How Artists Are Combatting Climate Change Through Concerts
s the climate changes, it’s not too late to save ourselves. There is cause for both optimism and pessimism—salvation could take the form of easy technological fixes or cataclysmic climate events that force us to work together. Social movements, unless there is a major technological breakthrough in the near future, are one way that climate action can be achieved. Nonviolent activism has proven to work if there is a minimum of 3.5% of the population involved. In other words: If 11.5 million Americans take to the streets, and remain engaged, then they will be able to bring about radical social and political change necessary to end climate change. There are few instances of this kind of activism beyond responses to autocratic and repressive rule.
What will it take for millions to act to end the climate crisis in America?
Cultural experiences shared can be used as platforms to mobilize people and encourage civic participation. Given the overwhelming evidence that young people are concerned and anxious about how the climate crisis affects them, it makes sense to activate them at events where emotional energy can bring about laughter and tears in equal measure—music does both.
Music can travel everywhere. There are bands who perform in both red and blue states. They play for audiences of all races, genders and sexual orientations. Everybody is united for 90 minutes of a live performance. These concerts have the potential for being on-ramps to climate activism and engagement.
On AJR’s 2022 tour alone, nearly 400,000 people in the United States are joining the band at various venues, creating a shared experience. This number is in addition to other touring acts, so we could be getting close to the required critical mass. Imagine the potential if just half the people who are passionate about music turned their enthusiasm into the climate movement.
Climate Activism: Building on-Ramps
Artists must do much more than simply mention it or offer press-worthy tricks to demonstrate how technology can save us. Fans riding bicycles to power the stage, or jumping on tiles to produce energy may provide some limited carbon offsets, but those actions don’t connect to any meaningful level of engagement that continues the work after the show is over; fans can’t bring the bikes or floors home with them. True on-ramps involve information dissemination Along withThere will be opportunities to meet like-minded organizations and individuals at the concert, as well.
The challenges faced by social movements in getting people to care about a problem have been a constant struggle. Concerts can be used as a catalyst for change and connect those concerned to the resources they have.
Partnerships between celebrities like Billie Eilish and Harry Styles are so valuable. These partnerships bring together the excitement of a concert with the passionate activism of protests, offering audiences many opportunities to participate: voter registration, campaign canvassing, voting by environmental friendly candidates, encouraging climate action via carpool deals, vegan food options and offsetting travel emissions.
However, once they become involved how can we keep them there?
After the Show, Continue the activism
Concerts not only provide boosts for climate activism but can also build connections with fans through social media follow-up and personal interactions. When the event offers opportunities, these connections can blossom into networks of engagement. Friends and family will be activated and spread the word. For example, after learning about oil and plastic pollution at an AJR concert, a young high school girl in Indianapolis started a campaign to end all single-use plastic in her school’s lunchroom. Her petition quickly grew to the point that her entire school district was now prohibited from using single-use plastics. This one person inspired the entire community to do something concrete.
Concerts have the potential to build collective identity in ways that are similar to protests—bringing together like-minded people with a common interest to create a sense of solidarity and focus their collective efforts for social change. Protest events can channel people into more activism, such as voter registration drives and canvassing. We also know this because they allow them to hold town hall meetings and other types of electoral engagement. During the four years of the Trump Administration, for example, numerous large-scale demonstrations, including the Women’s March, the People’s Climate March, and the March for Our Lives connected participants to political campaigns in Congressional districts around the 2018 midterm elections.
There are many groups that work to mobilise support for political and social climate action. However, local organizations can have a transformative effect. Despite the fact that elections are often over, grassroots change can still have real and lasting impact. The ability to link people with climate problems in their localities, counties, and even states has been demonstrated by local groups.
Imagine a new world.
Concerts can be a way to escape. Concertgoers can also imagine living in other places. Without a climate crisis which has been causing extreme weather phenomena such as wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, heatwaves, floods and droughts. This will result in fewer refugees and more famine. A world that is free of pollution, which causes asthma and cancer, as well as deforestation, which leads to pandemics around the globe.
Many Americans want to know what they can and cannot do during these times of record oil prices and high inflation. Music provides an ideal on-ramp to reach the millions of Americans who want to make change in the world, but don’t yet know how. The research predicts that live music will be enjoyed by more people than 11.5million, which could bring about a significant social and political change.
If the music is done right, it can be used to connect concertgoers to their concerns and offer them opportunities to contribute to their community after the band has moved on. There are many ways to take individual climate action. These include planting trees in your community to help reduce heat island effects and stormwater runoff. Limiting plastic pollution in schools and electing climate-friendly politicians. There are many local civic organizations doing climate work. However, there is a rising number of service corps that train young people for climate resilience. These projects go beyond simply putting people on email lists. They empower the majority to act on climate change.
It is time to use all of the onramps available to activism, particularly through music. We can reduce the likelihood of an ominous climate by connecting all people to sustainable efforts to save our planet.
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