SBIFF ‘09: Green and Getting Greener

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival Gets Environmentally Conscious

Santa Barbara keeps its position at the forefront of the environmental movement this month while it hosts the 24th annual S.B. International Film Festival. The festival planners have included in the 2009 event an extensive campaign to properly dispose of all event waste in the greenest way possible.

This is thanks to Greenproject Consultants, a company born in Santa Barbara as an eco-friendly building outfit. Greenproject has been gaining success and notoriety in the field of waste disposal, and spokesperson Alelia Parenteau says they were thrilled to work with the festival. “Events and venues,” says Parenteau, “are the second greatest producer of waste, according the Environmental Protection Agency.” Events clock in just after commercial production, making the waste they produce a serious problem.

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So this year, Greenproject has outfitted all of the festival events with large colorful stations where bins are marked “recycle,” “compost,” and “landfill.” The latter is added to raise awareness, said Parenteau. “You throw trash away, and it disappears,” she explained. “There’s no responsibility involved.” Since we tend not to worry about what we can’t see-but the reality is that nothing can be safely decomposed at the dump, according to Parenteau-the word “landfill” should serve as a reminder not to just throw everything away. Packed in heaps without proper oxygen ventilation, even safely biodegradable compounds will overproduce methane, a pollutant 70 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

So why, suddenly, do we want to go green? The best reason to go green, according to Greenproject, can be summed up with the phrase “finite resources.” We are not suddenly pretending to care about the environment, rather we are beginning to realize how much there is to worry about.

To spread this perspective, Greenproject representatives are present at all Film Fest events to manage waste, but more importantly, to answer questions. “It becomes a classroom for adults,” said Parenteau, “and the best part is, the crowd is already assembled. After all, our best advertisement is viral.”

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