MUSIC AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Updated: Mar 27, 2020

I don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't love music and why wouldn't you? Whether you're crying hysterically to sad songs in your room after a breakup or dancing your heart out on a night out (thinking you looked really good but the videos the next day prove you wrong) music is a part of all of our lives. The industry is always expanding and innovating; moving from the phonograph to vinyls in the 1940's to CD's in the 1980's and finally streaming in the late 2000's. Music can help us to get through this tough time of quarantining, so my friend Charlotte will be telling us all about her new music blog and giving some advice on what to listen to. First we will delve into the effects music can have on our environment and how surprisingly, grooving the old fashioned way might actually be better!

Tom Misch on Vinyl

What is streaming doing to the environment?

There are a few ways that the music industry can effect the environment. The first is plastic pollution, in 1977 the music industry used 58 million kilograms of plastic and by 2000's it had risen to 61 million. As the digital age began and streaming became possible, plastic in the industry plummeted to 8 million kg by 2016, which is a real plus for streaming. (US)

However, plastic isn't the only thing we need to be concerned about when it comes to our environmental impact. The energy it required to stream, store and listen to our music leads to millions of kilograms of Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG's). A recent study found that between 200-350 million kg of GHG where released by 2016 as a result of streaming. The image below breaks down all the different impacts of music from economical to environmental hoping to give a clearer image of all the costs from each provider.

It seems as if there is no clear answer on which way to listen is best for the environment, as there are costs and benefits to each. However, if there is an album you adore and will listen to on repeat it would be best to listen to it physically, as streaming it 20 odd times will use more energy than it would to manufacture the record. I personally couldn't live without music in my life and I wish there was a way to do it without having an impact on the planet. Moving forward, the main message is to be conscious of the impact you are having! The more people who are aware of the impacts, the further we can step towards finding an eco-friendly listening experience.


References:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/music-streaming-environment-impact-cd-records-electricity-a8860001.html

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/environmental-impact-streaming-music-835220/



Charmrambler on songs that will turn you green

Hello, my new blog (Charmrambler) has been created to maintain my sanity during quarantine mainly, but it's wonderful little things like this that are making it worth it. So, Antonia's taken you through the facts and figures, but now what are you actually going to listen to? Well, the sunrise movement in the US have effectively used music by reinterpreting older protest songs for their own climate strike movement. In December 2019, they sang their new song 'Does it weigh on you?' as 61 of them were arrested whilst occupying Nancy Pelosi's office, it was based on on the 1930s protest anthem ‘Which Side Are You On?’, the song’s lyrics read:

Corporations raised you up but we can make you fall They picked a war with our generation does it weigh on you at all? Which side are you on?

With that in spirit, I thought could look at some songs throughout the years that were made with the green movement in mind.

First up, Neil Young and Crazy Horse 'Be The Rain':

Don’t care what the governments say

“they’re all bought and paid for anyway”

Save the planet for another day

“hey big oil, what do you say?”

Next, a personal favourite - Joni Mitchell's 'Big Yellow Taxi':

Don’t it always seem to go

That you don’t know what you’ve got

Till it’s gone

They paved paradise

And put up a parking lot

Quite a moving one, Soundgarden's 'Hands all over':

Hands all over the coastal waters The crew men thank her Then lay down their oily blanket Hands all over the inland forest In a striking motion trees fall down Like dying soldiers

A much more upbeat song but with a very serious message, The Beach Boys 'Don't go near the water':

Oceans, rivers, lakes and streams

Have all been touched by man

The poison floating out to sea

Now threatens life on land

Lastly, my personal favourite, Marvin Gaye's 'Mercy Mercy me (The Ecology):

Oil wasted on the oceans and upon our seas

Fish full of mercury

Oh, mercy mercy me

Oh, things ain’t what they used to be

Well, I think that's enough of me telling you what to listen to, but I can tell you where to find it. I've made a playlist of all things environmental that I'll link down below. The important thing is that you shouldn't feel racked with guilt for streaming music, but you should be more aware of it's impact. With that in mind, buy vinyl when you can, make eco-friendly choices when travelling to gigs, just do a little bit more to make the world a tiny bit better.

Stay green, and stay safe,

Charl :)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1l5q0d81paZ2cvae4vfI6j?si=7YoIQJ89QKqrXKxM5OAdMQ

https://www.charmrambler.co.uk/


Overview

Hope you enjoyed this post and are dancing around your room to Charlotte's playlist now because I know I am! Stay safe and stay inside!


As always thanks for reading,


Antonia :) (+ Charl)



(Me when I see someone outside for the second time)

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