We have all heard of people with large platforms stepping forward to speak up and spread awareness of the deadly climate crisis that is destroying our planet. However, the music industry has never particularly been a faction of pop culture renowned for its sustainability. That is until now.
Pioneering this change is The 1975, a four piece indie pop group who launched their first major piece of climate advocacy with one of their latest singles, featuring a powerful spoken piece by Greta Thunberg. Despite being notorious for never having guest stars on their songs, the band’s collaboration with the 16 year old climate activist has been incredibly well received by fans, and all the proceeds generated by sales of the song are going to Extinction Rebellion.
Their sustainability scheme is present not only in their produced music but also at their live shows. Over the summer they played at a series of festivals, such as Reading and Leeds and Glastonbury, and their merch stands have been very different than previous years, as printing presses has been set up, encouraging fans to bring in old t-shirts to print over rather than producing thousands of new items of clothing. An even better initiative has been set up for their upcoming tour, where they have teamed up with the non-profit organisation One Tree Planted, which focuses on combatting forestation in the Amazon. One tree will be planted for every ticket purchased- something completely unheard of in the music industry.
These changes come as part of the initiatives their record label, Dirty Hit, are introducing to try and become a more sustainable and environmentally friendly company. Their office no longer uses single-use plastic, and are now wrapping CDs and vinyls in paper packaging instead of plastic. Furthermore, research shows that the new boom in vinyl making is extremely anti-green as it involves the use of toxic acids and PVC, as well as huge amounts of energy in the process of steaming and cooling (who knew hipsters could be so polluting?). As a result, the record label is working to minimise the impact of vinyl production.
There are some who criticise their efforts, as they have taken such a public stance on the climate crisis before becoming 100% carbon efficient, whilst also still taking international flights for touring which is a significant contributor to climate change. However, the point of climate activism is not to point out the hypocrisy of those around us whose every single decision is not necessarily dedicated to the environment. Obviously our time is running out, and in an ideal world everyone would be living completely green and non-polluting lives. However, taking into account how the music industry has never been renowned for its dedication to minimising its carbon footprint, The 1975 are way ahead of the game, not only with their pioneering initiatives but also with how said initiatives will hopefully set a precedent for bands and record labels to come.
Sofie C, Year 13