Bristol-based band Massive Attack are partnering with climate scientists to examine the impact of the music industry on the environment by helping to map its carbon footprint.
Researchers from Manchester University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research will analyse data from Massive Attack’s touring schedule with an aim to provide information and guidance to the wider music industry to reduce negative environmental impact in the midst of the increasing climate emergency.
The data will look at the sources of carbon emissions from the band’s touring schedule. It will look at three key areas where CO2 emissions are generated – band travel and production, audience transport and venue.
In a statement, Massive Attack said: “For some time, despite taking consistent steps to reduce the environmental impact associated with an internationally touring music group, we’ve been concerned and preoccupied with the carbon footprint of our schedules and the wider impact of our sector overall. This concern has deepened with each new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the universal acceptance of the climate & biodiversity emergency.
“Any unilateral statement or protest we make alone as one band will not make a meaningful difference. In pursuing systemic change, there is no substitute for collective action. In contribution to this action, we’re announcing the commission of the renowned Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at The University of Manchester – a body that brings together scientists, economists, engineers and social scientists to research options to mitigate Global Warming – to map thoroughly the carbon footprint of band tour cycles, and to present options that can be implemented quickly to begin a meaningful reduction of impact.”
In an article written for The Guardian, Massive Attack vocalist Robert del Naja aka 3D explained that while the band had taken unilateral steps for nearly two decades – like paying to have trees planted, prohibiting the use of single-use plastics and travelling by train wherever feasible – advanced carbon offset models posed serious issues too.
He wrote: “Evidence suggests that offset programmes can wreak serious havoc for the often voiceless indigenous and rural communities who have done the least to create the problem…Ultimately, carbon offsetting transfers emissions from one place to another rather than reducing them.”
Robert Del Naja said that while the band had considered ending touring altogether, they acknowledged that “an entire international roster of acts would need to stop touring to achieve the required impact”.
He added: “Given the current polarised social atmosphere, uplifting and unifying cultural events are arguably more important now than ever, and no one would want to see them postponed or even cancelled. The challenge therefore is to avoid more pledges, promises and greenwashing headlines and instead embrace seismic change.”
Massive Attack’s partnership with Manchester University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research will produce a blueprint which will be shared with other touring acts, promoters and festival/venue owners to take action on in reducing their carbon footprint.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com