Gentle Adventure is a project that aims to encourage a beautiful, ethical and sustainable lifestyle.

Sustainable Pride Celebration

It’s Pride week in Helsinki, so I’ve collected some last minute pointers (they’ll work next year too!) on how you can make your Pride celebrations more sustainable.

Travel

  • Arrive with public transport, favour rails: trains, trams, underground
  • Come by bicycle if you’re closeby!


Food

  • Have a vegan picnic
  • Bring a fork, spoon and napkin along (and water from home)
  • We like to pack our picnic foods and dishes in cloth wraps (furoshiki), glass jars (for wet/oily stuff) and paper bags (for dry stuff)
  • Avoid single use dishes or plastic cups. Make picnic foods that require less plates/stuff around them, such as fruit, bread, different finger foods.
  • Shop picnic things zero/low waste. Some ideas: Homemade or takeout sushi (bought into your own container), with noodle and cabbage salad seasoned with sesame oil. Homemade or storebought bread with hummus or tapenade. Fresh foccacia. Crispbread with jams. Dried fruit. Fresh fruit. Cold fancy pizza slices, topped with large capers, thin slivers of seitan, zucchini, dill, vegan cheese. Potato salad with wild herbs. A simple pound cake cut into bite sized bits.


Drinks

  • Favour lightweight aluminium cans, cardboard packages, wine boxes and deposit PET bottles
  • There’s an excellent deposit system for beverage packages in Finland, so buy packages with deposits and return them.
  • Make your own lemonade or mocktails and bring them along in reusable bottles


Decorations

  • Use second hand materials for crafting outfits, accessories, flags and signs. Local Reuse Centres (Kierrätyskeskus) has a wide variety of craft materials available.
  • Lend, reuse and share craft materials/props.
  • Dispose of any props properly. Or if you use flags or signs year after year, store them for future use instead of purchasing/making new ones every year.

Responsible Flower crowns
We love flower crowns for their beauty, and for the craft, and because they compost.

  • If you use thread in the crowns, choose a compostable fibre (most sewing threads are polyester, so check. Use cotton, linen, hemp). Cut the crown up before binnning into compost.
  • Pick common plant species that are not threatened. A list of protected species (pdf in Finnish) can be viewed here
  • It’s better to pick sparsely here and there in a wider area than deplete an entire patch
  • If you have a garden, mix wild and grown flowers
  • Craft the wreath in nature where you can pick just the amount you need and not any more, or gather a reasonable amount of plants to take home
  • Cut the stems and put the picked flowers in water, you can also pop them in the fridge (they keep better in a cool environment) if you’re gathering the plants beforehand

Pick locally flourishing and especially invasive plant species to use in flowers crowns, such as lupins (Lupinus polyphyllus).


Makeup

  • Use what you already have
  • Make a communal glitter purchase and share with friends
  • Use glitter that is more likely to compost with less plastic in it
  • Dab tiny flowers around the eyes with lip balm
  • Use packageless makeup like Lush’s gold bars


Sun protection

  • Find some shade
  • Wear a hat
  • Try some solid package free sunblock (I like the bar from Lush)

Trash and recycling
There’s usually very few trashcans and virtually no clearly separated cans for recyclables at the Pride parade’s park festival, so be super and take your recyclables back home (I like to take a separate bag or wrapping cloth for oily/wet recyclables).

  • Hold on to decorations and festive items (esp. if they’re balloons). We don’t want seagulls choking on rainbow plastics
  • If you’re being ⁓festive⁓ outdoors, be safe but bin condoms and wrappers responsibly!
  • Don’t leave trash or heavy bottles behind. Take everything you brought to the park back home with you, or to a suitable recycling/trash can.
  • You can give your empty drink cans with return deposit to people collecting them, but please note that heavy sparkling wine bottles are usually not taken.

People who collect cans don’t take heavy bottles because they’re extremely bulky compared to cans. Lightweight cans have significantly better weight/value ratio: they usually have 15 cent refund, while glass wine/sparkling wine packages have only 10 cents. An empty 0,5 litre aluminum can weights about 17,2 grams, and an empty 0,75 l Prosecco wine bottle I checked weighted 800 grams. So to get, say, 1 euros, you’d need to carry 8 kg in bottles versus to 0,115 kg in cans. And to get 5 euros, you’d need to carry 40 kilograms of bottles. Versus 0,575 kg of cans. The difference is huge, even with slight variations in the bubbly wine bottle weight.

So, take your empty heavy bottles home or pop them into a return point on your way. If you carried them into the park full, you can most likely carry them back empty.

Consider volunteering in cleanup or try and suggests good recycling spots/policies for events. The city of Helsinki had a campaign where you got a movie ticket in exhange for 10 champagne bottles during May Day cleanup, similar might work for Pride.

Have a wonderful, fulfilling, responsible and delightful Pride!

– Amir

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