Climate Action Heads to the Junos with Music Declares Emergency

The message is forceful: “There is no music on a dead planet.”

It’s the rallying cry behind Music Declares Emergency (MDE), a UK-based international non-profit corporation made up of musicians, music industry professionals and organizations who have come together to call for immediate government action on the climate change. So far, 8,000 artists around the world have signed the statement, including Annie Lennox, Massive Attack and Tegan and Sara, recipients of the humanitarian award at the 2024 Juno Awards in Halifax.

The Canadian chapter of MDE launched in early 2021, thanks in part to the efforts of Kim Fry, a long-time climate organizer who now works as a climate change specialist at the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM).

“It is a declaration of ecological emergency and a series of commitments that involve using the platform of musicians and the cultural capital of music to draw attention to the climate emergency, but also working within the music industry to make it more sustainable. ”says Fry.

The group has been featured at conferences, panels, select concerts and music festivals, and now, with Canada’s premier music industry showcase just around the corner, MDE comes to Junos.

“When I found out that the Junos were going to be housed in Halifax, we immediately contacted the climate department at HRM, where I work now, and said maybe we could do something together,” Fry says.

In the lead-up to the awards ceremony, on March 17, MDE hosted a Climate Emergency Concert at the Rebecca Cohn Theater. The show paid tribute to two Canadian music legends known for their commitment to environmental advocacy: Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, and showcased the work of other artists speaking out about climate and the need for climate-related cultural change. environment. The show will also announce the first-ever Canadian Environmental Music Awards, which will be held later this year.

Another first? The Junos have a newly created sustainability subcommittee, co-chaired by Fry.

“We have a lot of initiatives: a climate stage in front of the Halifax Central Library that is powered by pedals and solar energy. “We have installed music-themed bike racks in front of music venues and are running a campaign to encourage people to use public transportation or active transportation to attend Juno events and music events in general,” it states.

Music Declares Emergency is a UK-based international non-profit corporation made up of musicians, music industry professionals and organizations who have come together to call for immediate government action on climate change. #junos

Music fans can enjoy free rides on Halifax Transit’s free Junos shuttle service to music venues during Juno Week, which runs from March 21 to 24. Once on site, they will find “sustainable product boxes” where they can recycle unwanted band t-shirts. and market or bring in blank t-shirts to distribute to musicians for their own screen printing projects.

The Merch Box initiative is part of a broader discussion about the environmental impacts of fashion, which is a key part of the music industry.

“We know that fast fashion is a climate issue and we know that people watch awards shows to see what they will wear on the red carpet. This idea that every time you show up to a new event, you have to have a completely new dress instead of being able to wear it again or reuse it, that needs to change,” says Fry.

With all eyes on Halifax during the Junos, Fry sees an opportunity to make positive change.

“People listen to musicians and actors. So how can we put that to good use, to start taking climate action more seriously, to mainstream it a little more with audiences that haven’t been as engaged?

This story is shared by the Climate Story Network, an initiative of Climate Focus, a nonprofit organization dedicated to covering stories about community climate solutions.

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