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Coldplay Delays Touring to Develop Environmentally ‘Beneficial’ Concerts
Coldplay is releasing a new album on Friday, but the release will not be followed by a world tour.
The reason? The climate crisis.
"We're not touring this album," frontman Chris Martin told BBC News Thursday. "We're taking time over the next year or two, to work out how our tour can not only be sustainable [but] how can it be actively beneficial."
To mark the release of its new album Everyday Life, the band will play two concerts at sunrise and sunset in Jordan Friday, which will be streamed live on YouTube.
Then, it's time to brainstorm. Martin told BBC News what the band hoped to achieve:
Our next tour will be the best possible version of a tour like that environmentally. We would be disappointed if it's not carbon neutral.
The hardest thing is the flying side of things. But, for example, our dream is to have a show with no single use plastic, to have it largely solar powered.
We've done a lot of big tours at this point. How do we turn it around so it's no so much taking as giving?
Live music emits 405,000 tonnes (approximately 446,000 U.S. tons) of greenhouse gases in the UK every year, according to figures reported by BBC News. It is estimated that U2 emitted the equivalent of a return trip to Mars when it took a large claw structure on tour in 2009.
"The more shows you have, the more environmental impact it has," Creative Artists Agency co-founder Emma Banks told BBC Music Wednesday. "We need to think more about how we can actually not create the problem in the first place."
Coldplay isn't the first band to try and reduce its touring footprint, BBC News pointed out. Radiohead has switched from traditional to LED spotlights, U2 has started recycling guitar strings and using hydrogen fuel cells and The 1975 has stopped selling merchandise and donates a UK pound to One Tree Planted for every ticket it sells.
U.S. artists are also working to green their acts. Billie Eilish has promised to make her tour, beginning next March, "as green as possible" by banning plastic straws, including recycling facilities and encouraging attendees to bring their own reusable water bottles, The Guardian reported. She will also travel with the "Billie Eilish Eco-Village," where fans can learn how they contribute to the climate crisis.
Pearl Jam has been calculating the emissions of its tours since 2003 and donating a percentage of the proceeds to environmental efforts, iNews reported. In 2018, the band offset 3,500 tons of carbon dioxide by investing in a carbon offset project in Alaska.
But BBC music reporter Mark Savage said there was something unique about Coldplay's commitment.
"Coldplay are going one step further. They don't just want to be carbon neutral, but to have tours that are 'actively beneficial' to the planet. And by putting their concerts on hold, they're giving up a huge pay day: The Head Full of Dream tour made $523m," Savage wrote. "The industry will be watching to see what solutions they come up with."
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Poverty and violence in Central America are major factors driving migration to the United States. But there's another force that's often overlooked: climate change.
Retired Lt. Cmdr. Oliver Leighton Barrett is with the Center for Climate and Security. He says that in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, crime and poor economic conditions have long led to instability.
"And when you combine that with protracted drought," he says, "it's just a stressor that makes everything worse."
Barrett says that with crops failing, many people have fled their homes.
"These folks are leaving not because they're opportunists," he says, "but because they are in survival mode. You have people that are legitimate refugees."
So Barrett supports allocating foreign aid to programs that help people in drought-ridden areas adapt to climate change.
"There are nonprofits that are operating in those countries that have great ideas in terms of teaching farmers to use the land better, to harvest water better, to use different variety of crops that are more resilient to drought conditions," he says. "Those are the kinds of programs I think are needed."
So he says the best way to reduce the number of climate change migrants is to help people thrive in their home countries.
Reporting credit: Deborah Jian Lee / ChavoBart Digital Media.
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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