Solving the problems of the climate emergency

21 July 2023

Of late I have been drawn to saying that the problem of the climate emergency is no longer one of scientific proof, but of effective communication. Outside of David Attenborough and, for a younger demographic in the main, Greta Thunberg, little that is said seems to really stick. I could spend days talking through why that may be, (feel free to email [email protected] if you fancy discussing that one), but for those reading this who don’t have the time, here is why music is so important in this crucial moment with a few examples.

The scramble to secure Taylor Swift tickets may not be an obvious starting point here but, for me, it illustrates perfectly that still present ability of some of our biggest stars to command the zeitgeist completely for a period of time. In a 24-hour rolling news world that is incredibly powerful. In the fan reaction and dedication to securing tickets we see not just the need to be close to their favourite artist but a sense of community amongst fans that reminds me of the power of music to bring disparate people together.

And it’s not just the younger fans that have this impulse now. Given my age and connections on social is it any wonder that my last two weekends were commandeered in postings from friends, acquaintances, and near strangers from the Pulp and Blur shows. Aside from time capsuling me back to 1995 or so, (alongside the Britpop doc on 6 Music which is here incidentally and great listening for those of a certain vintage), the stories of old friends meeting up and the sheer joy that radiated from the posts emphasised that pop music, our music, is now not just a youth concern.

The summer is a great visual amplifier of just how popular pop music has become. In the last few weeks we have seen a clutch of headline stories around the financial contribution of outdoor events to regional economies with 1 million people out at a gig last weekend in London (London’s music scene roars back as more than 1 million people attend live music events across the capital in one week | London City Hall), and this week’s UK Music report showing 14.4 million ‘music tourists’ for UK live events in 2022.

And here is a perfect moment to address that communication problem, because, let’s be honest, it’s not getting any easier to be positive, is it? More record temperatures, killer floods in South Korea, fires in Southern Europe. All those chickens starting to come home to roost.

But it’s at exactly this point that we need to be more positive, to double down on optimism and see the potential for a real solution.

So here is my challenge to all of you who care. Which I believe is a lot of you in the music community.

Let’s work together to combine that amazing reach that we have already seen over the summer of our live events and the incredible power of artists to inspire and motivate and the window of positivity that our shows generate in music lovers to reframe this conversation.

Let’s talk about how we can solve this problem.

Let’s talk about how the roar of a stadium or a festival can be translated into a voice for change towards those in key positions.

Let’s support the artists who are ready to speak, the festivals and touring crews that are already making the changes on the ground, the campaigners that are ready to partner with music to inspire the public.

Let’s collectively create that positive future where we sustain and nurture the natural world and protect and empower those currently being worst affected by the climate emergency.


We already know the problem.

We already know the solutions.

We have the solutions to hand.

All we need now is the will to do it.