Green Music Australia’s new “Sound Country: A Green Artist Guide” offers a practical solution for musicians to learn how to reduce their carbon footprint.
It also details how artists can take audiences with them.
“Sound Country” covers everything from corner pub gigs to stadium rock tours, from integrating more sustainable practices into their touring operations to becoming vocal ambassadors for change.
Its authors are Rhoda Roberts AO, festival promoter and artistic executive; freelance animator and environmental consultant Matt Wicking, who holds a master’s degree in environment; and Berish Bilander, CEO of Green Music Australia, who is a composer and pianist.
Roberts said working on the project was “an amazing experience” and commends GMA’s “desire to reset consciousness around our nation’s identity, cultural values, and environmental change.”
Contributing musicians include David Bridie, Allara Briggs Pattison, Jen Cloher, Jessica Cerro (Montaigne), Lisa Mitchell, Missy Higgins, Regurgitator, Sally Seltmann and Tim Hollo.
Content is grouped into six key areas: First Nations First, Waste Reduction, Low-Carbon Transportation, Sustainable Food, Ethical Merchandise, and Climate Advocacy.
Each includes case studies, the latest scientific evidence and a comprehensive solutions section, with simple strategies and tips on how to implement environmentally friendly practices.
For example, musicians can green their box office by dedicating a small portion of their box office revenue to environmental actions.
This can be paired with Plus1, a platform created by musicians for musicians, to pledge $1 from every concert or event ticket sold to their favorite environmental group.
A partnership with Feat. Live’s Solar Slice can implement a 1.5% ticketing surcharge that will fund crucial carbon reduction measures for the live music and entertainment sector.
Or they can work with nonprofit ticket providers like Humanitix who dedicate their profits to sustainable projects, such as literacy programs for young women.
The guide suggests releasing music online in physical formats, with digital downloads being the greenest way to share music.
NFTs are the cool thing at the moment. But as the guide puts it, “Environmentally, right now, most NFTs are looking pretty bad.”
“Like cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin), NFTs verify transactions on the blockchain (like an electronic ledger) using huge networks of computers, solving a cryptographic puzzle through a process called ‘ Proof of Work’.
“As the name suggests, it requires extreme amounts of computer processing work that consume loads and loads of energy.”
An option for merchandise means brands that use organic cotton or hemp, recycled content, and fair labor conditions.
Some merchandising vendors incorporate greener options into their offerings, but that means a bigger expense.
Also, “If you have old products that haven’t sold, reuse them!”. The 1975s reprinted new designs on their old t-shirts, saving money and avoiding waste.
“Opera North has used old costumes to make beeswax wraps. Or consider incorporating an environmental message into your product, like WAAX or Alison Wonderland.
Designed by Melbourne-based illustrator and printmaker Steph Hughes, Sound Country features an interactive website, online shareable PDFs, infographics and social media content.
“As a traveling musician with a conscience, it’s so great that GMA is providing us (and our fans) with specific resources with which we can try to walk the planet more lightly.” said Missy Higgins.
Regurgitator calls it “the perfect starting point for finding ways to approach touring and overall music industry practices with greater awareness, intent, and reform in seeking a future for those to come. “.
“Sound Country” launches July 18 at the Northcote Social Club in Melbourne and is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.