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Earth Day 2021: the artists fighting for a better world

The theme for this year’s Earth Day is ‘Restore Our Earth’. Responding to the ongoing climate crisis, artists across the music industry have been taking action to reduce their carbon footprint, and using their influence to motivate fans to do the same.

For artists, a huge source of income is touring, which often involves travelling overseas. However, this is one of the major contributors to rising emissions within the music industry. Eco-conscious bands like Radiohead have taken steps to offset their airmiles, as well as using tour buses that run on biofuel and encouraging fans to use public transport to get to their shows. Billie Eilish partnered with environmental organisation Reverb to make her last tour as green as possible, setting up ‘eco-villages’ where fans could learn how to make a difference. Aside from tour travel, music merchandise counts for a large amount of emissions. The 1975 have made an effort to provide sustainable souvenirs at their shows, by offering to print their designs onto unsold merchandise as a way of recycling.

The rise of social media has created a whole new era of artist to fan interaction. It’s given artists an outlet for their environmental activism and the potential to share their thoughts with thousands of followers at the click of a button. Architects frontman Sam Carter uses his platform to speak out against climate change and surrounding issues, voicing support for organisations like Sea Shepherd who campaign to conserve marine wildlife.

In a collective response, it isn’t just artists but those behind the scenes taking action. PRS Foundation has created a Music For Change award to celebrate artists who use their platforms to shed light on the climate emergency. Indie record companies such as Beggars Group and Ninja Tune have pledged to become carbon negative. Sony Music has taken steps to remove single use plastic from its offices, as well as supporting WWF’s Earth Hour, where people around the world switch off their lights to show that small individual actions can make a difference. Universal Music has partnered up with One Tree Planted to plant 10,000 trees, which will help to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. Glastonbury festival has banned plastic water bottles on its site and discouraged single use tents. These initiatives all contribute to the reduction of rubbish ending up in landfill or in the oceans, threatening ecosystems which are essential to regulating the climate.

To coincide with Earth Day, Music Declares Emergency has introduced #turnupthevolume week, raising awareness on climate change and the work being done within the music industry.


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