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Artists and music companies come together to demand action on the climate emergency

By | Published on Friday 12 July 2019

Music Declares Emergency

A flood of music companies – including promoters, managers, agents, venues, festivals, labels and publishers, and all three majors – have teamed up with some fired-up artists, including Savages, Wolf Alice, Nadine Shah, Ezra Furman, Radiohead, Beth Orton, Suede, Ed Harcourt and Nitin Sawhney, to collectively demand action on what it calls the “climate and ecological emergency”. You know, so we have fewer floods and fires. Which would be nice.

The collective has been brought together by a new not-for-profit organisation which calls itself Music Declares Emergency. The aim of the group being to enable the UK music community to formally declare a climate and ecological emergency. Though, given that no one was really waiting for the music industry to do such a thing, it’s more about rallying said community behind the wider and increasingly vocal campaign that is calling for urgent and significant government action on climate change.

The new organisation will also urge its supporters to do everything they can to ensure that the music industry itself becomes truly “ecologically sustainable and regenerative”, including sharing information between competing businesses on how that can be achieved in the most efficient way.

Among those leading the campaign is Alison Tickell, MD of Julie’s Bicycle, a charity that has been championing and facilitating initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of the music and wider arts industries for more than a decade.

In a statement issued this morning, she says: “It has never been more important to understand the gravity of the climate crisis and to do more. Music Declares Emergency was created to enable the UK music industry to declare a climate and ecological emergency, to accelerate collaboration and ambition in order to meet critical targets, and to call on government to use their policy and investment tools to help us to reach those goals”.

In that declaration, artists and their business partners call on governments across the world to “act now to reverse biodiversity loss and reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2030”. It also calls on governments and the media “to tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency”, before adding “we recognise that the emergency has arisen from global injustices and will work towards systemic change to protect life on Earth”.

Also recognising that the music community can only really start making such demands of others if it is taking action itself closer to home, the Music Declares Emergency statement adds: “We acknowledge the environmental impact of music industry practices and commit to taking urgent action”. To that end, those involved in Music Declares Emergency will “jointly support one another, sharing expertise as a collective industry and community” and “work towards making our businesses ecologically sustainable and regenerative”.

Among those on the MDE working group is Fay Milton of Savages, who says of the new campaign: “As I sat at a music festival in the desert, watching Extinction Rebellion’s action unfold so beautifully in London, I realised that something had to change. It seemed like the music world had lost touch with reality, partying like there’s no tomorrow, when ‘no tomorrow’ has become the forecast”.

“On realising I wasn’t alone with these thoughts”, she adds, “Music Declares Emergency was born. The momentum of support has been huge and making a declaration is just the first step to creating real change. We face a climate and ecological emergency and the only proportionate response is to act boldly and act now”.

Among the industry supporters is Warner, where Mike Smith, MD of the Warner Chappell publishing business, says: “It’s vital that we back this campaign. The threat from climate change is real and we all need to play our part in combating it. Music may not have the impact of some other industries, but we can still do more to reduce our own carbon footprint and use our platform to spread the message that action needs to be taken”.

Numerous independent music firms are also backing the campaign, and the CEO of the Association Of Independent Music, Paul Pacifico, adds: “There is no doubt that we are facing a global climate emergency, the effects of which are becoming ever clearer in our daily lives. It is crucial that we do everything we can to change our own behaviours and the behaviours of the world’s biggest corporations, and that we influence governments in order to secure a positive future for our planet”.

For more information on the campaign and all the people and companies backing it, check www.musicdeclares.net.



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