BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 04 May '18

Joss Stone on trees, travel and why ‘words are not enough’

This article first appeared in our spring ’18 issue of MyGreenPod Magazine, The Conscious Revolution, distributed with the Guardian on 04 May 2018. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

My ‘Total World Tour’ was initially about the injustice of a ‘world tour’ only actually covering around 20 countries (at best) and leaving out most of the world. Why is one country more important than another? Why is one group of people more important than another?

I started to become aware of the large environmental footprint of a truly global tour, regardless of how we tried to bunch the countries together. I spoke to my booking agent from Diplomats of Sound about what we could do to reduce our footprint; he suggested trying to balance the tour emissions. So we spoke to Energy Revolution, a carbon balancing charity for the creative industries.

We worked out how many miles we’d done and how much it’d cost to balance them. It was the right thing to do so we went from there.

A lot of artists sing about things like ‘we care about people, the planet, our country, water issues, we care, we care’ – most people care. But they have to do something to back that up if they are given the opportunity. There are loads of organisations doing positive things, so speak to one of them and, if you have the means, put your money where your mouth is. The words are not enough: you have to do it.

There was this guy we met who was very sweet, into a hip hop thing and his lyrics were about cars, women, money, diamonds – that’s what he wanted to be. If he turned round and said ‘nah f*** it I’m not doing that footprint bullshit’ I’d understand that – that’s who he is at the moment. But if someone is singing about love, people and the Earth and they don’t do it, that doesn’t add up.

We are going round the world trying to spread goodness and joy and trying to achieve positive things. If we don’t recognise that our travel is a negative it goes against what we are trying to do. Yes it’s another cost, but it’s important to do it. I can’t shut my eyes and ignore it, it’s right that we should pay it. With a lot of these charity contributions people ask ‘why?’ – the answer is ‘why not?’

It’s actually not that difficult to help people if you have the means: I just have to trust the people who do it. I give them a bit of the money I make from my gigs – and every big artist makes a little bit from their gigs. I would understand when you are making ends meet to feed your kids and yourself then it’s not a priority, but when you get to a place where you have got something you can give, then give it.

We visited a charity and the people there showed us pictures of this huge, barren land they’d replanted. Now it’s completely forested, green as you like in the same spot. That image was very powerful; people hear a lot about tree planting but I think they need to see it. Wow, what a difference – and what an improvement to the local area.

Joss Stone, photo ©venni
Joss Stone, photo ©venni

Carbon balanced touring

Joss Stone – the first female Grammy-winning artist to attempt to balance her travel from international touring – has so far balanced 2.7 million travel miles.

Joss has partnered with Energy Revolution to balance the fossil fuel emissions from her tour travel by donating to tree planting initiatives and to projects that create 100% renewable energy. Energy Revolution is a UK charity set up to address the biggest source of carbon emissions in the live music sector: audience and artist travel.

For the ‘Total World Tour’ (2014- 2019), Joss’s aim is to play in every country in the world and balance the emissions associated with her travel. During the tour, Joss is collaborating with local musicians, playing indigenous instruments and music in order to share the beauty of other musical cultures with a wider audience.