Coldplay Has A Head Full Of Dreams For A More Sustainable Tour

mbg Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care."
Coldplay Is Skipping Out On A World Tour & The Reason Has Us Cheering

Image by mbg Creative x Daniel Knighton / Getty

Coldplay's new album drops tomorrow, but don't rush to Ticketmaster just yet: They won't be touring much for it. Today, frontman Chris Martin told BBC News that the band is pressing pause on live shows due to environmental concerns.

After 20-plus years in the music business and over 1,000 concerts from Argentina to Australia, the group knows how wasteful shows can be. "We've done a lot of big tours at this point," Martin tells BBC. "How do we turn it around so it's not so much taking as giving?"

This time, they'll only play three official shows for the new album: Two in Amman, Jordan, which will be live broadcasted on YouTube, and one in London's Museum of Natural History, with all proceeds donated to an environmental charity. After that...who knows? While the group isn't swearing off touring altogether, they're considering new ways to do it that would be more sustainable in the long run.

The transportation to and from venues (by the artists and concertgoers); electricity it takes to power elaborate shows; and booze, food, and merch sold at gigs all lead to hefty emissions. One recent report by British music magazine Stamp the Wax found that touring DJs generate 5.5 times more CO2 emissions annually than the average U.K. citizen.

Coldplay's more eco-friendly plan for future shows? Carbon-neutral travel arrangements and solar-powered venues with strict zero-waste policies.

Their announcement comes during a time when other celebrities are being accused of hypocritical support of the climate movement. Most famously, this year Prince Harry and Megan Markle came under fire for promoting environmental causes while flying fuel-intensive private jets. Last month, dozens of people in the public eye including Brian Eno, a record producer who Coldplay regularly collaborates with, published an open letter to the media in response to the criticism.

"We live high-carbon lives, and the industries that we are part of have huge carbon footprints. Like you—and everyone else—we are stuck in this fossil-fuel economy and without systemic change, our lifestyles will keep on causing climate and ecological harm," they wrote.

It's a fair point: So many things about our society—including the ways that we interact with performance and music—are inherently damaging to the planet. Sometimes, the most impactful thing we can do is opt out completely. With its hiatus, Coldplay does just that.

Granted, they're only one band—and an extremely successful one that can live without the money one tour would bring. But here's hoping their move goes beyond virtue signaling and nudges the music industry to reimagine an inherently wasteful status quo (or something just like this).

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