This is the eco-policy for Electronic Music Alliance which is a part of the holistic environmental nonprofit, Green Wave. To find out why you should create an eco-policy, you can visit our article here.
We started with "green beginnings". The logo is directly inspired by the 1970's ecology flag. So embedded in our symbolism and company logo, is a commitment to ecology. From 2010 to 2014, EMA was run from "The Strawberry House", a mid-century modern in Los Angeles. The house, being old, would have been hundreds of thousands of dollars to retrofit to convert it into a "zero-energy" home. Instead, eco-mindful policies were adopted in the household and for the business including 70 solar panels which were installed. During this time composting was adopted in the home-office mostly vegetarian food options, and business supply sourcing was through green companies such as EcoPaper. Many of the same practices that will be covered below were started at The Strawberry House. In 2014 during a transition phase, the EMA office moved to a high rise home-office in the arts district of North Hollywood. It was in "NoHo" where the office started an urban garden on the patio balcony which would foreshadow the next big step... a move to Costa Rica to build an eco show-home-office and community inspiration center. Today, EMA is run from "The Green Wave House", located in the future eco-village of Rancho Delicioso.
Why bother with a h:storical snapshot of our main office? Because stories can inspire.
(*H:Story - an intentional choice that is somewhere between History and Herstory)
INSPIRATION AND ADVOCACY
Information we post is to inspire our community, not force, into action.
We encourage all members of our organization to read what we stand for, and unless it is a mandatory consideration for membership, we expect members to only implement what they can. This is done through blog posts, programs, and campaigns shared through newsletters and social media posts. We try to encourage our community to continually push themselves to lead more ecologically harmonious personal, artistic, and business lives.
Electronic Music Alliance is a member of the American Sustainable Business Council which is an organization that advocates for environmental laws. EMA also banks with Amalgamated Bank (a socially responsible bank) that implements their own environmental initiatives, supports environmental and social cause organizations, and supports advocacy organizations with similar values.
EMA office is run on 100% solar power during the summer. While a large percentage of the power is obtained from solar during the rainy season, new numbers will be released after the 2019 season as 4 more panels were added to the solar carport earlier this year to increase efficiency. The office is tied into the grid to help bring power on heavily clouded days during the rainy season (May - October). The solar panels used were integrated panels for both efficiency and minimization of waste. There are two vehicles that are used. One is run on waste vegetable oil while the other is charged and runs on solar electricity.
NO FOSSIL FUELS
There are no fossil fuels burned at The Green Wave house-office. All appliances are run on (solar) electricity as well as all landscaping tools (vs. gas powered).
ENERGY CONSERVATION STRATEGIES
There is mindfulness around turning off lights in rooms when they are not being used. Luckily, some of the lights are motion sensored to help with this effort. The building is a "smart-home" and run on "Lutron". This enables lights and A/C's that are accidentally turned on to be turned off remotely. The office was designed for optimal natural lighting with lots of glass. The glass is double-paned for energy efficiency should the glass doors be closed to run A/C. Although the office has A/C, only the backroom is air conditioned all the time to preserve electronics and clothing storage as humidity levels tend to mold natural materials and quickly erode electronics. Part of eco-mindful living practices is to extend the lifespan of the products already owned to avoid unnecessary repurchasing and waste creation.
Very little goes into the actual waste (aka landfill) bin. The office-home strives for zero waste. There are four bins inside of the building. These are to separate landfill, compost, recycling, and ecobricking materials.
The main goal with waste management at the office-home is to minimize landfill. There is a mindful acquisition strategy when buying any kind of product for the home-office whereby an attempt is made to ensure that the packaging can be composted, recycled, or ecobricked. Because the recycling bin is double the size of the trash bin, occasionally visitors will assume wrong (although the bins are labeled) and throw their "trash" into the recycling bin. If caught, we are quick to kindly educate our guests about our waste management strategy (with great joy because we love spreading education, awareness, and inspiring solutions).
All food scraps are composted unless (such as with citrus peels or seeds) the scrap should not be and it is tossed in strategic locations outside to decompose naturally. Inside the home-office are small compost bin containers. When they are full, the contents are transferred to the two large compost bins outside where they are mixed with landscaping cuttings, dried leaves, and turned to create future soil for the nursery or gardens.
Recycling has been brought to local municipalities and the Futuro Verde school in the past. Plans are to support the new recycling plant that support the Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeepers. Recycling from this plant is being sorted to make useful products. Most hard plastics can now be recycled in our local area in addition to glass and metals. However, neither in our local area nor in the country, have we been able to find electronics waste (ewaste) recycling. When we were located in Los Angeles, ewaste recycligng was much easier and we held collection events for our local community. Some electronics have been brought back to recycling stations in States on visits home. Other objects are either used as, or being stored for, art projects. Currently, we have an old phone that is being used in "Lugar de John", the toilet-mediation garden. Similarly, many leftover construction materials have been used for art including leftover tile that was used as pathway features in both the culinary herb and medicinal gardens. Additionally leftover pipes and an old shower piece are featured in another small trash-art installation.
The ecobrick methodology employed at the EMA office is that of collecting empty soda bottles and also non-recyclable plastics (typically that package items such as food). Soda is something very rarely bought so the bottles used are typically found or donated by friends. The bottles are then stuffed with the thin plastics until the bottles are hard enough to be stepped on without compressing. These bottles are then usable for building purposes such as wall filler, insulation, or for modular furniture. Thus far, a shoe rack, meditation seat, and stool have been made from the office ecobricking endeavor.
Part of water management is education. Office-home employees have received verbal training and are reminded to be mindful of their water usage. This includes being watchful in the rainy season of areas that collect water so we avoid a mosquito problem for this property and our neighbors (which could lead to pesticide usage).
