Entertainment

‘We Must Act Quickly’: British Music Biz Declares Climate Emergency

Artists, labels, venues and promoters from across the U.K. have come together to declare a climate emergency.

Radiohead, Foals, Hot Chip, Chrissie Hynde, Suede, Wolf Alice, Alt-J, and Tom Odell are among the acts that have signed the declaration, which calls on governments and media organizations to tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency.

Other signatories include all three major record labels, indies Beggars Group, Domino, Warp, Ninja Tune, Cooking Vinyl, Abbey Road Studios, The BRIT School, Coda Agency and promoters Festival Republic, SJM Concerts, as well as trade bodies Association of Independent Music (AIM), Music Venue Trust and Association of Independent Festivals (AIF).  

The initiative is being led by Music Declares Emergency, a newly formed independent group of artists, executives, companies and music industry trade bodies “concerned at the lack of a cohesive, industry wide response to the climate emergency.”

Their declaration urges governments to reverse biodiversity loss and reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2030. It also commits signatories towards taking urgent action to address the environmental impact of music industry practices and the sharing of best practice.

Other aims include all parties speaking up about climate change and working towards making the music business ecologically sustainable and regenerative. 

“Music, musicians and music businesses, through their unique cultural and economic power, can lead the way in demanding the systemic changes required to secure all life on earth,” reads a statement on the Music Declares Emergency website. 

“We call on all those within the industry to join us in declaring a climate emergency and to work towards making the cultural and operational changes necessary to contribute towards a carbon neutral future,” it goes on to say. 

Organizers say they have been inspired by the recent Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Culture Declares Emergency campaigns, as well as the actions of long-standing environmental charities such as London-based Julie’s Bicycle, founded in 2007. 

“As I sat at a music festival in the desert, watching Extinction Rebellion’s action unfold so beautifully in London, I realised that something had to change,” reflected Fay Milton, drummer with Savages and a member of the MDE working group. She said the declaration of a climate emergency was the first step to creating real change. “We face a climate and ecological emergency and the only proportionate response is to act boldly and act now,” warned Milton.

“It’s astonishing how it’s been 30 years or more since these issues became obvious and yet we are still in the early stages,” noted Chrissie Hynde. “This declaration needs to be the moment where music steps up and really pushes the truth to our audiences and confronts governments so that things happen much more quickly,” she stated. 

British singer-songwriter Tom Odell added, “We must act, otherwise we shall have no one to blame but ourselves.” Other artists who have signed the declaration include Nadine Shah, Geoff Barrow, Giles Peterson, Bernard Butler, Beth Orton, Guy Chambers, Carleen Anderson, Ezra Furman, Coldcut and Bonobo. 

Last month, a survey by Ticketmaster revealed that sustainability was one of the top issues for British festival-goers, with two in three people (62%) saying that the environmental impact of festivals was their number one concern for 2019. 

This summer has also seen Live Nation commit to the elimination of single use plastics at all its festivals by 2021 as part of its Green Nation global sustainability charter. The company has also pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030.


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