Touring is an inherently wasteful process, but it doesn’t have to be. Once you decide you want to green your tour, you can do a few simple and effective things that will really cut back on your waste. Some will be simple. Others will take a little more effort. The good news is you don’t have to be a mega-star or have millions of fan, you just have to care enough to make an effort. The smallest steps can become habits over time, so start now to build a healthy framework that inspires others and minimizes your footprint.
Talk About It
When you start down this road it can be intimidating. You feel like you aren’t an expert and don’t know what to say and when. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not talking about your efforts to be greener. That said you should be transparent in that you aren’t aspiring to perfection. Welcome your fans and tour partners to give feedback. Take photos of your success and failures. Have fun with it, but be sure to make your greening efforts a dialogue.
The old cliché is “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” but wait, it’s all small stuff. The same is true here so start with the little things: Replace all plastic water bottles with metal canteens, ask for composting and recycling in your riders, try not to support mega-chains on the road. Pack your meals. Cook whenever possible. Encourage fans to take public transit or ride bikes. All these small pieces may not feel like much at the time, but as it turns out, they’re a big part of what matters.
Ask For It
You’d be surprised how much influence you have. Even if you’re just starting out and playing house shows, you can ask your hosts and promoters to be conscious in their arrangements. Most people working in music or the arts inherently care about the world. They’re not insensitive. As you advance each show, include an Enviro-Rider (link). The worst thing that could happen is that someone might not comply. Over time you’ll be able to find venues and fans that sync with your worldview.
Make It Collaborative
Music is naturally a collaborative process. Musicians team up with sound engineers and band mates, and the same applies to your fans, your advocates, and your program partners. One of the benefits of embedding environmental or socially responsible issues in your work is that it automatically adheres you to a larger community. Ask for help sourcing the best options in a new town: What local organizations could label at your shows? What causes do you align with and who needs your help? Reaching out can change what might have been an incredibly isolating process into a kick-start for your career.
Both Show And Tell
The other side of the coin is to really celebrate those people you meet who are doing good work. It can be tempting to point to the people who are callous or negative, but if you go the other direction you’ll find more and more active and innovative people gravitating towards you. That energy can even inspire your own work—in directions not previously imagined.