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The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

Carbon Emissions (Taylor’s Version)

Rishi Gala (he/him)

Taylor Swift, a global music phenomenon, has undeniably captivated millions worldwide with her exceptional talent and charismatic presence. Renowned for seamlessly navigating various music genres with her incredible lyricism, she has left an indelible mark on the hearts of her fans. This past year, her popularity soared during the groundbreaking Eras Tour, a three-hour show that showcased her musical evolution. Breaking records across the map, the tour just grossed over $1 billion in revenue sales this past year, according to Pollstar’s 2023 year-end charts.  However, amid the success, Swift is facing criticism for the environmental impact of her tour, specifically her excessive use of fossil fuels.

According to the official Carbon Credits website, in the last 3 months of 2023 alone, Swift’s travels emitted over 8,293 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That is around 515 times the amount the average American emits in their lifetime. 

Despite being a phenomenal performer who has inspired and moved many, Swift’s disastrous carbon footprint has done immeasureable damage to the environment, and she should make it her priority to reduce her carbon emissions. 

A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, that an individual, organization or event is responsible for emitting into the atmosphere. Measured in tons of carbon dioxide, it encompasses the direct and indirect emissions associated with various activities such as energy consumption, transportation, and product production. 

The  harm caused by a carbon footprint lies in its contribution to climate change. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to a rise in average temperatures and resulting in adverse environmental effects, including more frequent and severe weather events, rising sea levels and disruptions to ecosystems. Reducing carbon footprints is crucial for mitigating climate change and promoting environmental sustainability. Swift’s unrestrained usage of her private jet has launched hundreds of thousands of carbon tons over the past few years, and it’s causing devastating damage to the environment. She was named the celebrity with the highest carbon emissions not only in 2023, but in 2022 as well. 

Swift purchased double the amount of carbon credits required for her Eras Tour, which, in perspective, is a commendable act. Otherwise known as carbon offsets, carbon credits are permits that allow a person or organization to emit a certain amount of CO2, and according to the USDA, that money goes to certain environmental causes. For her to purchase all of those credits is incredibly generous of her, but the offsets don’t come close to reversing her carbon emissions. Many question the effectiveness of the offsets due the quality of projects they are invested in. The carbon market can be complex and the lack of standardized rules across different offset programs contributes to confusion and create potential loopholes. 

The main thing that needs to change is Swift’s  heavy reliance on private air travel: she needs to switch to more ecofriendly methods of transportation. With the announcement of her rerecord album, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” on Aug. 9, 2023, Swift’s U.S. leg of the Eras Tour wrapped up with a bang. However, with Swift flying from city to city, she has emitted hundreds of tons of carbon in the atmosphere. She could have used less carbon-heavy methods of transportation. Trailer vans and buses would still have emitted carbon, but they would have been significantly less carbon-intensive than her jet. In fact, she can easily explore more ecofriendly options of transportation for shorter distances, especially as the  2024 leg of her Eras Tour is scheduled to start Feb. 7. Embracing these alternatives would not only demonstrate an environmental accountability but also set a precedent for peers in the entertainment industry.

Another notable situation contributing to Taylor Swift’s substantial jet usage is for her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, Travis Kelce. Swift has time and time again traveled across the globe just to go back to Kansas City to see Kelce play. She has the option to stay in Kansas City before her tour resumes, rather than flying back and forth, which would considerably reduce her emissions. This practice underscores the environmental consequences of celebrity lifestyles, where the convenience of private jet travel often comes at the expense of heightened carbon emissions. 

Her NFL visits alone have used more than 12,500 gallons of jet fuel, and to undo the damage this causes, around 2,200 trees would have to live and thrive for over 10 years, the Carbon Credit website also states. 

One could argue that Swift’s private jet use is driven by a need for security, given the existence of stalkers, paparazzi and overzealous fans. While safety is absolutely necessary, advanced security measures on commercial flights and alternative transportation can address these concerns. Enhanced security protocols, personalized arrangements and coordination with relevant authorities could create a secure environment when traveling in public. Moreover, by opting for commercial flights, trains or other lower-impact alternatives, Swift would not only reduce her carbon footprint but also present a more environmentally conscious image to the public. 

With Swift’s incredible influence on the younger generations, she has the opportunity to redeem herself by ammending her environmental faults. Back in 2018, Swift did something similar, informing the younger generation of the upcoming election, bringing in thousands of new voters just with an Instagram post. This is her opportunity to be a role model again by switching to more sustainable methods and promoting sustainability. She has the potential to help the world become more sustainable as well. This shift in transportation choices could be accompanied by a broader initiative to encourage sustainable practices within the entertainment industry, emphasizing the importance of balancing personal safety with environmental responsibility.

Swift’s influence on the music industry and in the world is undoubtedly strong right now, and she is a force to be reckoned with. However, she needs to be held accountable. Considering her large fanbase, reducing private air travel should be her utmost concern, not only to uphold her reputation, but to sustain our environment altogether. Swift has the potential to create a lasting legacy not only with her timeless music, but also with her efforts to combat the horrors of climate change. 

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About the Contributor
Rishi Gala (he/him)
Junior Rishi Gala is electrified to start his first year as a reporter for Nordic News in the 2023-2024 school year. Rishi is also a member in Art Club, the public relations executive in SASA, in IHS Crew, and doing WANIC for Art and Animation. His goals for this year are to produce colorful and informative stories that people will enjoy and talk about. He also finds delight in drawing, spending time with his friends, traveling, and listening to different kinds of music.

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