PLANNING and CONSERVATION
Consideration for water conservation is part of the overall mindfulness designed into the office-home. A grey water system allows all water from the sinks and shower to water a garden. Water filtering plants were planted to help filter the water before it reaches other plants. Conservation habits inlcude: laundry not being run for small loads, using the dishwasher, and taking short showers.
For the land, a major accomplishment at the end of 2018 was installing a drip irrigation system. Water catchement, at this time, is not a viable option.
The office is a floating design, the floor being elevated from the ground, which reduces exposure to insects and thus product waste created from potential insect intervention strategies. Costa Rica has amazing bio-diversity. Although we have found natural ways to deal with excessive problems, we try to maintain an eco-harmonious attitude and first make an attempt to simply "let it be". Additionally, plants that deter pests have been strategically planted around the property to help manage insects naturally.
The selection of "green", non-toxic, or low-level toxic products are not as plentiful as in more developed countries. However, Costa Rica is eco-conscious and products can be found at specialty stores. The office chooses to purchase these eco-friendly products for cleaning and also employ the use of natural DIY cleaning solutions. The main cleaning agents used are a vinegar-water mix for general cleaning, and baking soda for daily bathroom cleaning. Special biodegradable products are purchased mainly for soaps and more heavy duty cleaning that takes place less often.
Wellness is considered from a holistic viewpoint. The office was intended as a work-living inspirational project to serve as a model for more eco-harmonious living. The office is open for educational tours, by appointment, to the public. The office-home grows organic plants for both food and medicine. Medicinal plants are then harvested, dried, and displayed on (the recycled tetra-pak) shelves. This reminds us to make and share medicine. Employees are always offered plant medicine remedies for ailments or sickness and encouraged to eat healthy and drink plenty of water for preventative health purposes. We believe that we offer our employees a safer work environment since they are not exposed to harsh chemicals. When necessary, we have reminded our workers about hearing health and provided earplugs.
PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE THROUGH FOOD CHOICE AWARENESS
We recommend, on an organizational level, that everyone adopts a policy of eating less meat for personal and planetary health, eat organically grown greens, and do their own research into eating the best and most balanced diet tailored to individual needs. In the past we have run a "Healthy Ravers Rave Longer" campaign on social media to encourage our greater network and electronic music community to do the same. EMA helped "green" the entertainment rider for The Crystal Method in 2009 for both DJ and Live Shows and has spoken about greening entertainment riders at conferences. This service of providing better food and beverage options, as well providing insight on how to reduce environmental footprint, is a service EMA can assist with. Please contact us if you are an agent, manager, or artist interested in this free "green rider" service.
Since our culture revolves around music, EMA has always been concerned about the hearing health of our community. Hearing health awareness and education has been presented on past websites, newsletters, social media and blog posts, and direct conversations with our network partners.
Safety has generally been encouraged in the same way as hearing health. Some of our blog posts concerning safety: 10 Quick Tips for Event Organizers to throw Safer Events, Safety and Our Scene, Be Prepared Before You Festival, and What Information Should be on the Health and Safety Page.
These posts include information around many subjects including consent. Currently, EMA is participating in live event safety standard writing with a project run by Event Safety Alliance (ESA) and through Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA).
Holistic living has to do with sound body, mind, and spirit. We believe that living in greater connection with Nature helps us feel more mentally stable. Even while living in cities, to take part in the taking care of our planet often feels good. The choices made to benefit Earth (i.e. less toxins through food, products, and unncessary packaging) tend to benefit us as well. As mental wellness has been a growing concern of late, EMA will address this in a separate post. For artists, greening the entertainment rider is a way to infuse both nutritional and community health into your life.
Regeneration is the idea that we should not just mitigate environmental damage but restore or make our living environments better than they were before. At EMA office, The Green Wave House, we do this through the implemention of permacultural principles in all matters that require design (including, of course, land use for farming). The land that the office is on is cow pasture land that was once forested pre-1950. Through the land use, which includes a food forest, we are literally restoring the forest by re-planting trees and plant guilds that mimic forest design. This technique is beneficial to both human and animal life. Regeneration, the healing the land and soil, is accomplished through the planting of nitrogen-fixing plants, while some trees that lose their leaves are planted during the summer "mulch" is created to build the soil back up. Other plants are used to shade, thus protect, areas of soil from the scorching summer sun, allowing the soil to help rebuild and regenerate itself.
PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION STRATEGIES
There is an open dialogue and commitment at the office to keep exploring ideas and solutions that will continue to minimize our footprint. Conversations are had daily to express new ideas or share experiences to improve upon our current methods.
Through Green Wave, office adminstrators, Ken and Janine Jordan are highly involved in the surrounding community. They support both personally and through the organization a local school, Futuro Verde, Wild Sun wildlife rescue center, the Karen Mogensen Reserve (of Jicaral), and Una Limpia Playa Hermosa beach cleanup organization. Additionally, they support other organization's by showing up for environmental initiative events (beach and river cleanups) as well as fundraisers. Recently, Janine has also started organizing eco-networking events currently under the moniker "green drinks" and hosted a trash-art workshop for kids to create "fairy houses" out of old plastic jugs.
The work of EMA is to inspire the global electronic dance music community to protect our people, our planet and our parties. EMA does this through the website, our social media and blog posts, and newsletters. EMA likes to highlight members we feel will be of inspiration to others, and create programs that may create waves of change.
EMA consults partners on both eco and safety strategies for events. Although we do not hold many of our own events, when we do we run through similar parameters as this encompassing eco-policy.