Save the Children organized Pakistan’s first-ever ‘Zero Waste Eco Festival’ to raise awareness amongst children and the youth about climate change and environment-related issues.
The festival created an immersive experience for attendees to come together in nature and partake in sustainable activities and practices to learn how to reduce their ecological footprints.
The festival created a marketplace of sustainable products, designs, and ideas. It brought together stalls from green companies and start-ups working on sustainable technology, organic and local farmers working with sustainable practices, and non-profit organizations that are working on environment-related issues.
The festival was organized around the principles of ‘Reuse, Reduce, Recycle. Event Management Company Active Media, ensured that the event was designed using innovative ideas and sustainable materials such as bamboo, UV printing, and wooden carvings, with an emphasis on reducing plastic and other waste with regards to the event set up, as well as branding and marketing material.
The event’s official ticketing partners, Book it Now, also helped minimize paper waste by helping set up a QR code-based ticketing system for the event.
Saaf Suthra Sheher was engaged to manage the waste at the event, and effectively ensured that all the generated waste was recycled, upcycled, or safely disposed of.
The company also set up a number of recycling stations at the event, and a group of youth volunteers was trained to effectively teach and guide guests on how to discard their trash.
Critically, the festival can serve as a case study and road map for companies and organizations to reduce the environmental impact of large-scale events and festivals in Pakistan.
The event also featured a panel discussion on ‘Youth Engagement for a Sustainable and Climate Resilient Future.’
Panelists included Marion Pfennings, Head of Development Corporation at the German Embassy Islamabad; Atif Sheikh, Executive Director of the Special Talent Exchange Program; Sheryar Arif Khan, Assistant District Commissioner Islamabad; Brig Muhammad Aslam Khan (Retd), Chairman Gomal Damaan Area Water Partnership; and Syed Ehtesham Ul Haque, Principal Environmental Design Engineer.
Notably, the event also featured a ‘Conversation with Young Climate Activists’, moderated by Ameera Adil, climate communicator, activist, student, and entrepreneur. Amongst others, the youth panelists included Zia ur Rehman, President of NUST Environment Club, and Eisha Ayub, Save the Children’s Red Alert Climate Activist.
Khuram Gondal, Country Director of Save the Children in Pakistan, gave the closing remarks at the festival.
“Although the climate crisis already affects everyone on this planet, it is the lives and futures of our children and youth that will be most affected. That’s why it is so important that they are part of the solution,” said Khuram.
“We designed this festival to raise awareness amongst the children and youth in an exciting and innovative way, that instills a drive and passion in them to take up climate-related activism and advocacy. The idea was to create an interactive platform for them to share their voices and explore sustainable products, practices, and ideas,” he added.
Children and the youth also had the opportunity to participate in a wide array of interactive workshops and study circles.
The workshops included engaging children in activities about composting food waste into fertilizer, planting seeds and growing their own gardens, olive oil extraction, as well as creating their own body scrubs and self-care products from natural materials.
Study Circles included climate-charged discussions on renewable alternative energy solutions, green tourism, as well as the water crisis, and water management.
Harness Energy set up solar panels around the festival to power lights, fans, and mobile charging stations to showcase low-cost and effective alternative solutions for energy generation and consumption.
The festival effectively engaged children and the youth in a wide array of activities and conversations to encourage new forms of action and activism that can prepare the future generation to respond effectively to ecological and climate-related challenges.