What musicians can do

Environmentalism in music

www.anujasawant.com – by Anuja Sawant Sarangdhar | 21 May 2016

“I have been collecting songs that talk about the condition about our environment and is available for anyone to view in this YouTube playlist. However, environmentalism in music has been more than just these songs. Efforts have been made to greenify the music industry across the world.

There have been quantitative studies such as the study that revealed the carbon footprint of the UK music industry. They were alone responsible for 540,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

To get things into perspective, I used EPA’s greenhouse gas equivalancies calculator to find out what 540,000 tonnes of GHG emissions really means.

It looks something like this:


On a global scale, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other partners, the UN Music & Environment Initiative was initiated. It aims to leverage the power of music to address some of the most pressing environmental problems facing the planet. According to this initiative, the music industry’s impact on the environment is broadly associated with the following activities:

  • Business operations
  • Business Travel
  • Recording/Studios
  • CD Manufacturing
  • Live events
  • Venues
  • Touring (performance and promotional)
  • Merchandise and promotional materials
  • Ticketing
  • Digital delivery of music content
  • Instruments
  • Sound & Lighting
  • Music listening devices
  • Audience Travel

The music industry has been trying to compensate for this with solar-powered stages, help reduce waste, offset carbon dioxide emissions, promote eco-friendly merchandise and encourage recycling, organic T-shirts produced using renewable energy, powering recording studios with solar power, committing to emissions reductions via CD packaging and offering temporary water fountains as an alternative to bottled water at live events.

The next time you go to some music performance, I guess you’ll think about this. I will.

The Green Music Group is a project of the non-profit organization Reverb. GMG is a large-scale, high-profile environmental coalition of musicians, industry leaders and music fans using our collective power to bring about widespread environmental change within the music industry and around the globe. Good to see some of my favorites there: Linkin Park, Dave Matthews band, Paramore, and Maroon 5. Do you have a favorite in there too? And here’s ;Skyler Jett. He sings Think Green. Skyler is deeply committed to the Environment and to bringing awareness of Green issues through his music and throughout the entertainment industry.”


Environmentalism in music

“Music can be transformative”

“Addressing climate change before it is too late to avoid potentially catastrophic consequences is the most urgent issue we are facing today. We will only be able to do so if the public becomes directly engaged. By enabling the performance of science-guided music that directly reflects the climate’s past and possible futures, we can move climate change from the realm of the abstract to the personal. We believe that music can be transformative in rallying people and inspiring action.”
~ www.theclimatemusicproject.org


Australian musicians invest in solar farms

Midnight Oil, Cloud Control, Vance Joy and Regurgitator join FEAT., a new platform encouraging their industry to back sustainability.

» The Guardian – 4 June 2019:
Australian musicians band together to invest in solar farms


Australian Music Scene Climate Change Declaration

“The world’s leading climate scientists have warned that there are only 10.5 years to act to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of extreme weather and heat, drought, floods and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

Musicians, record labels, booking agents, management companies and distributors across our country recognise the serious threat climate change poses. We call on all politicians to take urgent action. Collectively, we create a choir of voices that are loud and proud in calling on all politicians to take urgent action.

We the undersigned demand that all levels of government:

• Take action on climate change as a priority;
• Ban all new coal mines and expansions in Australia and set timelines to phase out existing coal mines and power stations;
• Bring Australia’s Paris emissions targets into line with what the science and independent experts recommend: a cut of 45-65% on our 2005 levels by 2030.
• Take urgent and serious action to cut carbon pollution through strong reduction incentives;
• Completely withdraw from the Adani Carmichael mine, rail and port project; and
• End all public subsidies for fossil fuel projects, and shift funds to renewable energy projects and put electric vehicle incentives in place.

Signed by over 70 Australian musicians and groups

» Green Music Australia – June 2019:
Music Scene Climate Change Declaration


Canadian musicians against fracking

Canadian artists, writers and musicians ranging from Hey Rosetta to novelist Joseph Boyden are pushing for action to protect Gros Morne National Park in western Newfoundland. They’ve signed an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Paul Davis urging a buffer zone to prevent hydraulic fracturing and other development near the UNESCO world heritage site.

» Huffington Post – 12 January 2015:
Artists demand Harper protect national park from fracking



“It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you’re from, if you believe in something, and you love the land, and the rivers, then you put yourself on the line to defend it. One hundred years ago our ancestors answered the call to help their mates in strife overseas. Today, greed is the enemy and the battle is on our land. So much of rural Australia needs our help. Hopefully, this action can inspire others to find out what’s really happening out here and to realise they can make a difference.”
Luke O’Shea



Musicians campaign in Australia:

Amplify Divestment

‘Amplify Divestment’ focuses the cultural power of musicians on the fastest growing effort to tackle global warming – fossil fuel divestment. Amplify Divestment brings together musicians who have pledged to take their money out of banks and superannuation funds that are funding the expansion of the fossil fuel industry when the science tells us we have to stop. These musicians are joining a movement with huge momentum, a movement of universities, churches, investment funds and thousands of people saying “it is wrong to wreck the climate and we want no part of that.” And as musicians, they are amplifying that message, singing it for the world to hear.
Amplify Divestment is helping musicians with the practical process of divesting and with communicating it to their fans. Learn more about the project and the issues here and join us!

