Friday, October 09, 2020

Music Declares Emergency: No Music on A Dead Planet

There is a continued rise in greenhouse gas emissions, and failure to do anything to reverse these effects only enhances the ongoing devastation of the natural world, ultimately resulting in a clear and present threat to life on earth. For immediate action, it requires a collective governmental, and societal response to protect us from climate and ecological catastrophe. However, at present, neither seem capable or overly worried. Due to this ineptitude, musicians and music businesses have taken matters into their own hands. Through their unique cultural and economic power, they realised that music can start an ecological revolution.

 A leading force in this ecological revolution is Music Declares Emergency. An independent group, created by artists, music industry professionals and organisations concerned at the lack of a cohesive, industry-wide response to the climate emergency. MDE represent all areas of the music industry and wholeheartedly promote inclusivity, irrespective of genre, role, gender, race or sexuality. MDE realised that for cohesive action, inclusivity of everyone in the music industry must be at the forefront of proceedings, as only together can we push for real change. MDE is an independent group that includes individuals who have been directly inspired by, or involved in other successful critical protests such as Extinction Rebellion and Culture Declares Emergency. So you know they're not messing aro

Governments rarely listen to protests and act with immediate response, however, what protests are capable of is forcing people in power to acknowledge the problem. To use Greta Thunberg's analogy concerning the climate crisis: "The house is on fire, and there isn't time for whoever started the fire with their cigarette to quit smoking before saying the house is on fire – it's on fire now, and we need to fix this. Let's change our lifestyles, let's fly less, let's use less plastic – but ultimately what's needed is a governmental response."  Now with the powerful backing of influential figures such as Billie Eilish, Foals, and Annie Lennox OBE to name just a few of the artists already signed up, the problem becomes very hard to overlook.

The music industry and musicians are key forces in the fight against the climate emergency. They can help drive the ambition of the European Green Deal, amplifying the message through their music, and demonstrating their commitment through real, significant changes. The 1975 have taken full force of these actions. Their next gig live from Finsbury Park is set to be their greenest-ever, with hybrid-powered generators, and all tickets paperless to reduce their carbon footprint. These actions spurred a collective response from the concert promoter, Festival Republic, who vowed to plant 1,975 trees throughout the surrounding boroughs of Haringey, Hackney and Islington in partnership with Trees for Cities. A key example of how when artists make the first move in response to a societal issue, it generates a positive collective response. 

Fay Milton, co-founder of Music Declares Emergency explained: "There's such a short period of time to make the changes we need to make, and to make people wake up and realise that there isn't time for everyone to change everything they do," No Music On A Dead Planet, MDE's slogan is incredibly damning and harrowing, but in instances where ignorance appears to be the consensus, the outcome has to appear bleak for change to happen. However, through inclusivity and cohesive action, there is still hope that there can be a change for the better.

- Ben Broyd


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