10 artists helping to save the planet through environmental activism
Climate change is a big fucking problem. But, as the ice caps continue to melt and our seas and air become more polluted, many people continue to look the other way, hoping things will just figure themselves out.
However, to celebrate the great work being done by environmental campaigners for the betterment of the planet, and to hopefully inspire some change for the future, we’ve put together a list of 10 of the biggest and best rock, metal and punk bands who are fighting to save the world from ecological disaster. These artists have used everything recycled, from jutebags to toothbrushes, to cotton bags – but have also used their fame and influence to make a positive impact on the world.
Here are 10 musicians putting our one real home before themselves…
Pittsburgh punks Anti-Flag have a long track record of grappling with social and political issues, and their environmental concerns are something they’ve been particularly keen to promote over the years. In 2010, the band teamed up with the charity UseLess and created limited-edition recycled T‑shirts, with the proceeds going towards clean water projects in Sierra Leone. Anti-Flag have also worked with PETA and Greenpeace, both of whom sponsored the band’s The Economy Sucks Let’s Party tour.
Long-time collaborators with marine conservation charity Sea Shepherd, Brighton metallers Architects have worked tirelessly for the protection of the planet’s oceans. Vocalist Sam Carter became the organisation’s first ambassador, and has volunteered his time to aid projects such as the clean-up of of the beach at Brighton Marina, whilst the band have also worked with Sea Shepherd to produce a range of merch, the profits of which go directly towards the protection of our seas and oceanic wildlife.
San Diego death metallers Cattle Decapitation have always been outspoken about animal rights, with an array of songs that display both a pro-animal and misanthropic message. While members of the band have adopted a vegetarian lifestyle, it’s the music that really sticks out when it comes to Cattle Decapitation’s environmental campaigning; with songs about human slaughterhouses and the decline of our species as we know it, it’s clear that the quintet see no hope in a world that treats animals with little concern.
Like Architects, France’s finest metal export have worked alongside Sea Shepherd, taking them out on tour and providing them with booths at gigs. The lyrics of frontman Joe Duplantier have regularly revolved around environmentalist issues; as far back as 2005, Gojira were tackling ecological concerns on their superb concept album From Mars To Sirius, which spoke of a planet whose environment has died. More recently, 2016’s Magma continued the band’s quest to save the Earth, its lyrics encouraging listeners to stand up and take action in order to stem the tide of climate change.
Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool always have something to say about the political issues of the day, and back when George W. Bush was President of America, the trio used their influence with Green Day by teaming up with environmental group Natural Resources Defence Council, in turn starting the Move America Beyond Oil campaign, which sought to mobilise young activists and convince the president to change course. Its main aim was to educate Green Day fans on the subject of climate change, and encourage them to protest against politicians whose actions were damaging the planet.
In Hearts Wake
Another band passionate about the protection of the Earth’s waters, Aussie metalcore gang In Hearts Wake very much practice what they preach. Their 2017 album Ark was built around lamentations on the destruction of our oceans, whilst the group actively work to reduce their carbon footprint by working with Australian organisation CarbonNeutral, which teaches groups and individuals how to prevent their actions from damaging the planet. Furthermore, when In Hearts Wake released the album Earthwalker in 2014, the band planted a bio-diverse tree for every LP that was pre-ordered by fans.
Always keen to lend their assistance to worthwhile causes, Linkin Park have been involved in multiple campaigns relating to environmental concerns. They founded Music For Relief in 2005 in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami of the previous year, whilst more recently MFR has provided aid in the wake of the California wildfires. Linkin Park also started the Power The World campaign following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a movement which provided support to the United Nations’ sustainable energy aims and donated solar-powered lightbulbs to those in Haiti left without power. Late frontman Chester Bennington was also part of animal rights organisation PETA’s Ink, Not Mink campaign against the production of fur clothing.
Aussie metal titans Parkway Drive are another band who’ve collaborated with Sea Shepherd and taken the group out on tour to promote their conservation efforts. Moreover, vocalist Winston McCall has campaigned diligently against construction projects in the band’s hometown of Byron Bay, which the singer claims have threatened to “destroy” the city. In a 2015 interview with Kerrang!, Winston recalled the protest he and his bandmates partook in regarding the issue:
“They were threatening to level the place and put something in place that the whole town had voted against. The protest shut down the main street, and it was very humbling, being asked to represent people in that way… When you see something like that in motion, you begin to think that maybe there’s more to this than just singing a song about something you’re pissed off about.”
Also living a carbon-neutral touring lifestyle are alt.rock icons Pearl Jam, who have a whole section of their official website dedicated to carbon mitigation. The band donate a portion of tour proceeds to environmental projects, working alongside organisations like American Land Conservancy and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to support conservation in Alaska, whilst also donating money to aid projects in the rainforests of Brazil and Ecuador. Pearl Jam’s continued work in this area saw them recognised by the environmental organisation Rock The Earth as Planet Defenders in their 2011 awards.
Jane’s Addiction frontman and Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell works to better the environment in a variety of ways. His Chicago-based festival donates funds to the city’s parks, whilst there are tents set up specifically for the education of festival-goers on environmental issues. Perry has also previously launched the Global Cool campaign in an attempt to reduce worldwide carbon emissions, whilst he also ensures his tours are carbon-neutral and that his physical releases are made with eco-friendly products.
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