Efforts to promote a more sustainable Floatopia 2 continue with the recently initiated Leave No Trace campaign, which seeks to curb the severe environmental impact of the Isla Vista beach festival.
With an estimated 12,000 attendees at last month’s Floatopia, the large amount of trash and defecation left on the beach and in the ocean made for dramatic environmental consequences. The student-led campaign – headed by Associated Students Environmental Affairs Board, A.S. Recycling Committee, A.S. Coastal Fund and the Isla Vista Surfrider Foundation – tabled near the Arbor and UCen this week to encourage beach clean up efforts prior to the scheduled event.
Lauren Cobbe, co-chair of the A.S. Coastal Fund, said Leave No Trace is not a political campaign against Floatopia, but is rather an effort to remind students of their environmental impact and promote sustainability.
“All these [student] groups promote open access to the beach, but with open access comes responsibility,” Cobbe said. “If you use the beach and if you want to continue to have access to the beach, then you should clean up your trash.”
Cobbe, a fourth-year Italian and global studies major, said Leave No Trace hopes to motivate this weekend’s floaters to clean up at the event itself by providing large dumpsters at beach entrances, individual trash bags and free T-shirts for students who collect a 30-pack of empty beer cans.
“You can go out and enjoy yourself in the environment, but you’re not supposed to leave any trash behind,” Cobbe said. “You’re supposed to leave [the beach] how you found it – erase your footprint altogether.”
In anticipation of huge amounts of leftover litter, Leave No Trace has organized two Sunset Beach Cleanups on May 9 and 10, which are open to volunteers. Supplies will be provided and community service hours are available for students.
Nik Edlinger, co-chair of I.V. Surfrider, said though the Leave No Trace campaign cannot stop Floatopia 2, it will do everything it can to diminish the event’s negative effects on the community.
“We don’t like Floatopia 2 or its effects on the environment, but we accept that it is going to happen and we are facilitating the clean up effort and engaging students in doing their portion of the job,” Edlinger, a second-year psychology major said.
In addition, Maile Smith, co-chair of the Environmental Affairs Board, said students need to realize that their actions at Floatopia 2 may very well affect legislative decisions such as the Social Host Ordinance.
“Gauchos just proved to the county that we can be extremely irresponsible and that could sway how they vote on the Social Host Ordinance,” Smith, a fourth-year environmental studies major, said.
“If you really want to party that much, then prove it – clean up.”