» Read more: www.amplifydivestment.org

“It seems our Earth has got a fever…”
Jarrett Cherner


Using music to promote values for sustainability

Ana Person, a Brazilian musician, has created an Earth Charter workshop for children using music to promote values.

Through playing music, the project wants the participant to become aware of the musical aspects linked to the Earth Charter values. Some activities consist in reflecting and perceiving the different sounds of the world in which participants are immersed while producing music; playing instruments made of recycled objects; interacting with spontaneous movements, where each participant’s skills contribute to the group performance.

» www.cartadaterra.anaperson.com.br

Climate Songs

“I started rewriting the lyrics of some wonderful songs and filled them with my feelings about climate change – frustration, impatience, deception, grief, hope, anger, persistence – the strength of a good cause, the love of life on earth and the love of my wife and my children.”

» www.climatesongs.com

» Climate Songs youtube-channel

» Other sites with climate songs

Musicians against fracking

In March 2015, Musicians United for Safe Energy, MUSE, an activist group founded in 1979, joined the activist group Food & Water Watch and partnered with Movement Music Records to put out a compilation record, ‘Buy This Fracking Album’, where 22 artists have provided tracks to in an effort to spread the word about the dangers of fracking.

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to raise money for the production of album which will contain music by Pete Seeger, Michael Franti, Bonnie Raitt, John Butler Trio and 18 other artists.



Climate Message Video Festival

If you are a performer in any idiom, you can join the Climate Message Video Festival – an online initiative bringing together musicians from all over the world to increase awareness of climate change: www.theclimatemessage.com

“The goal is to have an even 1,000 videos by Earth Day, 22 April 2014,” writes Warren Senders who is initiator of the festival:

“Whether we reach that number or not, the Climate Message Video Festival will keep on keepin’ on. The goal is to have sounds and voices from all over the world saying in as many different languages and styles as possible that the time to get serious about climate change is NOW.”

» To make a Climate Message video, here’s how: Use a smartphone or webcam (or a friend’s) and record about a minute’s worth of your music and talking. Then email it to theclimatemessage@gmail.com, along with your name, contact information, and any details you want included.

Warren Senders will then upload it to a YouTube channel, and feature it on The Climate Message website. Eventually all the videos will be linked to an interactive world map.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Climate Message from Warren Senders, teacher and performer of Indian classical music – Massachusetts, USA

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The Climate Message

“No stable climate – no music. It’s as simple as that.” Musicians are beginning to speak out about climate change

“The Climate Message” is an advocacy project aimed at making it easier for musicians and performers to speak out on climate change in their public appearances.

“No stable climate – no music. It’s as simple as that. Thank you! And now, our next song is….”

A ‘Climate Service Announcement’ can help normalize discussion of climate while linking it to humanity’s most vibrant and diverse artform.

» Sign up to participate at www.theclimatemessage.com

Climate Message from Jarrett Cherner, pianist – Brooklyn, New York, USA

Climate Message from Banning Eyre, radio broadcaster, writer, musician – Connecticut, USA

Climate Message from Richard Davis, composer, vocalist, kirtankar – Berklee professor, USA

Climate Message from Susie Petrov, accordion-player – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Climate Message from Isaac Taylor

Climate Message from Beet the System (Baba Ndjhoni & Sven Eberlein of Chemystry Set) performing ‘Thwart One Four’

Climate Message from Mac Ritchey, oud-player and engineer – Carlisle, Massachusetts, USA

Climate Message music piece by Roger Aldridge, composer – Olney, Maryland, USA

Climate Message from Apratim Majumdar, sarod-player – Calcutta, India

Climate Message from Nani Agbeli – Lunga – Ghana, West Africa

Climate Message from David Claman, composer – Queens, New York, USA

Climate Message from Hanzheng Li (in Chinese), pianist – Fuzhou, China

Climate Message from Jamey Haddad, Hadgini drummer – Oberlin, Ohio, USA

Climate Message from Shubhendra Rao, sitar-player – New Delhi, India

Climate Message from Ishaan Rao, 9-year-old pianist – New Delhi, India

Climate Message from Ellynne Rey, singer – Connecticut, USA

Climate Message from Ravi Naimpally, tabla-player – Toronto, Canada

Climate Message from Benjamin Stewart, tabla-player – Brooklyn, New York, USA

Climate Message from Paolo Millet and Chiara Negro, harmonica & Hurdy-Gurdy player – Ivrea (near Torino), Italy

Climate Message from Lou Natale, singer, guitarist – Toronto, Canada

Climate Message from Tracy Bonham & Izzy Waters, voice, keyboards – Eugene, OR, USA

Climate Message from Leslie Helpert, guitar player and singer – Barcelona, Spain


Read, see and listen more:

What artists can do

Concerned musicians communicate climate problems



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