We spoke to Jed Dowling, Festival Director at Dublin Pride, to ask our 20 questions about his journey in event sustainability. Jed has been involved with Dublin Pride for 20 years and was appointed Director in 2015. Jed has been a minister, an optician, a college lecturer, an event organiser and an activist. He’s also a training facilitator for a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging programme called Pride at Work. Read his answers below:
1. What is the proudest sustainability achievement or moment of your career?
Taking diesel trucks and buses out of the Pride Parade
2. What was your worst ever sustainability-related decision, project or initiative and why?
Not factoring that some people would deliver and collect their “sustainable” floats on a flatbed diesel truck that would drive 20km around the city instead of the 2km parade route.
3. What are you excited about implementing this year?
I’m sticking with the Parade and will fix the problem of delivering and collecting floats.
4. Which environmental issue do you most care about?
Impact on communities
5. What sustainable change have you made in your personal life that you are most proud of?
Got rid of my car and joined a car sharing service.
6. What do you read to stay in touch with green issues?
Anything I see.
7. What is the most memorable live performance in your life?
Lying in a field with my husband, a bottle of Buckfast and LCD Soundsystem on stage.
8. Was there a moment you committed to taking action on climate change?
After the pandemic break, I knew if we came back the same, we would fail.
9. What are the most important issues to tackle at your event?
Connecting climate change to human rights.
10. What do you think is the most significant challenge for the events industry becoming more sustainable?
The people at the top. It’s always the people at the top causing the problem and trying pass blame.
11. Can you share something sustainable from another artist or event or company that inspired you to make a change?
The commitment festivals like Body &Soul have shown long before it was the popular thing to do.
12. What is the secret to your sustainable success?
Ask me in 50 years (if we’re still here).
13. Tell us something you feel positive about right now that relates to the environment?
People are talking about it, it might be a can of soup that made them talk, but they’re talking.
14. Tell us a book, film or recent article you feel others should watch/read and why about positive change?
Google ‘the 3.5% rule’: For all the talk and articles, if you want to change the world you have to get on to the streets and protest. Pride is proof of that, protest works.
15. Can you give people new to sustainability in events a top tip?
Go to a protest, get angry. The rest will flow.
16. What is the favourite festival moment of your career?
The moment you say “GO” on Pride day, and tens of thousands of people start marching.
17. What habit or practice has helped you most in your personal journey in life?
Talk about everything, even the silly things.
18. Is there anything new or exciting you are planning or changing for the future that you can tell us about? Even a hint!
Next year is our 40th anniversary so everything will be exciting.
19. Will we save the world?
We’ll die trying.
20. What would your sustainable superpower be?
Nagging or guilt (I’m Irish, that’s how we get things done).
Find Jed on LinkedIn
This Q&A originally appeared in our November 2022 Vision: 2025 newsletter. Sign up to receive monthly event sustainability news, case studies and guest blogs direct to your inbox.