9 Aug 2012
Way Out West has always had the environment as one of our top priorities. It is something that lies close to our hearts and we are constantly striving to improve our organization to be more environmentally friendly. In the research we've done, food is the single largest variable in our environmental impact and meat is the greatest culprit. Too many people think that the problems with the meat industry are just about animals' living conditions and human health risks, when the fact is that it is just as much about the wasting of resources and environmental degradation.
The food we consume, both that we eat and the scraps that eventually end up in our waste bins, accounts for about 25% of the average Swede's climate impact. Collectively and individually we must do something.
We have therefore decided to only serve vegetarian food at Way Out West 2012. This means that all the food that is served to our staff, audience and artists will be vegetarian. If you choose to eat a bratwurst outside the festival area, it is entirely up to you. But inside the festival area it will not be an option. We are not forcing people to stop eating meat altogether, but if we can positively impact the environment, if only for a few days, we want to take the chance to do it. We want to help dispel the myths about vegetarian food being bland and non-filling, we want to challenge a norm where meat is normal and vegetarian is not.
It is important for us that the festival drives development forward. We like to push the envelope and be the first to try new things. This year's festival is truly making history and we will do it together. We do not wish to force a change of diet upon anyone; see Way Out West 2012 more as a thought-provoking three day experience that everyone is free to then let change their routines—or not.
One might think that a few days with only vegetarian food will not make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things, that it will have very little impact on global climate change. But it does; we estimate a significant emissions reduction related to the food we serve, which in turn reduces the festival's overall climate impact. Something is better than nothing. And if we can positively influence a few others among us to reduce meat consumption over the course of a year, then we have truly started to get somewhere.