Iconic Bristolian band Massive Attack are working with scientists and academics to help map out their carbon footprint while on tour and recording, in a bid to help tackle the climate crisis.
Partnering with Manchester University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to help asses the three major issues musicians have when being a part of successful bands.
The issues are the high CO2 emissions that are made from the band’s travel and production, the travel impact of their audiences and the footprint of venues they work in. All will be monitored by the group as part of Massive Attack’s new tour.
The Guardian reports that the study is intended to provide guidance and extra information to the music industry in a joint effort to help combat the negative effects on the environment caused by musicians’ success.
As part of a separate article in the paper, the band’s vocalis Robert Del Naja said, “In an emergency context, business as usual – regardless of its nature, high profile or popularity – is unacceptable.”
The band have long been environmentally conscious, planting trees, taking trains where possible, and banning the use of single-use plastics. But Del Naja says, “offsetting creates an illusion that high-carbon activities enjoyed by wealthier individuals can continue, by transferring the burden of action and sacrifice to others – generally those in the poorer nations in the southern hemisphere”.
While Del Naja says that he still wishes to perform at major events, he suggested that big change is needed. He said, “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.”
A research fellow at Tyndall Manchester, Dr Chris Jones told The Guardian, “We will be working with Massive Attack to look at sources of carbon emissions from a band’s touring schedule. Every industry has varying degrees of carbon impact to address and we need partnerships like this one to look at reducing carbon emissions across the board.
“It’s more effective to have a sustained process of emissions reductions across the sector than for individual artists to quit live performances. It will likely mean a major shift in how things are done now, involving not just the band but the rest of the business and the audience.”