Chris Martin has always been known for his iconic voice, and today that voice reverberated in ways the industry very much needed to hear. In this golden age of touring for artists like Coldplay, their decision to suspend their travels in response to the global climate crisis is powerful and poignant.
And one I hope they reconsider.
Let’s get some shameless transparency out of the way. My colleagues and I are passionately committed to helping artists like Coldplay accelerate climate justice through their touring and live events. For nearly three decades, our Effect Partners crew has worked at this unique intersection of music and social impact. We believe in Climate Positive Touring – the philosophy that every show, every where is an opportunity to serve as a catalyst for progress on everything from the elimination of single use plastic at live events, to mobilizing fans to learn about and act on local climate solutions.
Shame is a vibrant verb in today’s climate movement. From flight shaming to food shaming, the level of in-fighting and division among movement leaders and activists is at an unfortunate peak. Over the decades of our collective struggle for progressive climate policies and our ongoing fight for equal access to safe, healthy and enriching natural environments, we have hit these pendulum swings before. Just as it appears we might finally be able to break through with solidarity and collective action, we allow shame and purity to divide, distract and sadly delay any real progress at all. In the meantime, the places and habitats we love the most continue to be ravaged by floods, fires and rising seas.
Which is why we need Coldplay back on the road as soon as possible. We need Mr. Martin on stage helping sound the alarm about the global Climate Emergency at every show, every where. We need him and his team to continue to put pressure on venues and festivals to implement smart policies and solutions like r.Cup and Bring Your Own Bottle. We need his voice encouraging, supporting, and empowering his fans to fight for a just transition to a decarbonized economy.
Yes, the environmental impacts of the global touring industry need to be addressed. Among other glaring issues, it’s unacceptable that annually 4 billion single use plastic cups are used at concerts and other live events. But there are already great solutions available to address these and other impacts, and we know our friends at Live Nation, AEG, r.Cup, Green Sports Alliance, Reverb, RPM, and countless others are hungry to help Coldplay and others lead the way. Coupled with the significant steps venues are taking to create environmentally sound infrastructure, from the shiny new gold standard and new Warriors home at the Chase Center to vibrant local joints like the St. Augustine Amphitheater, we are on the verge of a new era using culture as a force for good.
Just a few days ago, we had the honor of collaborating with our friends at Climate Generation to produce a unique concert called Band Together. It featured a dozen of the Twin Cities’ most notable local musicians joining forces for a night of music, storytelling and climate action. As each artist shared their own personal story of how the climate crisis is impacting them, it was more clear to me than ever – the more opportunities we have to gather as a community and talk about this crisis, the quicker we will find the will and fortitude to take the bold actions needed to address it.
Taking personal accountability for how our actions impact our shared planet is a critical and noble step. It’s clear Coldplay’s announcement today has already had a seismic impact. But, Chris, if you’re listening, don’t suspend your tour for too long. This crisis needs all the voices it can get.