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Envision Festival Powered By Renewables & “Leave No Trace” Principles

The Envision Festival, taking place this week along the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is one of those things that I’ve often dreamt of, thinking, “wouldn’t it be awesome if…”. The festival combines pretty much all of my favorite activities: permaculture, yoga, surf, community-building, holistic health, and yes, even renewable energy. The festival, now in its 7th year, is taking place February 23–26th in Uvita, Costa Rica (yes, tickets are still available, and yes, you should definitely go).

Recently, I had the pleasure to interview Stephen Brooks, one of the inspirational visionaries behind the Envision Festival. He’s not a typical festival guy. Brooks is an ethnobotanist that has grown into a respected permaculture expert. He had always had an interest in sustainability, but was spurred on by a scary event he witnessed while visiting Costa Rica many years ago: kids being sprayed by aerial application of agricultural chemicals on a Chiquita banana plantation. He decided to dedicate his time to building a healthier, more natural Costa Rica. He said in a phone interview that he wanted to be, “Completely ejected from the system” in which he was living. He’s now been in Costa Rica 21 years.

He’s since created the Envision Festival based on principles of community, permaculture and sustainability, as well as the Medicines from the Edge herbal medicine conference. Brooks has also built Punta Mona, an educational center home to permaculture workshops, herbal convergences, tours, jungle camps and more. The farm at Punta Mona is 85 acres of primary and secondary rainforest.

Permaculture is very cool: explained as “a multidisciplinary study, set of principles and ethics that offer a guideline and methodology to conserve and regenerate natural systems, intentionally design human settlements and maximize efficiency and while using less energy.” It’s permanent agriculture … self-sufficient (no need for foreign inputs of chemicals, as the ecosystem itself creates healthy soils and beneficial insects and other predators of pests to keep crop damage to a minimum).


I’m headed back to Costa Rica after more than a decade away, and looking forward to experiencing all these principles in action, but mostly looking forward to meeting all the wonderful and like-minded people that will be there to celebrate the convergence of sustainability, health, and wellness. This festival is unlike so many others, as sustainability is literally woven into the core principles:

  • No single use anything; everything is long-term. Dishes are returned after each meal, tents are repurposed each year and rented to attendees, and food waste is composted.
  • Renewable energy: while Costa Rica is a global leader in renewable energy, and the grand majority of grid energy is renewable, the festival organizers took steps to ensure that on-site energy was also renewable. Lighting is LED, and generators to power stages are driven by biodiesel.
  • Building materials: the festival has sourced locally, primarily using (and re-using) bamboo, a fast growing and readily renewable building material, to assemble stages, huts, and other fixtures on the property.
  • Food and wellness: food will be locally sourced, organic, and vegetarian–pretty much the venn diagram of low-carbon, healthy food. There will be an onsite herbal first aid tent. The list goes on, and if that’s your bag, check out Andrea’s post on Vibrant Wellness Journal about all the healthy/spiritual/foodie stuff.

Ready to come join me for a few days in paradise?

Find Envision on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on the web. Grab tickets here.

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