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You're an artist. You care about our living planet and you want to do more to ensure your music-making is as green as possible. This guide is for you.

There are lots of reasons to go green. Shit’s getting real. That's not news to anyone. Everything we love is at risk. The very conditions for life on earth are threatened. 

At a deeper level, this crisis represents a fault between our modern society and the living planet. The truth is, we are nature. So what we do to Mother Earth, we do to ourselves. It’s time we honoured that truth and returned home to more harmonious ways of being.

As our summers heat up, as fires and floods get worse and our living planet buckles under the strain of the modern world, it's natural for us to want to step up. We know that a planetary environmental crisis can't be solved with individual efforts - it needs coordinated, collective action. Right now, many people are asking ‘What can I do?’. And as musicians, we can do more than most because we can lead and inspire broader social change.

Musicians have a platform and a voice, so we’ve got a role to play in both doing what’s right and in speaking up about it. With power comes responsibility, as they say. We want to help you use your cultural power well.

That’s what Sound Country is about: for thousands of generations, the music of this continent was connected to Country, in spirit and action. We’re here to support musicians to reconnect, realign and reinspire that ancient and still-breathing purpose. 

“Well my body, is like this land / And this land, this land, this land, this land's the same / And the heart beat keeps on pumping / Oh sweet precious life through your veins. Well the river is like my veins / Carrying sweet precious life to the muscles and the brain / Oh the heartbeat begins to wane / Better pray, better pray, better pray, pray for rain / Into the bloodstream” 

Archie Roach, Gunditjmara and Bundjalung Elder and musician

ABOUT US

This guide has been produced by Green Music Australia. It’s one example of the many ways we support, organise and inspire musicians and the broader industry to improve environmental performance – from events, energy use, tours and transport, to merchandise, packaging and waste. Leading by example and bringing our audiences along with us, we believe the music sector can create deep cultural change.

Let us support you. Our job is to support musicians to go green and to help you to find ways to share about it. From our point of view, one of the best things you could do would be to reach out to us and join the movement of musicians across this wonderful continent who are greening their practice and standing up for a healthy and safe future. 

There are so many ways musicians can get involved:

  • Campaign: Join our campaigns to add your voice to the calls for change
  • Volunteer: Contribute your time and unique skills to help grow our impact
  • Act: Use the ideas in this guide to go green
  • Donate: Raise money with a tour or gig, or give directly to Green Music Australia (tax deductible above $2)
  • Amplify: Share your actions with your fans, and share this guide with your team and other musicians
  • Connect: Get in touch, let us know you care, and we’ll find a way to work together

In short, this organisation exists to support you. Let’s chat: [email protected]

Authors: This guide has been written by Rhoda Roberts AO, Matt Wicking, and Green Music Australia. 

PRINCIPLES FOR GOING GREEN

A set of principles for going green

This guide is full of tips and tricks for greening your musical life. Let’s start with some high-level principles to consider as you take action.

  • Earth-Centred: We need to put life and living systems at the centre, where they belong. Our only home in the universe, Mother Earth is the source of all we hold dear – including music. And her land, waterways, creatures and sky have inherent value of their own.
  • First Nations First:When a person steps forward to care for our living world, we follow the lead of the Indigenous peoples who have been caring for Country for tens of thousands of years. To do this ‘greening’ work, we need to normalise Indigenous leadership and dismantle the systemic racism, colonisation and oppression in our industry and wider culture.
  • Action-Oriented: On the journey to a greener future, it isn’t always easy to see the road ahead. Instead of shooting for perfection or getting confused about the ideal, guilt-free next step, choose something. There’s no perfect path and action has energy and magic in it.
  • Aiming Upwards: Rather than just cleaning up the mess at the end, go as far up the chain as you can. Reduce and reuse before recycling; avoid energy use and improve efficiency before buying solar panels or offsets; choose easy-to-reach venues and advocate for a culture that values greener transport, as well as informing audiences about green transport options.
  • Deep Impact: As a musician, your cultural footprint is arguably your most important impact. So use your
    public platform to share what you’re doing, ask questions and connect with others. We need deep, systemic change - not just greener light bulbs or album packaging - and that happens through collective political and cultural change.
  • Healing For All: Nature isn’t separate from society or our economies. And consumerism, individualism,
    colonialism and the patriarchy got us into this planetary mess. So we need to align our environmental efforts with other movements for justice, healing and equity – including gender, race, class, sexuality and ability.

“Music is a spiritual, healing, medicinal practice – a very sacred thing… I feel the voices coming through me and I try to honour them, because if we don’t speak certain truths about how we want society to be, it’s never going to get to where we want it to be.”

Neil Morris aka DRMNGNOW QUOTE AND IMAGE BEING APPROVED

GOING GREEN: IN SUMMARY

[Insert PDF] 

This guide is chock full of green tips and ideas for music-makers. But for a quick overview, see how you stack up against the summary checklist of green music actions below. 

You might want to use it to make an initial plan with your team and then read on further to flesh out the details with more info, links and recommendations.

It runs from easier First Steps that won’t cause a sweat, to Next Level moves that create more change, and Deep Green actions with potential for epic impact.

[Insert checklist] 

GOING GREEN: IN DETAIL

Going ‘green’ means prioritising the living planet – putting Earth at the centre, where she belongs. This guide is here to support you in making this fundamental change as deeply as possible in your approach to music and life. 

We’ve broken it into seven chapters, each with guidance and ideas for making your practice more friendly to life on this beautiful, spinning globe:

  1. First Nations First
  2. Speaking Up
  3. Office & Studio
  4. Waste
  5. Transport
  6. Food
  7. Fashion & Merch

This isn’t a book to read cover to cover. Find the advice you need in any chapter you like. At the same time, it’s best to think about Chapters 1 and 2 as you read anything else. When we separate ‘environmental issues’ from human issues like individualism, discrimination and colonisation, we can only ever create shallow change.

That means if you’ve come here just aiming to ‘reduce your personal footprint’ (Chapters 3-7), you’re missing the biggest opportunity of this work. As author (and self-confessed ‘climate hypocrite’) Sami Grover says, “We are not each on an individual journey to slash our footprint to zero. We are on a collective mission to shift the only true footprint that matters: that of society as a whole”. 

So please go ahead and use Chapters 3-7 to radically reduce your footprint. You’ll find loads of tips and links here. And you’ll learn about yourself and our world as you go. But as you do, Chapter 2 (Speaking Up) will support you to amplify your impact, and Chapter 1 (First Nations First) is there to offer support in the bigger adventure of shifting power, changing our cultures, and healing our relationship with Country.

WE ARE POWERED BY PEOPLE LIKE YOU.