How Touring The World Affects The Environment

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As of 2019, the aviation industry is estimated to have consumed almost 100 billion gallons of fossil fuels globally.

As musicians find themselves skyrocketing to fame, and even becoming iconic figures; with this success, comes an incredible platform – the ability to speak to, and influence thousands, millions of people. With this kind of privilege comes a staggering amount of power; with the ability to influence such a massive amount of people, many can argue that those in the spotlight have a social responsibility to speak out when it comes to issues affecting the world and society. 

By promoting positive ideals, many who see their favourite musicians as role models may find themselves changing their perspectives for the better, especially when it comes to implementing decisive, practical solutions in their own lives which ultimately affect society as a whole.

Recently, many high profile musicians have been vocal advocates when it comes to the climate crisis; campaigning for practical change, raising money for environmental groups (such as Extinction Rebellion) with their music and building an incredible amount of awareness as to what we can all do to tackle the devastating issues facing our planet. However, there’s an underlying predicament that many high-profile musicians are being forced to face, which is a painful reality: jetting around the world is incredibly harmful to the environment, with aviation burning fossil fossil fuels at a terrifyingly high rate.

While it may seem like a relatively small statistic in the face of the leading causes of the climate crisis (such as the animal agriculture industries), aviation alone accounts for a staggering 2% of global carbon emissions. For many, this is news – as even though it may be obvious, the true extent of the damage caused by the aviation industry is generally not common knowledge. In 2019, it is estimated that the aviation industry has reached a global fuel consumption of 97 billion gallons, which is a shocking impact on the environment.

Superstars and iconic figures such as Billie Eilish and Thom Yorke have recently addressed the innate problem when to comes to environmentalism and touring as an artist. In an interview with BBC Radio 4, Thom Yorke spoke of his personal contribution to the climate crisis. Branding himself as hypocrite, the Radiohead frontman and soloist stated:

…if I’m campaigning on climate change, I’m someone who has to fly for my work so…

I totally agree I’m a hypocrite but… what do you want to do about it?

He then explains that one of the most important factors in campaigning against the climate crisis is action by the UN and Parliament (which needs to be focused on immediately).

Billie Eilish, who, too, is an outspoken environmentalist, has shared her plans for her upcoming world tour, which aims to be as eco-friendly as possible. Speaking to talk show host Jimmy Fallon, Eilish explains how her tour will include a “Billie Eilish Eco-Village” at every venue she visits; ensuring the use of sustainable materials (such as no plastic straws) and a focus on recycling at every turn. On top of which, the Eco-VIllage is set to provide a space for her fans to learn more about climate change, while sharing practical solutions that individuals can implement in their lives to live consciously.

While it is difficult to completely fault musicians for touring the world as it constitutes a significant part of their career, it is important to see these same artists taking action in as many ways as they possibly can; while advocacy does not directly reduce the incredibly harmful effects of aviation, information and awareness are key in finding solutions and alternatives when it comes to the many factors that are eating away at our planet – as they are quite literally difference between life and death.