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Conversations demanding environmental protection have been around for many decades, but it was only until 1970 that 20 million people in the took the streets across the U.S. to protest against environmental devastation, marking this day (April 22nd) as the official moment when the global environmental movement was born. Today, 51 years forward, the conditions and resources of Earth are compromised by the actions of few, and although discouraging news hail everyday, every small effort counts—bringing the possibility to overturn systemic environmental abuse.
That said, on a brighter side, many of us are finding ways to enact responsible action through our work. Artists, designers and musicians are heralds of cultural change. Artists have been raising public awareness, designers have been developing eco-friendly materials and products, and musicians have acted as public ambassadors of the environment. But as discussions around the way we relate to Earth continue to heat up, musicians are increasingly joining environmental causes and practices.
The past two decades have seen the rise of big figures stating publicly their affiliation to environmental programs. Moby, since mid-2000s, has been an active animal-rights activist working with PETA and donating to organisations such as The Humane Society, also devoted to animal protection. Björk campaigns to protect the natural resources of her homeland, Iceland, and supports the creation of sustainable organisations. And Alanis Morissette, Maroon 5 and Thom Yorke—besides working with Reverb, an organisation that helps monitor musicians’ footprint during tours—are vegan, support projects that integrate alternative energy systems, and opt performing shows in environmentally-friendly venues, respectively.
And the list continues.
The power of the music industry and the environmental impact of music shows are hefty. Despite the gloom of the 2020 that left the music industry almost at halt, followed by a second round of lockdowns this year, the industry is predicted to double in size in all the three core sectors (live, recordings and publishing) by 2030. That’s the double of a former prediction made in last May, when the industry was projected to grow 25% by 2030. That means that as soon as venues start reopening and travel becomes available, the music industry will come back as it has never before. So what can musicians do for the environment once they’re back on the road? A lot, even if that means a little. For this reason, many are joining independent groups that acknowledge the environmental crisis and foster a greener industry, such as the Music Declares Emergency.
There are many ways in which we can all make a difference. Paul McCartney said, in an interview with Vice in December 2019, that this is a slow revolution. Likewise, he reminds us—and so we do—that protesting, reducing waste and water and energy consumption will help us get there a little faster. For now, make a vow to the environment and enjoy this playlist featuring musicians who have signed the Music Declares Emergency.
+ Words: Alejandra Espinosa, Luxiders Magazine Editor
Liberal Arts graduate | Berlin-based writer
Connect with her through alejandraespinosa.site