The Climate Service Announcement:
What we can do, and why we need to do it
Music is a climate issue.
Musicians are guardians and custodians. Some of us present the idioms and repertoire of centuries past; some of us create new and original music — but all of us form an unbroken line of transmission and continuity dating back thousands of years before the beginning of recorded human history.
Music links humans in joy and sorrow, brings us together in work and play, and offers profound communion in every human culture everywhere on the world.
Our musical expressions have grown up as part of the complex civilization which started with the beginning of farming and evolved into thousands of different regional cultures all over the world. The variety and richness of humanity’s music is one of our species’ greatest and most admirable accomplishments.
Thanks to twelve millennia of relatively consistent climatic conditions, our agriculture has become unbelievably productive, allowing our numbers to expand. Now, as human civilization covers the planet, the magnitude of our technology imperils us. The emissions from burning fossil fuels like oil and coal enter the upper atmosphere, where they concentrate the sun’s heat in a “greenhouse effect” that is now melting polar ice caps and triggering potentially catastrophic transformations that will often happen far too rapidly for life to adapt.
The number of climate-related disasters around the world is growing with each passing year. Droughts, wildfires, floods, devastating storms, and freak weather events are regular parts of the news everywhere on Earth.
Climate change is the first genuine planetary emergency humanity has ever faced. And we are musicians, not climate scientists or engineers. How can we make a meaningful contribution to the struggle against climate change?
Here’s what we can do.
We start by recognizing that our mass media have failed us; most reporting on the climate crisis is irresponsibly negligent and inadequate. But we have something else: our listeners.
We musicians can make a genuine impact on this critical battle, and all it needs is less than a minute. At every gig, every concert, every time we appear in front of an audience, we can take a few seconds to make a Climate Service Announcement like the one at the top of this page.
It should be no more controversial than saying, “this event was made possible by a grant from _______,” “support our troops,” “don’t forget to vote,” or “be sure to tip your servers generously” — and it’s a way we can remind people about the most pressing and important issue of our time every time they go out to hear some live music.
Are you prepared to make a Climate Service Announcement (C.S.A.) a regular part of your performances?
I am. How about you?
Warren Senders (Hindustani vocalist, jazz composer)
Please sign up here and join the other performers who are making their voices heard.