Musicians Going Green: The Eco Tours

As the world becomes more attune to the climate crisis that we face, we look to celebrities to lead the way in what we can be doing to make a difference.

Over the past decade, we have seen actors and musicians using their platform to raise issues on climate change. Bringing the conversation of global warming to the forefront of minds through award ceremonies and social media, these celebrities have helped stir conversation amongst peers and fans alike.

Whilst talking about climate change to raise awareness is a great start, some are realising that at times like this, actions speak louder than words. In more recent years, musicians have taken an inwards look at their own ecological footprint and what they can do to better it. This is where the concept of Green or Carbon Neutral Tours began.

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The environmental impact of tours

Although a vital element to the music industry, tours and shows are one of the biggest contributing factors for climate change that is caused by musicians. Found from a study in 2010 (published in CNN), live music generated 405,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK alone, that year. A number that is the equivalent to the energy used by 46,000 homes in the US. With such sizeable figures, it cannot be ignored the damage that is being done through tours.

Figures also show that the largest amount of greenhouse gas emission comes from two nearly equal sectors within live music events, and that is ‘audience travel’ (at 33%) and ‘venue’ (at 34%). Although it may be difficult to control the ways in which people choose to travel to and from musicians’ tours, finding alternative methods to power large venues has become a popular choice between artists. So, who are the musicians offering green tours this year?

Billie Eilish

billie eilish

At only 17, Eilish first publicly discussed her concept of going green on tour with chat show host Jimmy Fallon, back in 2019. The singer discussed how the “Where Do We Go?” world tour would be collaborating with a non-profit organisation Reverb to try and make the whole process as eco-friendly as possible. This included removing plastic straws or cups, and fans bringing their own water bottles to the venue. Each show of the 2020 tour also had an eco-village where fans could learn about the importance of sustainability.

In everyday life she also lives a vegan lifestyle and often promotes on social media the importance of caring for our planet. With many people believing that the younger generations are leading this fight against climate change, Billie Eilish is surely a representation of just that. Luckily, this mega-stars 2022 ‘Happier Than Ever’ tour tickets are also still available to buy as well.

Coldplay

coldpaly

Coldplay shocked fans back in 2019 when they stated that until they were able to tour in an “eco-friendly” way, they would be holding off from touring altogether. Amid their concerns for the environment, Coldplay halted the tour for their album, until they could find a way to make shows “not only be sustainable [but] how can it be actively beneficial.” as told by the BBC.

Well luckily enough over the last few years they have managed to create a whole new system for their touring, implementing a range of initiatives to cut the tour’s carbon emissions by 50%. This will include building the stage from sustainable materials such as bamboo and recycled steel. Along with using nearly completely renewable energy to power the show. Also taking into account the number of carbon emissions released through travel by fans, the band has set up an app that allows show-goers to log how they travel to the concerts. If it is low-carbon travel that person will receive discounts whilst at the show, providing an incentive for those going.

Tickets are still available for the eco-friendly world tour.

Justin Timberlake

justin timberlake

One celebrity that has not been quite so well publicized for his ecological efforts is Justin Timberlake. The 2000s heartthrob would not necessarily be anyone’s first guess when it comes to someone who’s doing their bit for the planet, but Timberlake has made strides with changing his lifestyle and his music to be more eco-conscious. One of the ways this has been done is through creating a carbon-neutral footprint on tour.

Back in 2011, Timberlake was awarded for his environmental activism by the Environmental Media Association. Clearly an environmentalist at heart, Timberlake has upheld his commitment to trying to make his carbon footprint neutral throughout tours. Überfacts shared a tweet explaining how this was done:

“During a nationwide tour, Justin Timberlake hired a company to measure the carbon impression of his concerts in the cities where he played. He then paid to have trees and bushes planted in those cities to offset his carbon footprint”. JT is soon to be on tour again, with talks of shows all through 2022.

Massive Attack

massive attack

It seems 2019 was an ecological awakening for more than just one iconic band, as Massive Attack also made headlines for partnering with climate experts Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, to commission them to track their carbon emissions released within a typical tour cycle. After years of trying all other avenues, they felt this was the only way to truly understand what is happening to our planet when music tours are taking place.

Now years later Massive Attack are still fighting the corner for greener solutions within the music industry, after criticising the government for not doing enough to help tackle carbon emissions. Following on from the research found by Tyndall, The Guardian reported that Massive Attack lead singer Rob Del Naja questioned the government’s intentions, asking “Where’s the industrial plan for the scale of the transformation that’s required for the UK economy and society? It doesn’t seem to exist.” Clearly committed to making sure that essential change comes from within the music industry and from within their own band, Massive Attack are yet to give up their fight. Their tour dates for 2022 and 2023 are now available to join the riot.