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May 7, 2021

Tom’s the green face of Splendour

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Tom-Margules-Splendour-Green800pxSouthern Cross University graduate Tom Margules is tackling the testing task of tracking the carbon footprint of Splendour festivalgoers.

Tom (pictured) has developed a carbon footprint survey in his role as Splendour environmental manager.

He said that while Splendour ran a carbon offset program for its own internal emissions and offered festivalgoers an option for offsetting their travel emissions, there was ‘a knowledge gap’ regarding the carbon footprint for people attending open space events in Australia.

He added that SCU environmental science student volunteers will be conducting the face-to-face survey at the festival this weekend, ‘gathering details about festivalgoers’ entire journey, starting from the moment they leave their front door’.

Tom has also developed two other green initiatives at Splendour.

So-called ‘eco cops’ will mingle with festivalgoers to encourage and explain Splendour’s waste management program, particularly recycling, as well as other environmental programs.

And Splendour has developed a bush regeneration program at the festival site in conjunction with local ecological experts.

‘Two separate native habitats located in the campground are benefiting from tree planting of native seedlings to bridge the gap between the two forested areas. This will help reduce edge effect and increase endemic biodiversity,’ he said.

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  1. Carbon offsets don’t reduce carbon pollution (they encourage additional pollution from people who mistakenly believe they are reducing and addressing their impact). The sites ecology benefiting from tree planting while suffering regular Blitzkriegs of mega corporate industrial multi day 24 hour events – bullshit!! The North Byron Parklands Splendour site will contribute 10’s of 1,000s of Tonnes of carbon polution annually and is this Shires major contributor to the projected 4 – 6 degrees temperature increase in the next 80 years, which will bring in 8 – 12 Metre sea level rises. The sites proposed NYE “Falls” festival should appropriately be called the ‘Fall into the Sea” festival. Splendour is killing the sites environment and is contributing to the destruction by drowning of all of our coastal land. And this is their “Green Face” !!!!

  2. In a recent conversation with a friend it was brought to my attention that there had been an article in Echonetdaily regarding my work with Splendour in the Grass. While the article is a little vague and does not perhaps capture the entirety of my work I cannot see the harm in running a small piece on the initiatives (listed above) as they are very much community programs (well, I am from the community and so are the students form the university). I would like to make one correction and that is that the survey was developed in conjunction between myself and and SCU honours candidate Mitchell Kirby. Without Mitch’s contribution the survey would have been substantially less comprehensive. I would also like to address the comment above. I agree that Carbon Offsets are not the answer to our planet’s growing climate issues however, I am of the opinion that working with whatever tools we have available is better than not working at all. In the case of Carbon Offsets, Splendour is not using this as a justification for more carbon intensive works. It is actually the opposite. We are constantly looking for ways to reduce our carbon emissions.

    As a graduate from SCU’s environmental science program (hons) I am very aware of global environmental issues in a local context and there are numerous ways to address these issues. Often, the scientific evidence, or current environmental conditions of various ecosystems, is overwhelming to confront. The more you become familiar with climate behaviour and statistical analysis the more desperate the situation can seem. It is important to note here that science, and scientists, are generally conservative by nature. This conservatism is born from the scientific process (e.g. proving an hypothesis can be wrought with controversy. Making sweeping statements is a sure fire way to destroy ones own credibility. So, when you have solid evidence suggesting a trend, evidence that has passed all of the various methods for discounting anomalies, you can only reflect on the results in context and allot of the time those results are conservative). Unfortunately, science does not always deal with conservative responses. The environment is an emotive subject that provokes a strong response and often the facts, or reality in context, take a back sea to passionate voices.

    An event the size of Splendour does not produce 10′ of 1,000’s of tonnes of Carbon it does however require resources to facilitate it’s production (Splendour offsets all of it’s internal emissions with an organisation called Climate Friendly). Splendour in the Grass is a locally owned and operated music festival there is however, a presence of brands that operate across regional, national and international borders.

    It is interesting to reflect on the land use of NBP. I often do. I have watched the extensive regeneration of native species to represent endemic ecology. I have observed the affects of the influx of infrastructure on the endemic fauna and it is interesting to note the migration of mobile organisms of all kinds into the Billinudgel nature reserve. It is even more interesting to note that the migration is quickly reversed once the festival has finished. As an environmental scientist I understand what the best strategy for representing endemic biodiversity would be but, is that a reasonable demand? Can we expect individuals to abandon their livelihood and bequeath land to national parks (On a side note I believe NBP have actually partitioned land to national parks)? Or, is the way froward to work with business and help to develop a benchmark that has to be adhered to? So, in the future, there will be such as thing as sustainable business practice in mainstream commercial enterprise. Have we, as a community, considered alternative land uses and wether there are worse land uses than hosting a music festival?

    Splendour in the Grass is a popular music festival. Splendour has a great opportunity to support environmental activities and it does. I think it is fair to say that markets are the greatest influence on resource burden and with that in mind, market dynamics would indicate that demand influences supply. We (as passionate citizens) can influence demand and therefore change market dynamics and if the dynamics change, for the better, would this reduce our global resource burden? I really don’t see this as a ‘Green Face’ but call me an optimist. After all, I have chosen a professional life that values the ideals of responsible environmental management above all else because I care. Further, sea level rise will be dynamic according to coastal geomorphology so the numbers stated in the comment above, or below, (assuming they are correct) have to be accepted in a site specific context. In that case, I think NBP with be above water for a long time to come so may be a little hasty to label the upcoming Falls festival “Fall into the Sea”.


    Tom Margules

    • Thanks Tom,
      We would love to hear the outcomes of your projects with Splendour, and indeed have been trying to follow up with SCU on this matter for some time. If you could contact us to discuss this, we believe it would be very much worth an article.


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