Prizm and The Native Woodland Trust talk sustainability at festivals
Coca-Cola hosted their inaugural Melodic Wood area at All Together Now festival in Waterford, purely to create an atmospheric chill-out zone.
The area centred solely around sustainability and was an immersive experience thanks to the electronic music supplied by rising Irish music duo; Prizm.
Those at the festival who were drinking cans were encouraged to bring them along to be pressed into leaves for the installation, with Coca-Cola commissioning native trees in Waterford alongside Native Woodland Trust.
Coca-Cola has donated €10,300 towards the commissioning of 412 native trees to be planted in Waterford, following the success of the Melodic Wood area and it's hypnotic lights show.
The Native Woodland Trust are Ireland’s only organisation with a sole focus on preserving our ancient woodlands, and it's hard to believe that they're the only ones.
We chatted to Prizm as well as the Native Woodland trust about their time in the Melodic Wood, and the importance of Ireland's forests at this critical time in the planet's environmental history.
Prizm are an up and coming electronic duo comprised of Ivan Nicholas and producer Aidan Bond, alumni of the Sound Training College in Temple Bar.
Their intricate knowledge of sound, coupled with their varied instrumental experience leads to standout performances. Their first headline show is set for later this year, and they're scheduled to play a string of festival performances and gigs this year.
We were dying to ask them about their Melodic Wood gig, which acted as a useful yet artistic recycling hub for festival goers.
The Wood's eight trees were all created from recycled materials, with the area forming part of the Native Woodland Trust's wider World Without Waste initiative. World Without Waste commits to collect and recycle the equivalent of every can or bottle that they sell by 2030.
We quizzed them on everything from their first meeting to their involvement in the environmental project;
How do you think your music fuses with nature?
For the song we wrote for Coca-Cola’s Melodic Wood at All Together Now 2019, part of the request was to incorporate nature sounds, we used wind and rustling trees in the intro of the track, and it worked really nicely.
How did you both meet, and when did you decide to become a duo?
We were working in the same place and got talking about music and quickly realized we both wrote and produced music. We strangely had the same vision for a project, so it kicked off from there.
What are your thoughts on Ireland’s attitude to sustainability?
It’s going in the right direction, small things like cardboard straws are a good start but it’s obviously a global problem, you have to start somewhere at the same time.
Why are you named ‘Prizm’?”
In optics, a prism is a transparent optical element with flat, polished surfaces that refract light. At least two of the flat surfaces must have an angle between them. “ We are part of the two… it made sense for us musically and we just both totally agreed on the name.
How did you become involved with the Melodic Wood and All Together Now?
We put our song forward and Coca-Cola loved it.
How do you think Ireland’s music scene can become more eco-friendly and sustainable?
Taking home your tents and cleaning up after yourself is simple and makes a huge difference.
Do you think music has the power to encourage people to focus on climate breakdown and the environment?
No, people have the power.
What are your hopes for the future of your music?
We want to release our debut song and work towards an album. Our live show is very important to us, we want to be a touring band.
What would be your dream gig to play?
Closing out a big festival. Our shows will have all the right ingredients to bring you back to life.
Prizm seem like the ideal artists to have played the Melodic Wood, as All Together Now have been an eco-focused festival from the beginning.
The band too share an interest in reducing their carbon footprint, and we were intrigued to hear what the Native Woodland Trust had to say about the installation.
The Native Woodland Trust is the only environmental organisation in Ireland with a focus on saving the last of Ireland's Ancient Woodlands, now down to as little as 0.1 percent of what originally existed.
The Trust is also the only Irish environmental organisation which has raised the funding to acquire and save some of these woodlands while also planting thousands of trees every year. The Trust now manages 11 woodlands and nature reserves across Ireland, from Donegal to Waterford.
How did the Melodic Wood installation come about?
We were delighted to be contacted by Coca-Cola to provide new trees to complement their recycling concept. The Native Woodland Trust is the only non-profit in Ireland with a network of nature reserves where we plant new woodlands, so we were able to commit to planting new trees for Coca-Cola as part of the Melodic Wood initiative which comes under their World Without Waste global strategy.
Can you tell us a bit about Ireland’s Ancient Woods?
Ireland’s Ancient Woodlands are those that have been in continuous existence since at least 1650 – this means that they predate most imports of trees and are directly descended from the primeval forests that once covered almost all of Ireland. They are the most biodiverse habitats we have and are often home to rare and unusual species.
What do you think Ireland’s woodland will look like in 30 years?
A few things will change – but gradually. We will continue to lose our old and ancient woodlands – they are not all protected and the protection is poorly policed. We will also lose some more species – some perhaps due to climate change – and gain some too – especially insects and birds. But our Ash trees, which is one of the most common trees in the country and famously used to make hurleys, will become as rare as Elm trees are today.
What would happen if Ireland lost its woodland and nature reserves?
We would lose a huge part of our cultural and environmental heritage. Trees and woods were a significant part of Gaelic culture – with even our native Ogham alphabet having its letters twinned with the different trees of the forest. We would also lose our connection to the original primeval forests of Ireland – which once were thronged with bears and wolves and were the source of many myths and legends. And of course, we would lose biodiversity in a very significant way.
What worries you the most about climate breakdown?
On a small island like Ireland, many species will not have the ability to simply move north – so we may lose some species. Higher temperatures and changing weather patterns may also add stress to various habitats, like woodlands and make them more prone to damage and disease. Climate change may very well alter the composition of our woodlands and change the face of our countryside.
How sustainable do you think Ireland’s festivals are?
They’re clearly improving hugely and its clearly part of the ethos of just about every festival now. Most festivals also now invite environmental groups to have a stand or kiosk, which is a great way to get our messages across to people and to allow them to actually engage with us in ways that we can’t do on social media or email.
What does the Native Woodland Trust hope to achieve in the future, what are its aims?
We are also trying to prevent the loss of any more Ancient Woodland. We only have approximately 0.1 percent of those woodlands left – so 99.9 percent have been cut down, and yet now in the 21st century, we’re still losing some of what’s left. We would ultimately like to be able to plant a huge new forest – thousands of acres, which could make a really meaningful difference to people of wildlife.
How can we help the Native Woodland Trust?
There are lots of ways to help – join as a member, sponsor some trees – as presents, to offset your carbon or just because you want to. Come and volunteer with us – especially if you live near one of our reserves, there’s always lots of work to get involved with. If you run a company or work for one who will listen – get them to take out a corporate sponsorship with us.
Are businesses and specific corporations causing the most issues regarding the conservation of our landscapes?
Obviously agriculture and industry has a huge impact – but we as individuals are consuming these outputs and as a species, humanity needs to change its very wasteful behaviour. If we become less wasteful, we can change the behaviour of those businesses that produce them and who use up our natural resources.
Wherever humans go, we tend to wipe out wildlife. We need to give some space back to nature and to leave it to its own devices, without human interference.
What is it about Ireland’s landscapes that makes you so inspired and passionate?
For such a small island, we have such diverse landscapes, many of them as dramatic and picturesque as anywhere in the world. Within these, there are so many wild habitats that are home to our many native plants and animals. There’s something still innately wild about Ireland and its landscapes and its always a pleasure to be outdoors in nature in Ireland.
You can watch the Melodic Wood’s All Together Now journey here –and join the conversation using #WorldWithoutWaste. To volunteer with the Native Woodland Trust, click here.