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Eco festival: a sustainable party

By Martin Pütter

Sustainability can also be a lot of fun – a number of events at the 10th Eco Festival right in the city centre of Basel this weekend should be able to prove this.

In some (limited) ways sustainability could help you to have the cake and eat it. Fancy watching a film, but worried about the effect popcorn, ice cream and soft drinks high in calories might have on your fitness and body shape? Then the “Velokino” (bicycle cinema) at the 10th Eco Festival this weekend might be the right thing for you. To watch any of the films the “Kult.kino Atelier” (right below the Tinguely fountain) is showing, viewers have to supply the electricity that powers the projectors – by cycling one of the bicycles in front of the screen. The same applies if you want to listen to some live music, played by regional bands and DJ Bandura, at Barfüsserplatz on Saturday evening: want sound, must cycle. The Ferris wheel at Barfüsserplatz even goes a step further: it is entirely powered by elbow grease – the kids will love that, seeing adults making the wheel go round.

The Eco Festival is Switzerland’s largest event to promote sustainability – and it is open to anyone, i.e. entry is free to the stands and events on either Barfüsserplatz or Theaterplatz over the weekend. And for their 10th anniversary the organisers managed to bring this event from the Mustermesse (where it was previously held) right into the city centre. Their aim is to raise the awareness of sustainability – but it should be more than scientific discussions among experts, it should be fun for everybody.

The language barrier should also not be an issue for expats. The event actually starts already on Thursday evening when Rob Hopkins, a writer on environmental issues from the United Kingdom, will be reading – in English – from his book The Power of Just Doing Stuff at the Literaturhaus Basel (Barfüssergasse 3). US author Bea Johnson will also be reading from her book Zero Waste – she has been living waste-free with her family since 2008 (Barfüsserplatz, Saturday, noon – in English).

The Eco Festival will also help you get rid of things you longer need or want. You want to dispose of an old bicycle free of charge? Over the weekend Velafrica right next to the Elisabethen church will take it, have it done up by charities and then sent to Africa. On Saturday from 2pm to 7pm you can exchange some unwanted clothing with something else, or have old clothing pimped up. And at Theaterplatz on Sunday morning children between 3 and 10 can bring toys they do not want to play with anymore and exchange with another one (10am to 12.30pm) – thus raising awareness for the subject among the young generation.

Part of the Eco Festival are also the Eco Nature Congress at the Stadttheater on Friday (whole day), a first symposium about corporate social responsibility for CSOs (corporate sustainability officers) and the Eco Gala on Friday evening, with various awards and show acts.

For further information about the festival (in German and French) please go to:


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