Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Green March with the OAE

Tue 10 Apr 2012

March 2012 marked the second Green celebration period for the OAE. Following the success of Green week in February 2011, this time we expanded to a month. The self-elected office green team decided to focus on 3 strands of activity for the month; firstly we would look at our concert and touring activity in March, secondly we would focus on raising awareness amongst our colleagues, and thirdly all those green ideas we had been wanting to try out but hadn’t gotten round to in our busy schedules, would be prioritised on our to-do lists. Here’s a brief summary of what we got up to in Green Month:

Concert and touring activity
UK tour with Laurence Cummings
Following a couple of concerts in London in early March, our project with Laurence Cummings visited the Wiltshire Music Centre on 9 March and then Birmingham Town Hall on the 10th. In order to reduce our travel carbon footprint, we organised group train travel for the Orchestra. Since Wiltshire-Birmingham is not a journey you can do by train, a minibus was organised for the middle leg. If we hadn’t offered this then our players would have had no other choice than to drive themselves the entire tour. In the past this would have been something we would have just let be, but we are now making sure we look ahead at the schedule and allocate time to coordinate these extra initiatives in our busy admin to-do lists! It is definitely more work to organise green travel. Amazingly on this occasion the finances worked in our favour and were comparable to letting the players make their own arrangements.

Anthem for a Child, UK Schools Concert tour
The entire tour was a model for how sustainable touring schedule within the UK should be planned. The locations of the venues we visited were plotted in a logical order around the country, to ensure the least amount of travelling between venues. All too often our touring schedules are at the mercy of where promoters want us and when – for example we could be one day in Bristol, then Edinburgh, then Plymouth, before hurtling back to London via Paris… On this occasion OAE had the opportunity to work with the venues we visited to plot in a sensible way – travelling SW to N from Plymouth, Totnes, Wiltshire, Southampton, Hastings, London, Bury St Edmunds, Chesterfield and ending in York. It was the most efficient way of plotting nearly 1300 miles of driving. Since each day of the tour started with workshops in up to 5 different locations, organising group transport for the tour wasn’t possible so car-pooling was organised. On a tour with 25 people, a total of 8-10 cars across the tour were used at any one time. That included transporting all luggage, orchestral instruments including 2 harpsichords, all of the music, stands, banners and workshop material. 4 of the players on the tour, undertook an even greener travel option by sharing riding a tandem bike from Plymouth to York! This crazy initiative was part of a wider fundraising initiative ‘Musicians Miles’ as all members of the Orchestra and office have been getting active to raise money for this project. The target – 5000 miles between us. Some staff have been walking & cycling […]

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Green Month: Low-carbon Cake Sale

Thu 15 Mar 2012

It’s Green month this March at the OAE, which we happily discovered coincides with UK National Climate Week this week.  The OAE’s green team had a good brainstorm at the beginning of March for some initiatives across the entire organisation which we will be working on in the coming months, but for a bit of immediacy and to raise awareness amongst our colleagues we settled on a Low-Carbon cake sale which we are holding in the office today.  All funds raised from the cake sale will go towards planting a tree to carbon-offset our output this month.

So… How can a cake be low-carbon?

A bit of research was required, and we came up with the following guidelines.  With thanks to the website www.preventclimatechange.co.uk

The cake should…..

1. Be constructed without expending any oven energy.

2. Be made from locally sourced ingredients (and no this does not mean from your local supermarket, it means locally produced!  Therefore reducing air miles)

3. Use organic ingredients.  Organic farms are generally considered to use more sustainable methods of farming, avoid pesticides and therefore pollution.

4. Have a short ingredient list (less packaging involved).

5. Be based on unprocessed goods (with the theory that the more processed a food is the more energy has gone into all its stages of production).

6. Be vegetarian or vegan, or have a focus on vegetables as ingredients.  Raising animals for meat/milk/eggs generally requires more energy that raising crops.

7. Be made from ingredients that would otherwise have gone to waste, and been thrown away.

So what did we make?

Raw chocolate brownies, with creamy chocolate frosting

Lemon, lime and ginger cheesecake

Strawberry cheesecake

Chocolate and Beetroot brownies

Vegetarian cupcakes decorated with vegetarian gummy sweets

If you’d like to find out which recipes we used leave us a comment below!

Ceri Jones, Projects Director

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