In 2017, Mountainfilm’s symposium will address climate change with the theme The New Normal. Unlike typical years, however, this theme will go beyond the day-long symposium. The New Normal is a broad initiative that will suffuse the festival, alter Mountainfilm’s in-house operations and challenge us to effect positive change in our own community.
We chose The New Normal theme because climate change is the most critical issue of our time. With climate change, points out festival director David Holbrooke, “What we do today will have an enormous impact on the future.” In simple terms, we want to lower our impact and hope that other individuals, festivals and businesses, in our community and beyond, will also be inspired to make a difference.
As part of the in-house piece, we decided to examine Mountainfilm’s current carbon footprint. In the past, we’ve made strides to reduce the impact of our annual festival in Telluride: We’ve recycled and composted (so much so that the festival generated only three bags of trash in 2016!), encouraged attendees to bring their own tableware and cups to festival-sponsored events and, in 2015, we started serving vegetarian fare at Mountainfilm gatherings.
And now we’ve added a new layer. We’re legitimately green, newly endorsed by EcoAction Partners as a “Certified Green Business.” EcoAction Partners, which works with the Telluride community to reduce waste, increase local food supply and encourage other sustainable practices. As part of the certification process, EcoAction helped us identify areas for further improvement, such as purchasing food for the festival from within a 100-mile radius and donating leftovers to a local food bank. We’ll also encourage out-of-town attendees to purchase carbon offsets for travel, offset the travel of our own special guests and staff, offer discounts on beverages in the theaters when people provide their own reusable cups and eliminate one-use paper tickets. These adaptations, and others, will add up to make a difference.
Sage Martin, executive director of Mountainfilm, describes how the 2017 theme galvanized staff to look closely at Mountainfilm’s own operations: “Mountainfilm is dedicated to reducing carbon in Telluride, and we feel our first responsibility is to start within our own organization. We hope to inspire other local businesses to pursue their green certification, as well."
Ultimately, we’re shooting for a ripple effect that will continue into our audience and back to their communities all over the world. EcoAction Partners called Mountainfilm “one of Telluride’s most sustainable festivals.” This is our New Normal, and we invite you to help shape it.