How the Northwestern Music Scene Can Join Massive Attack’s Call for Climate Action


When we think of climate change, we often conjure up images of large corporations spewing out alarming amounts of carbon dioxide, oil companies dumping oil into waterways and melting polar ice caps. We don’t often think about how we as individuals can contribute to climate change and how our daily hobbies might play a role as well.

Think about the last event you attended. Maybe it was a festival or a night out – have you ever thought about the impact of this event on climate change? Have you ever thought about how to mitigate these impacts industry-wide, or even individually? Whether you have it or not, Massive Attack did.

The trio, made up of members Robert “3D” Del Naja, Adrian “Tricky” Thaws and Grant “Daddy G” Marshall formed in Bristol, England in the late 1980s. has been aware of its carbon footprint and how these footprints contribute to climate change. Through carbon offsets, green energy, the use of local resources and public transportation, the trio has been a leader in the green revolution in the music industry.

In 2019, 3D commissioned a study to better understand how the music industry as a whole contributes to climate change and used this research to call for more government regulations to help achieve net zero carbon emissions or decarbonization. .

Massive Attack partners with Tyndall Center for climate change research

To better understand the issues surrounding the music industry’s impact on climate change, Massive Attack has partnered with a leading climate change research organization known as the Tyndall Center. Using its own tour as a backdrop for the review, the Tyndall Center was able to find solutions to mitigate climate change that go beyond carbon offsets.

During the 2019 Massive Attack Tour, the Tyndall Center looked at everything from transportation, equipment, resources, food, staff, and local resources. This research is the first major look at how the music industry is contributing to climate change, sparking the first real dialogue between industry leaders and governments around the world.

The Tyndall Center went beyond the first evaluation phase of the Massive Attack tour, also developing a roadmap for the wider live music industry to support emissions reductions in line with the Accord. United Nations Climate Change Conference, which aims to reduce global warming by at least 2 degrees Celsius by eliminating carbon emissions to achieve a net zero emissions system. From 2024, countries that have adopted the Paris Climate Agreement will begin to report on the progress of their work.

Tyndall Center recommendations for decarbonization in the music industry

After reviewing the Massive Attack tour, the Tyndall Center published an article with their findings as well as their recommendations. Some of their key points include:

  • Energy consumption in buildings: The first recommendation concerns the indoor use of electricity. The Tyndall Center recommends holding sites accountable for their energy use and, where possible, setting a goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2025. One of the main ways of doing this is that the sites switch to natural gas instead of using fossil fuels as an energy source. .
  • Energy consumption outdoors: Most outdoor festivals depend on diesel generators to power equipment and lighting. The Tyndall Center recommends moving to more sustainable fuel models where generators could run on biofuels with little or no emissions.
  • Surface displacement: Getting people and talent from point A to point B is not only difficult and expensive, it is one of the main contributors to climate change. The Tyndall Center recommends using transportation alternatives that do not contribute to emissions, such as using electric vehicles, trains, and where possible using video conferencing when face-to-face meetings are to take place. to eliminate the need for excessive travel.
  • Flight: This mode of travel is another major contributor to climate change. The demanding tour schedules that many artists face may be better prepared to help cut emissions by 20% by 2025. To do this, the Tyndall Center recommends that the music industry begin supporting fashions. low-carbon air travel as well as reducing their tour times or scheduling their tours in a way that will reduce their time in the air.

These are just a few of the contributions the Tyndall Center has made in their research and do not include all of the recommendations they have made so far. To read all of their recommendations, you can do so here.

Why carbon offsets are not enough

Carbon offsets are a simple solution to a not so simple problem. Basically, they help balance the amount of carbon emissions each year through green energy programs that seek to solve pollution problems. Some examples of carbon offsets include planting trees that absorb carbon dioxide and emit clean oxygen; the implementation of green energies where possible, such as wind, solar and geothermal energy; and cap the amount of fossil fuel used each year.

Massive Attack has used numerous carbon offsets to help reduce its footprint over the past 20 years. They dedicated themselves to donating the profits from their shows to planting trees. They also travel by train (instead of flying, which is one of the top five contributors to carbon emissions in the world) where possible, and they use local materials to help build sets so eliminate the need for shipping. They also bring as little equipment as possible to reduce the amount of electricity they consume.

Although carbon offsets have been implemented by all countries over the past 10 to 15 years, they also do not go far enough to help reduce climate change on their own. This is because carbon offsets are completely voluntary, countries and companies are not required to participate in or adopt carbon offsets programs.

Given that they are largely unregulated, industries such as the entertainment sectors continue without considering what they can do to help close the gap caused by carbon offsets. This is why Massive Attack commissioned this research project, in order to remedy the music industry’s seemingly blatant disregard for anything to do with climate change. They use the research to spark a debate with local and global governments in the hope that sustainable legislation and rules can be passed and become the industry standard.

Impacts of the Pacific Northwest Music Scene

We may not be a big music scene like Las Vegas or Miami or even Europe, but we come from a part of the country that has been leading the fight against climate change for years. Some of the Tyndall Center recommendations are not just meant to be presented in the UK, but worldwide. These are practices that we can implement here, in our own corner of the woods.

We can once again be the beacon of the change that so many in the rest of the country have become accustomed to. Our clubs are small, our festivals are small, but we have a big heart and an even bigger passion for our music scene. The next time you attend a club night or festival, you might be helping the cause of climate change because every little bit counts.

If everything is to start at the individual level, it is imperative that industries also have a role to play in reducing climate change. Many musicians and DJs have followed in Massive Attack’s footsteps, moving towards greener tours using sustainable energy and carbon offsets, but there are still no general rules or laws to help regulate this.

Massive Attack laid the groundwork, the Tyndall Center cemented that framework with their research and all that’s left is the implementation both at the personal level and at the industry level. Hold your governments accountable, but also each other. If we are all committed, we can all make a difference together. This is what Massive Attack would like us to do.

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