IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN – OR IS IT?

Published on 7th Apr, 2010

IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN - OR IS ITBy Dale Pope

I love doing my bit to be a greenie. I have 3 types of recycling bins including my kitchen composter, I use a plant-based foundation, use a water filter instead of buying bottled water, have devised my own spider-catcher, and only have the light on in the room I’m in. So on a recent flight to teach dance up in the Kimberley Region (offset my miles of course) I happened to be flicking through the G(Green) Magazine and wondered how ‘green’ a dance school is.

On the outset it appeared minimal: water bottle, ipod, stereo, studio, trackpants, students. But then things took a sinister turn as I began to thing more specifically.

• Lighting of studio (day and night in some cases)
• Air conditioning (day and night in some cases)
• Sound systems replaced to accommodate ipods with many stereos in working condition being thrown out
• Dance uniforms that change with age or ability levels
• Costumes for concerts and Eisteddfods (I have seen some of these collections require two or three large studios to store)
• Branded water bottles (potentially non-recyclable plastics)

That’s just a snapshot as I’m sure you get the idea. What I’m actually more interested in is not stopping our processes that make us effective, competitive and capable as a dance studio, but rather propose some interesting alternatives that may enhance the awareness of sustainable practices that you may be inspired to include in your studio:

• A committed uniform buy-back scheme or second hand department for reselling of good quality uniforms
• Fit a water filter to the kitchen tap to avoid consumption of bought bottled water
• Lost Property box has an expiry date, eg. 3 months, and then it’s available to anyone who is interested in one left footed black jazz shoe size 2.5!
• Turn sounds systems, fans, heaters, computers etc off at the wall at the end of the night
• Allow day light to be the primary source of light during the day
• Re-use costumes – there are some stunning creations out there, re-use the hard work and creativity that was put into them
• Hold an ‘eco-week’ – create a challenge for dancers and teachers to be the most efficient class for one week. (ideas include all dancers bringing their own water bottle or having a ‘silent’ class where there is no music and perhaps dancers can provide body or vocal percussion – get creative!)
• Conclude your ‘eco-week’ by holding a car boot sale in your car park and allow families to not only trade their trash for treasure but also connect with each other as your personal dance community
• Use ‘eco-week’ in your advertising and also notice your power savings!

The dancer himself/herself actually appears to have a small foot print, however our industry appears to have a large one (just think ‘end of year concert’ consumptions). Dance has been around since humans’ first breath. Back then it was camp fire, instruments and free movement. Although slightly more advanced these days – surely we can lighten our footprint by remembering it’s creative expression and a community. Beyond that perhaps it’s our ego’s making the foot print deeper?

Note from Dale: Would love to hear how ‘greenie’ your studio is. Email info@dancelife.com.au with your thoughts.

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