There’s Something Green Under the Soleil

The traveling Cirque du Soleil is already recommended by PETA and other animal-rights organizations concerned about the welfare of performing animals in traditional circuses. The humans-only spectacle has long been considered the choice for vegans…or at least the ones who are into that sort of thing.

Lately, the Cirque is further upping its already significant do-gooder cred by going green. The San Francisco publication Common Ground reported that the performers’ newest earth-friendly considerations extend from the troupe’s costumes all the way up through reusing their old tent. Some of the circus’ costumes are donated to children’s theater groups. As for other recycling, costume scraps, bits of trim, and sequins from the costume shop are placed in glass balls along with shreds from Cirque programs, and the kooky crafts are then sold as Christmas ornaments for $29 (to people really obsessed with the Cirque, I’m assuming?). Even the circus tents get repurposed in the form of limited-edition messenger bags. Those bags go for $139—no wonder the Cirque can offer so many benefits to its performers.

This billion-dollar operation has eight touring shows, one of which experimented with using biodiesel tour buses. Two of the touring shows have recycling bins, which might seem like a very basic effort, but it has to be coordinated with each new tour location. Beginning in 2006, the company announced its commitment to the environment. The Montreal headquarters recently expanded to become almost 100 percent sustainable, most notably capturing rainwater and using it in the building and for irrigation. The company also takes pains not to contaminate waste water.

Speaking of water quality, the circus’ founder, Guy Lalilberte, announced in October the official launch of the ONE DROP Foundation, dedicated to fighting poverty and disease by granting access to clean water for all. Oh yeah, and they have an international program for street kids, Cirque du Monde.

All this, and the performers are treated well, there are no sad elephants being forced to do tricks, and no creepy clowns! Ringling who?