Sustainability in the Music Industry
Updated: Sep 8, 2022
Written by: Angelea Hengle
From Greta Van Fleet’s “Brave New World” to Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi'', music has always held space to discuss the environment and climate crises. With social media, especially on TikTik, the world was seeing trends such as stopping the use of plastic straws. However, that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to doing your part in helping leave the world better than you found it. Artists’ involvement in environmental activism doesn’t stop at songwriting; artists like Coldplay are making it their mission to get their fans and followers involved in sustainability.
Musicians for Sustainability
With live music back, it is important to look at how much time, energy, and resources go into not just putting on a show at your local venue, but also how much goes into large-scale tours. Compared to non-music fans, 82% of music fans are concerned about the climate crisis, according to Music Declares Emergency. Both artists and fans alike have taken action to speak out about climate change and what part they play in preserving our planet. Coldplay, Billie Eilish, and The 1975 are a few artists involved. Events such as Coldplay’s “Music of the Spheres” tour is a prime example of what green touring can look like. Here are a few of the changes made:
Single-use plastic cups were replaced with re-usable, special edition Ball Aluminum Cups
Wristbands were made of plant-based, compostable material
Encouraged the use of stationary bikes and dancing on kinetic floors to power the stages
Artists such as Billie Eilish and Shawn Mendes have teamed up with Reverb to bring free water stations and battery recycling to tour stops. Reverb has furthered their partnership with Billie Eilish to create a sustainable edition of her newest album on vinyl that is made with vegetable-based ink and a recycled sleeve and jacket. Harry Styles also teamed up with Reverb to eliminate the use of over 30,000 plastic bottles across his 100 tour dates.
Reverb, a campaign whose slogan is “Leading the Green Movement Since 2004” is a non-profit dedicated to empowering individuals to take their personal step forward in bettering the planet while using music as a catalyst for that connection and change. They firmly believe in the power of numbers and how many people doing little things each day can do so much for the world rather than a handful of people doing everything. Reverb has connected with artists such as Jack Johnson and Maroon 5, plus other festivals and venues to help reduce single-use plastic at shows and increase sustainability in touring.
Music Declares Emergency, is another great resource if you are an artist, industry professional, or are passionate about the environment and music. This group focuses on the threatening amount of greenhouse gas emissions and devastation of the natural world and calls upon a government response to face the climate crisis we are experiencing. Music plays a critical role in our society, such that musicians and industry professionals have the power to call for and make the change that is needed. This important resource has listed multiple ways you as an individual can take action, just based on whether you are an artist, music lover, or industry professional. This ranges from just speaking out about climate change to making environmental sustainability a priority in the office.
Get Involved - Richmond Initiatives
If you are looking to do your part bettering the planet, look no further than our hometown, Richmond!
The City of Richmond has teamed up with Henrico County, Solar United Neighbors, and Viridiant to launch SolarizeRVA, a campaign to help move Richmond towards becoming fully solar-powered. Two solar projects are in the works with a focus on zoning and permits. If looking to start a residential or commercial solar project, you may submit an application for a permit for your solar project. If you are a property owner looking to go solar, you are now allowed to install solar panels in your zone through permitted accessory use. Lastly, you can go solar at home or work! Head to www.rva.gov/sustainability/initiatives to learn about the best solar options for your home, work, and community.
Blog Author - Angelea Hengle: Hey y'all! I'm Angelea and am super excited to be a part of this great team! I'm a recent graduate from DePaul University in Chicago, IL, and am so happy to call Richmond home again. I received my Bachelor of Science in General Management with also a double minor in Psychology and Music Business. In college, I was President of DePaul Dance Company and Co-Event Coordinator for DePaul Music Business Organization. Creativity and artistry have always been a part of who I am and I am so grateful to be in this amazing community.