Greening the Music Industry

By Elizabeth Myer

In the wake of the 54th annual Grammy Awards Ceremony last weekend, I’ve been thinking a great deal about all of the potential that remains in the way of greening the music industry. If you’ve ever been to a large concert, surely you’ll agree that there is room for improvement. Many shows are powered by massive amounts of electricity, for one. Another thing I am usually appalled by is the lack of recycling receptacles at many venues, which is a quick fix.

A sample recycling receptacle from O.A.R.'s Green Dream Tour

The rock band O.A.R. recognized this industry flaw in 2008 when they partnered with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for the Green Dream tour, making a pledge to save the planet by taking all the waste that would typically be thrown out and, with the help of volunteers, ensuring that much of it made its way into recycling receptacles, which were stationed in abundance at each venue along the tour. As a new intern in the public affairs division at the time, I was thrilled when EPA lent their support to O.A.R. by accompanying the band (and interviewing their bassist, Benj) to one of their shows in upstate New York to take stock footage of their recycling (and eCycling) efforts and distribute relevant information to receptive fans. By the end of the tour, I was inspired to learn that O.A.R. and SAIC ultimately diverted more than one ton of materials from landfills.

So who says music and eco-consciousness don’t go together? I recently came across another effort to green the industry when I learned about Pedal Power NYC, which is dedicated to “capturing and repurposing human power” using bicycles. Last summer, they hosted the City’s first human powered concert (and, finding no evidence to the contrary, the first in the US) in Union Square. Pedal Power NYC provided the bicycles, which were configured to hook up to generators, and throughout the show over 200 volunteer cyclists engaged in some serious cardio to keep the power flowing. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty impressed.

Have you heard about other green efforts by musicians? If so, please let us know. There are many simple solutions (uhem – hybrid tour buses) that will make a positive difference to our planet. What better way to ignite the cause than by sharing inspiring stories? Rock on, all of you.