The band Coldplay has released a new album called “Everyday Life”. But the group says it won’t go on tour until it can figure out how to tour without making the climate crisis worse.
Normally when bands have a new album, they go on tour to promote the album. They may fly from country to country and drive across countries in buses, performing in concert after concert.
Touring is one of the most important ways that singers and musicians earn money. During the 2016/2017 tour for their last album, “Head Full of Dreams”, Coldplay earned $523 million.
But tours are very hard on the environment. During the Head Full of Dreams tour, the band flew to five different continents and played 122 shows. They traveled with 109 supporting workers, 32 trucks, and nine bus drivers.
Flying is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases. About 3% of the world’s carbon emissions are believed to come from airline travel.
Think about the emissions from all of Coldplay’s flights for that tour. When you add in the pollution from the trucks and buses, as well as the huge amounts of electricity required to power the shows, the environmental impact is pretty clear.
It’s hard enough to keep track of the pollution a band creates while touring, but most of the environmental cost comes from the fans.
During their last tour, Coldplay entertained 5.4 million fans. All of these fans had to travel to the concerts. Not only that, but many bought “merchandise”, such as T-shirts, hoodies, CDs, and posters. The fans also bought food and drinks at the concerts, creating tons of plastic waste.
Coldplay isn’t the only band thinking about this. Adam Gardner, of the band Guster, started a group called Reverb, to help bands make their tours more environmentally friendly. Reverb has worked with groups like the Dave Matthews Band, Maroon 5, and others to help cut down on plastic waste.
The band Radiohead is using LEDs instead of spotlights – saving huge amounts of energy. Some bands, such as The 1975 have stopped selling merchandise and are donating money from their ticket sales to plant trees.
Instead of touring to promote their new album, Coldplay recorded two videos of the band playing their new songs live in Jordan. The band has put the videos of their performances up for free viewing on YouTube.
Coldplay says it won’t tour again until its members figure out how to make their tours help instead of hurt.
Coldplay’s lead singer Chris Martin says, “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 [sun] powered.”
The decision will cost the band a lot of money in the short run, but it could pay off big for the planet.