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Green Leader Q&A #37: Aileen Ging, Sustainable Operations Lead at Wild Rumpus

Aileen is Sustainable Operations Lead at Wild Rumpus – a not for profit outdoor arts organisation based in 4 acres of woodland in the north west. Wild Rumpus produce a wide portfolio of (mostly outdoor) events – all seeking to deepen nature connectedness through art and play.
Aileen’s drive to live regeneratively an in balance with nature continues to grow through getting to work with the inspiring environmental organisation, The National Forest on Wild Rumpus’ Timber Festival. In our monthly Green Leader Q&A Aileen shares her experiences during her career in event sustainability and what keeps her motivated and inspired:

1. What is the proudest sustainability achievement or moment of your career?

Positively influencing our supply chains & contractors to offer greener options.

2.  What was your worst ever sustainability-related decision, project or initiative and why?

Trying out re-usable hot drinks cups last year at Just So – we got the pricing / deposit system wrong and so many of them disappeared / I ended up in a skip. Pretty disheartening but we’ll re-think it and try again next year!

3.  What are you excited about implementing this year?

Exploring composting for compostable serve wear, hopefully on site or locally for each festival. I’m currently collecting serve wear at our winter event to test. We’ll also try some reusables.

4.  Which environmental issue do you most care about?

Right now – Sewage / Water pollution and access to green / blue spaces.

5.  What sustainable change have you made in your personal life that you are most proud of?

Living in nature for periods of time – makes you hyper aware of consumption and output when you can see it’s direct effect on the environment.

6.  What do you read to stay in touch with green issues?

The Land Magazine.

 7.  What is the most memorable live performance in your life?

The Burnt City – Punchdrunk.

8.  Was there a moment you committed to taking action on climate change?

Not really a moment, it sort of crept up – I think I went vegan and then the more you delve, the more you learn, and then you can’t not!
The more you get from nature, the more you want to protect it.

9.  What are the most important issues to tackle at your event?

Transport and food provenance.

10. What do you think is the most significant challenge for the events industry becoming more sustainable?

Capacity (financial/ time) – not helped by the current political and economic landscape of the country.

11. Can you share something sustainable from another artist or event or company that inspired you to make a change?

Shambala going meat / fish / dairy free – we should all be bolder.

12. What is the secret to your sustainable success?

Perseverance. Constantly re-energising yourself – because progress can be slow.

13. Tell us something you feel positive about right now that relates to the environment

I love fungi – the ever-expanding potential uses of mycelium!

14. Tell us a book, film or recent article you feel others should watch/read and why about positive change?

I’ve been reading articles on Atlas of the Future recently – loads of really exciting projects featured on there to keep you hopeful.

15. Can you give people new to sustainability in events a top tip?

Be brave!  Try things and ask others – people are helpful.

16. What is the favourite festival moment of your career?

Timber 2021 – First festival post pandemic felt pretty special.

17. What habit or practice has helped you most in your personal journey in life?

Authenticity – educating myself and not expecting others to do something you’re not willing to do yourself.

18. Is there anything new or exciting you are planning or changing for the future that you can tell us about? Even a hint!

Company wide – I’ll be writing Wild Rumpus a Carbon Literacy training course in the new year for the organisation, and with scope to roll out to all our stakeholders. I’m also looking forward to working closely with our Local Authority – Cheshire East on how we might improve sustainable practice in events across the region. On the festivals, I’m going to focus on improving and embedding circularity across the board.

19. Will we save the world?

We don’t have a choice.

20. What would your sustainable superpower be?

Make all toilets composting!


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This Q&A originally appeared in our December 2023 Vision: 2025 newsletter. Sign up to receive monthly event sustainability news, case studies and guest blogs direct to your inbox.