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U2: Outrageous Carbon Footprint?

A glimpse into U2’s collective carbon footprint from Helen Roberts of carbonfootprint.com has sparked controversy among environmentalists.

This year alone, the world-renowned band’s tour (from 44 shows) is reportedly emitting the equivalent carbon footprint of a return flight to Mars. According to guardian.co.uk, U2 will create enough carbon to fly all 90,000 people attending one of their Wembley dates (in London) to Dublin… Isn’t Bono supposed to be an environmentalist?

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What can you do to lighten your own ‘entertainment footprint’?  Sometimes it’s a necessary evil in order to explore the country (and certainly the globe) that you release some emissions. That’s a no-brainer. But, there’s always opportunity to take steps and offset your footprint to help the greater good.

Is it worth it for the sake of entertainment and exploration? Sure, sometimes. Though I personally feel better about heading to the TLA in Philadelphia to enjoy live music (where I can take public transportation instead of making a more damaging trek to a bigger venue farther away.)

But what about the artist’s trail ? Do you think musicians like U2 and lesser known bands should be more concerned about their environmental impact while touring? Would it stop you from seeing a band you like? Let us know by commenting below.

Posted by Beth

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Beth is a Health and Wellness expert who believes sustainability goes hand-in-hand with self care. She’s the girl whipping up kombucha cocktails at parties, and extolling the benefits of canning vegetables to anyone who will listen. View all posts by Beth Funari

10 thoughts on “U2: Outrageous Carbon Footprint?

  1. Not cool U2. I don’t know… I’m a fan but that’s a turn off and reason enough for me to keep it eco-friendly and listen to them on my i-pod.

  2. Its not U2’s fault they want to attract fans and bring in newer fans. I agree it is a little high, but that wont stop me from wanting to see them on the tour. Your the biggest band in the world, you gotta fight to stay like that.

  3. I agree with both of you – I love U2, but it’s a huge carbon footprint they’re leaving. I realize they may ‘need’ a private plane on occasion (i didn’t read the article, but i’m assuming they’re chartered flights) but can’t celebs take ‘public transit’ or commercial airlines ever?

    I know recently there have been articles that Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Timberlake, Ben Afflect, and others have all been flying commercial – http://www.tmz.com/2009/04/14/timberlake-and-pitt-the-other-mile-high-club/ . Any other celebs you know of flying commercial versus chartered?

  4. I agree Beth, local shows are a good option for live music. Plus, they have a chill vibe , often feels like a more bona fide experience than a big venue.
    And you’re helping your footprint.

  5. Plenty of industry people fly commercial every day, and plenty of stars fly commercial too. I think in today’s global environmental crisis, it is insanely selfish to fly charter unless absolutely necessary. Perhaps being green is now the “in” thing to do, but I also know of several big name stars who offset their carbon footprint every time they fly. It is easy, and not as expensive as you might imagine. When booking your airfare, there is an option for a luggage tag donation. There are different denominations and it tells you what percentage of your carbon footprint from your flight based on miles traveled and such is offset by the donation chosen.

    I am really kinda surprised that U2 doesn’t offset their carbon footprint. With their situation, chartered travel is necessary…. but it is pretty irresponsible to not try to make up for what is spewed out of the turbines. Tsk Tsk U2. I think U2, while a phenominal band, is a little …eh…for a concert for me. Too much worshipping…. This has pretty much solidified my opinion and WILL keep me out of their venues.

    Thanks for the info!

  6. Do you know that Bono flies home to Ireland EVERY night of the Tour by private jet because he likes his home comforts. I am staff so I know this for a fact. Disgraceful hypocracy….

  7. I’ve heard from one of the truck drivers on the tour that U2 is using 210 semi tractor trailers…sounds hypicritcal to me

  8. people come on. Please don’t talk about hypocrisy when Bono is always helping people. So much money is given to charities for people who have little or no ways of surviving. He doesn’t have to give a penny but he does. So don’t say he’s a hypocrite. He’s helped the world in so many ways already.

  9. Interesting thoughts Bianca… very true. People also find ‘hypocrisy’ in eco-activists such as Al Gore, also.
    i know Bono’s a huge advocate of Africa, but the water crisis there is a (blamed) result of our own carbon footprints. Thoughts?

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