Photography: Vevolution / Sarah Koury
At the fourth annual Vevolution festival on Saturday 16th November, panelists, hosts and attendees spent the day discussing environmentalism and how our actions can best impact the planet. Here are our eco-takeaways from the festival.
At the fourth annual installment of London’s plant-focused festival Vevolution, the day began with plant-based pastries and reusable cups filled with oat milk coffees. In between exploring the realms of food stands and vegan sausage rolls, panel talks and workshops contemplated how our actions – be it what we eat, wear or do – can have a positive impact on the planet.
The line up included the likes of the infectiously upbeat David and Stephen Flynn from The Happy Pear who hosted a talk on the power of connection and community, Bel Jacobs and Alice Wilby from Extinction Rebellion addressing the problems with fast fashion and Niomi Smart in conversation with Venetia Falconer discussing fashion, clothes swaps and charity shops. Workshops offered attendees the opportunity to upcycle old vegetable sacks into pencil cases with Rehandle, to learn Activism 101 from Extinction Rebellion and how to make scrunchies and headbands from scrap materials with Agnes LDN.
With a cohort of sustainable activists filling the stage and stands to hear one another talk, the Eco-Age team wanted to know the tips and tricks that some of the best in business have implemented into their lives with the aim of living more sustainably. While Venetia Falconer and Alice Wilby it is about avoiding fast fashion and wearing the clothes you already have, Jack Harries belives in taking the streets to become an activist for the planet and the Happy Pear find spending time in nature in turn helps you to make more environmentally friendly choices.
1. Addressing the Climate Crisis
Though the festival was grounded in all things vegan food and lifestyle-based, much of the conversation circled back to environmentalism in the wider sense, focusing on the impacts of what we wear, eat and do. Talks between Jack Harries and host Venetia Falconer addressed environmental activism and the growth of the Extinction Rebellion movement in just one year. The positive futures stage held discussions on boycotting fast fashion, with Bel Jacobs & Alice Wilby talking about their campaign to stop people buying new in 2019 in addition to Adam Biddle on social media’s power for good and Dan Dicker’s ‘how circular design can help to combat the global waste and resource epidemic.’
2. Living a Low Impact Lifestyle
This year the festival introduced the option for a low impact ticket for those wishing to forgo the complementary goodie bag, with attendees being encouraged to consider their consumption both throughout the course of the festival as well as in everyday life. In a talk between Jack Harries, Madeline Olivia, Blue Ollis, Nour Livia and Jess Lichenstern, host Pawan Saunya asked the panelists about their decisions to commit to minimalism, less flying and campaigns of political protest. Echoed between each of those talking was the notion of change, to not committing wholly to flying bans and radical lifestyle changes, but rather implementing change in a way that is sustainable, achievable and simply less impactful on the planet.
3. Supporting Small
During the conscious beauty panel, Anna Brightman from skincare brand UpCircleemphasised the importance of supporting smaller brands when trying to create a wider industry shift. Encouraging and supporting the growth of these smaller brands in turn allows the movement to become more attainable to the masses. “The trick is to buy from small brands,” said Anna, “don’t buy into the big brands.” Such is the concept of voting with your wallet, in supporting these small brands that are advocating for transparency, recyclability and environmental consciousness, change can then be infiltrated through to the top.
4. The Aim for Systematic Change
In a talk between environmental activists Jack Harries and Venetia Falconer, Jack described his position within the Extinction Rebellion movement – having been arrested earlier this year during his time protesting International Petroleum Week with the movement. Wary of the controversy that surrounds both the protests and the campaign group itself, the discussion moved on to the motives surrounding political activism and the fact that “people are often motivated by grief and fear and that doesn’t always encourage the best, or most thoughtful, form of activism.” During the October Rebellion, activists disrupted the morning commute on the DLR at Canning Townstation by standing on top of the train, with the lack of consideration for the wealth of the area and use of public transport outraging much of the public. Rather than pointing fingers at individuals, for Jack the protests and movement as a whole must focus on targeting large scale polluters, rather than inconveniencing the working class, and most importantly to advocate for system change.
5. We Are All Recovering Hypocrites
Perhaps as a result of social media and call-out culture, the fear of being accused of hypocrisy can often discourage people from joining or supporting the movement towards fighting climate change. As discussed by Jack Harries in both his talk with Venetia and the low impact environmental panel talk, it is all about “owning your hypocrisy, as it is unavoidable,” and people should “move on from it rather than accusing people of falling short of perfection.” Adding to the argument that shaming individuals is counterintuitive and deters people from taking action, the recently coined term ‘recovering hypocrite’ instead depicts that, though we are all trying to be better, perfection is unachievable and striving for such only results in pressure and fear of failure. Whether this be striving for reducing our meat intake, our flights around the world or our single-use waste, many of the talks addressed the importance of small individual actions that everyone can approach as they see fit.