Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja (AKA 3D) has criticised the live music industry’s response to the climate crisis while addressing MPs on environmental issues at festivals, saying that he’s “pretty livid” about the industry’s lack of action to reduce its carbon footprint, despite making green pledges.
“It’s been frustrating to experience the lack of meaningful activity within our sector, and as an activist, I’ve also felt pretty livid about it,” he told the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, as reported by the BBC. “The industry seems to have been locked in a cycle of green pledges and carbon calculations while emission rates remain really high.”
On the topic of Coldplay’s decision to pause touring until it can be “environmentally beneficial” however, Del Naja adds: “One band’s unilateral action is not going to change the look of the whole problem at all.”
“I understand their frustration, all bands have been feeling like this for a long time — how do you square touring with climate change? All of us end up looking like hypocrites... reduced to being messengers. But everyone knows that’s not the solution — one band stopping touring. Even all bands stopping touring isn’t the solution.”
“Culture is important, it brings everyone together, and so the best way is to look for solutions collectively.”
For example, the musician suggests taking other measures to reduce carbon emissions while touring, such as using trains or buses to travel and transport equipment, and using different forms of energy to power venues. These solutions are supported by experts at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, which will collaborate with Massive Attack to track and reduce emissions from live events, when touring resumes after coronavirus restrictions lift.
Massive Attack has also previously worked with the environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion, designing bespoke masks for a London die-in, which were later auctioned to benefit XR and other groups working to combat harmful air pollution.
Watch a section of Robert Del Naja’s discussion with the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee below.