TEDxSummit, 16 April – 20 April, 2012. Doha, Qatar. Photo: Kris Krüg
During the opening session of the second day of TEDxSummit workshops, TEDxAmsterdam’s Irene Rompa gave a talk on how to make a TEDx (or any!) event more sustainable. This is what we learned:
1. Baby steps are okay.
Sustainability often feels like too overwhelming or too vague a topic. But as Irene reminds us, baby steps are okay. We don’t have to try and accomplish a waste-less world; instead we should choose one or a few aspects of planning a sustainable event (e.g. travel and transportation) on which to focus. That’s always more than nothing.
When Irene arrived in Doha a month ago to start her work on making TEDxSummit more sustainable (which she defines as “taking measures toward being ‘climate neutral,’ where actions reduce the negative environmental, social, and ecological impacts” of an event), she found the biggest problem was waste. So she and her team installed recycling bins all over the conference site and implemented a reward system for recycling. Inspired by her work, the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha has asked her to help them install a trial recycling system in their park next month.
2. Start early!
Too often, planning for sustainability is an afterthought. It’s important to start early, with even one meeting, rather than to try to hire someone as the event approaches. By then it’s often too late to intervene on important subjects such as venue and food and beverage.