Coachella, Stagecoach, Outside Lands, Voodoo, Lollapalooza, Pitchfork….these are just a few of the music festivals where Eric Ritz has been engaging humans to think about doing something different, anything, to save the planet from our destruction.
Eric is the founder of Global Inheritance, a charity that aims to educate individuals about global issues and inspire them to take positive actions that create solutions.
Below, we chat with Eric on why music festivals are a great for inspiring change, and why making a difference doesn’t have to mean changing who you are.
Tell us why you think festivals present a huge opportunity to engage people (young and old) in causes?
Festivals are a hotbed for cultural influence. You couldn’t ask for a better platform for outreach and impactful engagement. You’re reaching thousands of happy people on their favorite weekend of the year, when they’re looking for new experiences and keeping an open mind. This is a dream come true for any environmental non-profit. People attend festivals to be inspired – either by the music, the crowd, the art, the environment or creative programming. These events attract people from around the world and from different walks of life, and they’re also one of the most shared experiences. If you create even one positive connection, that person has the ability through social media and word of mouth to expand your message to different cities, states or even countries.
What do you hope people take away from their experience with GI at Coachella/Stagecoach?
Our goal is to empower individuals and let them keep being themselves with some minor adjustments to their habits. Fixing the world isn’t a movement…it’s common sense. We want people to have a positive experience with our programs and feel like they are a part of the solution. We don’t want people to change who they are as a person or wear a giant green badge. The goal is to provide people with a different outlook, so they can help the world evolve and become better with each day, not worse. Plus, we think change and impact can also mean having fun and being creative, and this ethos is weaved into every one of our initiatives.
Have any musicians partnered with you or been involved?
We’ve worked with Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Blink-812, My Morning Jacket, Rage Against The Machine, Rise Against, MIA + many other bands. Historically, the organization hasn’t prioritized band partnerships. Music is an incredible medium to bring people together, but we feel it’s better to connect the idea/program with the individual. If we do any band partnerships, we typically keep it very low key.
Does anyone hold the record for most bottles collected in a Coachella weekend (related: did anyone get the 1800-bottle VIP upgrade offered as a reward last year)?
Over the last 13 years, we’ve had people collect up to 4,000 bottles/cans on multiple occasions. However, the idea isn’t to get one person or a small group of people to monopolize recyclables onsite. We strive to create varying levels of engagement for everyone, so if you want to recycle 3, 30, or 300 bottles, you have the choice and can get something cool out of it. Everyone has different schedules and interests. Our goal is to provide enough incentives so everyone can get involved and feel more inspired about recycling after the festival.
Email pb[at]globalinheritance.org or reach out at www.globalinheritance.org