The festival champions sustainability on Earth Day

As weekend two of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival kicked off on Earth Day, organizers and attendees worked to raise awareness of sustainability to reduce environmental footprints at this massive festival.

Since 2004, Los Angeles nonprofit Global Inheritance has partnered with Coachella to engage attendees in environmental efforts. Through staples like their energy playground, recycling bins decorated by local artists, “Carpoolchella” and more, the group has helped attendees engage in impactful sustainability efforts.

Eric Ritz, executive director of Global Inheritance, said the program’s goal is to provide a “fun and accessible” way for people to get involved.

Maya Tomasik of San Diego generates electricity using the Seesaw during the Global Inheritance exhibit during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at Empire Polo Club in Indio on Friday, April 22, 2022. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Contributing Photographer)

“People spend a lot of money to be at the festival…so we have to compete with that and make the program really exciting,” Ritz said.

Each festival weekend, Global Inheritance commissions local artists to decorate 50 unique recycling bins which are displayed throughout the festival site.

John Galan, art teacher at Oak Park, was in his first year working with Global Inheritance. After being shortlisted in 2021, her fruit-inspired human anatomy bin design was finally unveiled on Friday.

Festival-goers walk past artist-decorated bins during the Global Inheritance exhibit during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio on Friday, April 22, 2022. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Contributing Photographer)

“I was looking to talk about how we eat,” Galan said. “Health foods in general are generally more sustainable because they are generally packaged with less plastic.”

His design used fruit from his Mexican and Spanish heritage to display cacti shaped like lungs, a pomegranate heart, and a brainhuitlacoche (huitlacoche is an edible mushroom that grows on corn).

Returning Orange County artist Fae Feliciano wanted to bring her art back to the festival because she liked the “initiative” the nonprofit was trying to take, she said.

Oak Park artist John Galan touches up his bac at the Global Inheritance exhibit during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio on Friday, April 22, 2022. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Contributing Photographer)

“I love using my art to promote sustainability,” Feliciano said.

Her 2022 baccalaureate displayed a tropical scene and promoted her passions for recycling, music, art and love, Feliciano said.

Global Inheritance’s interactive energy playground also caught the attention of many festival-goers. Since 2007, the playground has included stations that involve running, biking, rocking, spinning, and swinging that convert kinetic energy into electricity. This year’s energy playground featured a set of seesaws that charged participants’ phones with the up and down motion.

Orange County artist Fae Feliciano touches up her bac at the Global Inheritance exhibit during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio on Friday, April 22, 2022. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Contributing Photographer )

Mario Vilela from San Francisco tried the toggle, and while he didn’t use it long enough to have a big impact on his phone’s battery, he still thought it was a good idea.

“I think it’s a great concept to promote renewable energy,” Vilela said.

In order to reduce travel-related emissions, Global Inheritance encourages carpooling through its “Carpoolchella” program. Carpoolers enter a raffle to win a variety of prizes, including “Lifetime VIPs” for the festival, “all-access” wristbands, and gift and food vouchers.

At the campground, Global Inheritance set up a stage for a series of talks on sustainability efforts. On Saturday, April 23, Maggie Baird, mother of singer Billie Eilish, is set to speak on behalf of her nonprofit Support + Feed, which focuses on food and waste, according to Ritz.

Edward K. Thompson