Brighid Fry is using their platform as a musician and songwriter to push the music industry for more action on climate change.

The 19-year-old artist has sent an open letter to the Canadian music industry, asking others to join them in making their sector greener. In the letter, Fry acknowledges the climate emergency and connects it to mental health issues in young people, calling on the music industry to use the $2.9-billion investment in zero-emission vehicles announced by the Trudeau government for tour buses and vans as well as the $1 million in green building investments to help make the industry more climate-friendly.

“The music industry could access this money to support taking leadership in moving the music industry towards a post-carbon future while asking the federal government to commit more,” Fry wrote in the letter.

Based in Toronto, Fry has multiple accolades, including a Canadian Folk Music Award, under her belt. She has also released three EPs, two of which are with her band Housewife (formerly known as Moscow Apartment), all while still in high school.

While Fry had “a lot on her plate” juggling her studies and her professional music career, now that she's focusing solely on music, Fry said they have the autonomy, time and platform to talk about climate advocacy.

“It's something I've always cared about, I have a platform now, so, obviously, I’m going to talk about something that is important to me. Anyone with that sort of platform should be doing that.”

Fry recently started trying to combine her music and climate work. “I don’t know as much about climate activism as I do about the music industry, but I wanted to find a way to combine the two things,” they said.

Fry joined in founding the Canadian branch of Music Declares Emergency, a group of artists, industry professionals and organizations hoping to recruit others within the industry, to “join in declaring a climate emergency and to work towards making the cultural and operational changes necessary to contribute towards a carbon-neutral future,” its website reads.

“There’s a lot of musicians who use their platforms, and when someone talks about these things, there’s a good chance people will listen,” Fry said. “The effect that musicians have on people to act on climate things has been around for a really long time.”

The first Canadian music climate summit will be taking place in Toronto today to celebrate the role of music and art in confronting the climate emergency.

Fry said music has a unique position in relation to activism — the two have always gone hand in hand. “Look at how many musicians have been involved in political movements in the past and protest songs. There’s very clearly a connection there.”

Musicians at climate rallies help build energy and emotion, Fry added. “I think music is a way to really connect to people emotionally and get people to care and be motivated about things.”

Despite Music Declares Emergency receiving “tons” of interest from artists and music fans, Fry said the group held a panel during Canadian Music Week that didn’t receive a large turnout. Fry blames the lack of behind-the-scenes industry support.

“It makes sense the music industry is trying to build itself back after taking such a huge hit from the pandemic, but it was still pretty disappointing,” Fry said. “We’ve had so many musicians say, ‘I would love to help but don’t know where to start,’ so we decided we needed to have a day to centralize information and interest to get people on board.”

Canada Music Declares Emergency will be hosting the first Canadian music climate summit in Toronto today to celebrate the role of music and art in confronting the climate emergency.

While open to everyone, the summit is geared towards musicians and people behind the scenes in the industry, Fry explains. “Not only do we want to help musicians mobilize their platform and audience, we also want to help make the industry greener.”

To musicians, Fry said: “While you may not feel ready to commit anything yet, you can still learn, take the information and go with it. The music industry has always prided itself on being progressive and with the times, so we just have to continue to do that.

“We need a lot more people on board, but once we do, I think we will have it.”

Nairah Ahmed / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer

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For starters, Ontario needs to rid itself of fossil fuel electricity- and other areas where musicians draw big crowds. Having electric buses and venues powered by dirty energy does not help. But people still seem to vote in stupid governments…