Music Declares Emergency is a pressure group formed of people from and connected to the music industry who work toward making the industry, and world, more sustainable.
We believe that greening the music industry is a necessary part of creating a fertile environment for artists to speak out and create their own work around climate.
MDE works in the United Kingdom with Julie’s Bicycle, another climate and music focused group. They have radial outreach, contacting governments, musicians, industry leaders, vendors, and fans. They’ve brought together experts in multiple fields to figure out ways to make music greener.
The Climate Pack
Brian Eno writes in the MDE Climate Pack,
Could it then be the case that the ‘climate emergency’ is also an opportunity, a chance to rethink – not just to prevent something bad but also to create something new and good?
Approaching the climate crisis as a chance to not just restore, but improve the planet? Reason #2,897 we love musicians.
The Climate Pack starts off with the facts, and then spices in some inspiration, then drops a lot more facts on us. We’ve read so many reasons why we need to take action, it is truly helpful to get concrete steps on what to do
The pack is broken into sections: artists, touring, labels, venues, merchandise, management, and music lover.
Much of what is written is common sense (take public transportation, do virtual meetings instead of driving all over the place, eat less meat). However, reading what people who have been, and still are, working in the industry know we can do, makes it more powerful.
Green YOUR Merch
One of the best sections is about merchandise, and it is an area that might be more easily changed than getting a festival run on biofuels. There’s info on sourcing shirts and ink, and a reminder to not wrap the shirts in plastic. Even more important, artists can interact with their public, telling them why these sustainably made shirts cost a little more.
A great recommendation is to get rid of the crap – the little trinkets and fan service stuff that just ends up littering the ground or in a dump. While selling merch helps bring in money needed by the artists, there could be more meaningful things to sell than plastic key chains and bracelets. MDE suggests signed art, which would sell for more and be better valued.
We’ve written about the awful impact music festivals have on the environment. Some festivals and many venues are examining what they do, often prompted by the artists. The first step is to understand and measure what you are doing now, so you can identify where to improve.
For example, some festivals and venues are forgoing any plastic cups or bottles, and instead providing a metal cup for a small deposit. The cup can be used the whole time, and then you get your money back when you return it.
Glastonbury Festival is a multiday legendary monster of a festival. In 2019 it banned plastic bottles after their research showed the five day fest used more than 1,300,000 plastic bottles. That usage wasn’t unusual for a large fest. Glasto has also banned plastic cutlery and requires that all plates etc are compostable. It can be done!