After all the policy-wonkery this week, we want your weekend to start with a smile. We can’t think of a better way than with this article from Pauline Loyoza.
Salsa and sustainability – what’s the link? Solar Salsa, an eco-dance collective, thinks they are exquisitely linked. “Salsa dancing keeps you fit and makes you feel great – it sustains every aspect of your being. If the sound we dance to is powered sustainably then presto we have 100% happiness for us and the planet.” says Pauline, Solar Salsa instructor.
Last year we ran a dance weekend special that we imaginatively and mancunianly called ‘Ecoweekenda’. We attempted zero emissions, zero waste but max on the ‘happy’ energy scale. Like any regular salsa event, we had top class teachers, shows and parties but, in great contrast to those regular events, our aim was to minimise all impacts on the Earth – the only planet with salsa on it!
A combination of wind, solar and pedal power fuelled the sound systems; food was locally sourced and shared; tap water only quenched the dancers’ thirst; dance clothes and shoes were ‘swapped and shopped’ and, as far as possible, natural lighting was used. We attempted to minimise transport emissions to and from the event by providing public transport information and facilitating car sharing.
Of course there are many green events that will greatly exceed our achievement in terms of ‘eco-spectacularbility’. What we were attempting was an alternative version of a type of event that takes place every weekend in the UK at great carbon cost. And that’s not because the providers of those events are mean or uncaring, they just aren’t aware (as so many aren’t thanks to generalised media denial) of the true situation regarding climate change. Consequently, a regular salsa dancing event will consume gallons of bottled water, fly in teachers from all over the world, be fuelled from by oil, coal and gas and have brand new shoes and clothes on sale + involve multiple high carbon to and from journeys of participants.
The great majority of our 150 plus participants were new to climate change. We collaborated with local information groups and most who attended had their first ever climate conversations and took away practical energy saving ideas and a brand new awareness. Some have formed a group they attend regularly. That group, in turn, has informed others via meetings, films, events and individual chats with friends, neighbours, family, colleagues. From tiny little ripples to huge waves in terms of genuine consciousness change was what we hoped for – and we are delighted that that’s what we seem to be getting.
“I haven’t flown since your event you know” said Julia Rorke, one of the participants, the other day when I met her. “And I used to fly a lot!”
“Thanks to you and your team for all your hard work in hosting such a great weekend! And the sentiments behind it made it even more special. It has left a lasting impression on me and I reckon on everyone of us who’ll now want to do more to look after our planet. I will definitely be coming next year.” said Irene Blackburn.
And that’s where we are now at. Another event is booked and taking shape and imaginatively and Mancunianly is called “Ecodaya” with the tag line ’12 non stop hours of sustainable salsa fun’. Details are:
Date: Saturday 26th May
Time: 11am to 11pm
Venue: The Lifestyle Centre, Wythenshawe, Manchester 22
If anyone would like to attend/volunteer/run a stall/input ideas etc we’d love you to do so. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. 0161 448 2834.