The battle against climate change is hitting a potential turning point as more youths take to the streets to try and change attitudes by the ruling class of boomers. Waiting for someone else to do something can’t keep on happening or else we will damage this planet in ways we cannot begin to fathom. The music business is rarely the target of ire among climate activists, who rightly focus on shipping, energy and consumer goods conglomerates. However in the music business there is a lot that DJs can do to mitigate their impact of climate change. It would be hard to be completely climate neutral, but there are ways to be much better to the environment.
1. Stop Flying Private:
This may seem like a layup and only applies to a select number of DJs, but some sacrifices must be made. Instead of using private jets to clout chase on Instagram, fly commercial like the rest of us. Most DJs fly commercial because they aren’t making six figures a gig, but the idea you need a private jet at all times is ludicrous. The occasional charter in a serious time crunch could be understood, but spending your summer on a private jet for a little more comfort and space is insane. Not only are you pissing money away, but also do damage to the environment. It can be 5 to 10 times more polluting per person to fly a private jet, depending on the plane model. DJs can have some very serious fans, but don’t claim it isn’t safe to fly commercial or even worse, are afraid of fan interactions on a plane.
2. Offset Carbon Emissions From Flight:
If you are a touring DJ, there will be the need to take flights to your gig. While you shouldn’t be flying private, getting around the world on a boat is not practical with other commitments and time constraints. Flying commercial is better than private, but still bad for the environment. Given the necessity of this for many careers, there are ways to offset the emissions from flying. There are programs where one can offset their carbon emissions from flying (and other activities) by creating wind farms in India or solar powered cooking in Chad. You may be harming the environment with your travel, but at least you can help others move in the right direction.
3. Remove Plastic From Rider:
Artists have control over what they want on their rider. The bigger the act or group, the more they can request. If you have a set at a local bar, they may not give you a large spread beforehand in their kitchen. However, for those who travel and play big venues, eliminating plastic from riders should be important. Make sure all items you get can be and are recycled or can be composted. Water is key, so include a reusable water bottle that can be refilled by the venue. Avoid plastic containers for food and make sure the venue understands you are serious about this.
4. Eat Less Meat On The Road:
More and more DJs are going vegan and living healthier lifestyles while travelling. Eating clean on the road will give you more energy to perform and travel. There is only so much you can do in some countries to avoid meat and sometimes there isn’t the time to eat something other than a quick burger. However, if there is the opportunity with green room food, going out to dinner or what a promoter gives you, eat less meat on the road. It has been well documented the damage that eating meat can do on the environment, from the production and processing of animals to the land that has to be cleared (see the Amazon) for cows, pigs and other animals to graze. Eating less (not eliminating it) meat around the world will help lower your carbon footprint.
5. Make Sustainable Merchandise:
Merchandise is (or should be) a key part of any DJ’s revenue stream. Clothing doesn’t just magically appear though. It requires the harvesting of materials, shipping and then creation of various cuts and styles. This all pollutes and emits carbon into the atmosphere. A lot of cheap clothing is very disposable, thus creating an even greater footprint when it is replaces after a season or year. Some musicians put out cheaply made clothes to try and keep prices down and maximize revenue, but that is bad for customers and the environment. Making clothes out of recyclable materials is possible and isn’t very expensive. There are a ton of companies like Upcycle, Rumpl, Sunski or Elle Evans, plus even large brands lie Adidas and Patagonia have lines of clothing made from recycled plastic bottles or through sustainable resources. It may cost a little more and require some more planning, but it is worth it.