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Ultra rolling out ‘leave no trace’ sustainability initiative at Virginia Key

There’s no surprise that large outdoor music festivals are destructive to the surrounding environment, is not for the mass crowds that swarms a relatively small space for a few short days. The Miami City Council granted Ultra Music Festival (UMF) permission to call Virginia Key home for this year’s extravaganza under one important condition, preserving the vulnerable ecosystem surrounding the offshore island of Miami.

Passionate environmentalists are hoping that as the festival community grows attendees’ level of awareness and personal responsibility rises. It seems that each festival season that comes around, sustainability is becoming a higher priority and more events are creating opportunities for attendees to participate in green teams that clean up during the event or stay to clean up the mess left behind. Skepticism for the successful execution of this new policy for Ultra stems from the sheer fear that the wild party-goers will not err on the side of caution for the neighboring aquatic habitats.

The “Mission: Home” environmental policy encourages attendees to “leave no trace” by resisting the impulse to litter, discarding trash appropriately, and recycling when possible. The initiative urges attendees to respect the physical barriers keeping people away from “ecologically sensitive areas” and to refrain from interacting with wildlife and walking on vegetation. The festival is also banning the selling of any plastic straws, polystyrene, and single-use plastic cups. A win for the sea turtles nearby!

It takes years of trial and error to establish a strong environmental policy that festival goers respect and follow. Such is the case with Burning Man‘s strict low-waste, low-impact foundational principals. With the sheer capital and cultural force behind UMF, the community of Virginia Key is trusting the “Mission: Home” policy to keep their home pristine.