Today’s Solutions: March 25, 2023

Artists such as Brian Eno and Anna Calvi are naming the Earth as a co-writer on their songs in order to donate a portion of their income to environmental causes.

Earth: a poetic construct

Eno described the Earth as “a poetic construct… a beautiful idea,” and producers such Fraser T. Smith (a producer for artists such as Dave and Stormzy) and multiple Grammy winner Jacob Collier will include it in the credits of a forthcoming song or composition. A percentage of their royalties will be donated in perpetuity to EarthPercent, a nonprofit founded and run by Eno that generates money from the music business to finance environmental advocacy.

Smith welcomed it as “a brilliant initiative … adding the Earth as a beneficiary on projects is not only a choice but a necessity”. Rostam Batmanglij, who was previously a part of Vampire Weekend and now a successful solo musician, welcomed the scheme as “an intelligent use of the income our intellectual property generates”.

Anna Calvi, Mount Kimbie, Erland Cooper, and Aurora are among more musicians who have joined the initiative. Aurora said: “I am currently writing my next album – it’s an album about interconnectedness and the art of coexistence. There is no greater teacher than Mother Earth. There is no greater home, or provider. There is no better place than Earth. And that is why I want to make this whole album with Mother Earth as a co-writer, because without her there wouldn’t be any such thing as music.”

EarthPercent strives for climate justice

The initiative is part of EarthPercent’s larger goal of diverting cash from the music business to environmental causes. The foundation intends to raise $100m by 2030, arguing that money will be used on methods to lessen the environmental impact of the music industry, as well as restoring ecosystems, advocating policy change and achieving “climate justice and fair environmental stewardship”.

To assist offset their environmental effect, bands like folk-rockers Big Thief have agreed to donate one percent of their tour proceeds to the foundation.

Tours, particularly international ones with large teams and elaborate staging that involve arena and stadium-level artists, generate hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. Individual musicians such as Drake and Travis Scott have been chastised for their frequent use of private jets, while the production of records and merchandising has its own impact.

Nonetheless, EarthPercent’s initiative is part of a larger drive in the music industry to be more ecologically conscious. In December 2021, the three big labels and a slew of independents signed the Music Climate Pact, vowing to decrease greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 and 50 percent by 2030.

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