tremendous amount of compost which we shipped to a farm. One of the problems we ran into was we had to find a farm big enough to accept this amount of compostable material. We had to go with a farm that was really far away from the event and truck it there. We know that composting is so important, but we took away the benefit by trucking it so far away. We couldn't find a local farm big enough for our volume so at this point we put the composting side of the program on hold. We added more stipulations to our recycling program like switching over to recyclable cups that are made from recycled materials. We are continueing to do the same things we have done in the past with Clean Vibes like gathering all the plastic and aluminum recycling.

HH- I love how Vibes isn't worried about looking green, but actually being green and doing what is best.

Harry- When you look under the surface it gets more complicated. It's like buying organic food from California or local food that may not be certified organic. The local option is usually better. We are really trying. We look at the actual impact on what we do.
HH- This year my husband and I are speaking on "Living the Good Life" between bands on the Green Vibes stage. Can you tell me why you decided to do this, what speakers you are looking forward to and what topics they will be speaking on.

Harry- One of the things we are most proud of are the Green Vibes workshops which are running on the speaker platform next to the Green Vibes stage Friday-Sunday. We have an amazing range of speakers and we're covering everything from local and sustainable food to health and nutrition to campus sustainability. One thing we added to the mix is our first speaker on Friday morning is going to be speaking about lyme disease and hepatitis c. We also have a kids and teens program where a group of the kids will come over from the kid's tent and teen scene and share what they have been working on. Another talk we are very excited about is by the Rex Foundation on Saturday called "The World as it May Be" which is a celebration of the universal decloration of human rights hosted by David Gans. We also have a talk about the future of green cars and alternative transportation by Jim Motavalie who is a contributor to the NY Times, author and radio host. He is a world class authority on this topic and we are so fortunate to have him with us. There is also a talk about the Saving the Sound which is a topic near and dear to our hearts since the Vibes takes place on the Long Island Sound. We will be having a green building workshop too so people can learn how to green their home. It's going to be a lot of fun and everyone is so excited to speak and it's all such important work.
HH- Thank you so much! This was so informative and it is getting me even more excited to go to Vibes this year!!

Harry- See you there.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Experiencing Wanderlust by Casey and Journey

The HH Crew traveled to Stratton Mountain Resort in Bondsville, VT to experience Wanderlust Vermont and what an experience it was. Casey Webster and Suzanne Journey Blain went along for the ride of a lifetime and here is what they thought of the fantastic Wanderlust Festival.

Casey Webster's Story

For me, Wanderlust was an experience that started before the actual experience. I saw a poster for it months ago and proclaimed "This is where I want to be in June!" This was a crazy idea, seeing how I had just moved into an apartment that was a bit beyond my means and was in the midst of launching a new business that required a great deal of my time. However, I have been focusing my attention on manifesting the experience that I desire and trusting that things happen as they should. Just a week before the show, a friend (Taraleigh of HH Magazine) asked me to be her "date" for the event! Woooohoooo!!! Mission accomplished! Then, after all was arranged, I had car trouble. Once again, I was challenged to create the experience that I desired. In an uncharacteristically cool way, I decided to admit that I couldn't drive and open to the possibilities of getting there some other way. I'm SO glad that I did!

I could probably recount each minute of the entire weekend, complete with delicious menus, inspiring class titles and pauses for either introspection or full bellied laughter, but instead, I will just tell you what Wanderlust did for me. It renewed my spirit...and my faith in the human spirit. Each day I was challenged to step out of my comfort zone and release both my judgment and my inhibitions- whether by burlesque dancers, unusually direct and down to earth yoga instructors or my own willingness to show up in the world a little different...a little more real and down to earth kind of way. Being surrounded by great people is not a new experience for me; I am blessed to share my earthwalk with amazing friends. Even still, being surrounded by an almost overwhelming amount of conscious, beautiful people sharing in a similar intention - evolving- was both inspiring and profound. I shed tears of joy each day...several times a day. Wanderlust has a very special place in my heart. I have already proclaimed that "this is where I want to be again next year." I trust that it will be so, and it will be great!

Suzanne Journey Blain's Story

It’s rare for many of us to take a minute – let alone a whole day or weekend – to “check in” with our bodies, minds, long term goals, passions etc. and to be real with ourselves. Wanderlust was an expensive walk into utter relaxation and refreshment for the body and soul. East coast yogis and yoginis came together with a sense of family and connectedness. It’s quite an anomaly to be treated with respect and gentleness by complete strangers in this busy world of non-stop work and to-do lists.

The teachers were continual students who seemed to blend and switch roles often. The attendees were very self-aware and seemingly came from upper and middle class incomes and backgrounds. Good intentions despite privilege were easily sensed and one could find non-profits being supported in intentional buying and eating choices all around.

It was fun to find out that my local teachers are on par in skill and knowledge as many of the “name brand” yoga teachers. But it was also apparent as to why some of these teachers have become nationally and internationally popular. No matter the class –power yoga, vinyasa, or meditation, the teachers were
    • very real and down to earth; their teachings were grounded in scientific fact and traditional knowledge.

      Joy and high vibrations exuded from the classes and music. People danced and celebrated and giggled. They pushed their yoga practices into new unexplored places and left feeling revived, refreshed, and ready to rededicate their daily lives to positive change and heightened awareness of body and intention - overall a very worthwhile investment!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Electric Forest-Day 2

Day 2 of Electric Forest was an amazing day. We started it off with a playful trip to the Gold Rush Waterpark. Got a nice hot shower and headed back to the festival grounds via the free shuttle. Highlights musically ranged from "That 1 Guy", Lettuce, Shpongle and of course two killer sets of String Cheese Incident. I will be posting photos when I get home. Had a little snafu with my lab top and we'll just say it isn't usable at the moment. Stay tuned for more photo updates from HH magazine from Electric Forest. Happy Fourth of July from us here in Michigan!
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Friday, July 1, 2011

Electric Forest- Day One

After traveling 17 hours and covering almost 1700 miles, the HH magazine crew arrived at Electric Forest. We were greeted by severe thunderstorms, heavy rain, and an electrifying lightning display that danced across the sky as we approached our final destination. As the storm settled and camp was set we plunged into the extraordinary visuals and sounds that are the Electric Forest.

The next morning greeted us, yet again, with severe thunderstorms and heavy rain. As the afternoon approached and the weather lifted, our first full day of Electric Forest began with much anticipation.