Environmental Impacts of Light Festivals and Events

Light events can have a significant impact on the environment through energy consumption and emissions of CO2. As environmental issues become increasingly important, cities that host light events should be mindful of the potentially adverse environmental impacts of events:

  • Attending events by its very nature can be amongst the more damaging part of individuals’ consumption activities, especially if attendants are coming from outside the city and not using public transport. Thus support from policy makers is likely be increasingly conditional on light events having a thoughtful approach to environmental monitoring and management (e.g. by monitoring and promoting the use of public transport).


  • Climate change and associated regulations and taxes are likely to significantly raise the cost of travel and supplier costs. Thus, the event organisers need to understand and where possible mitigate their environmental impact to ensure cost effectiveness.

Environmental actions are best developed at the earliest stages of development, when the goals for the event or festival are first set.
There are a range of approaches that can be taken to environmental impact assessment. These can be quantitative and outcome orientated (e.g. carbon footprints) or qualitative and process orientated (e.g. sustainable procurement strategies, attainment of standards).

In the short term, focusing on carbon footprint makes most sense as this can be linked to climate change, transport and waste variables – as well as engaging with political agendas and wider policy making.


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