World-famous rock band cancels tour for environmental reasons: 'How do we turn it around?'

Dillon Thompson

A world-famous rock band has announced it will suspend touring following the release of its next album, citing environmental concerns. 

Coldplay, a band that grossed more than $500 million during its most recent world tour, told the BBC this week that it would not be going on the road again until it could find a way to make the process more sustainable. 

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"We're taking time over the next year or two, to work out how our tour can not only be sustainable [but] how can it be actively beneficial," Coldplay frontman Chris Martin told BBC News. 

The U.K.-based band is set to release its eighth album, "Everyday Life," this Friday, and Martin said there will be no tour following its arrival. Instead, the singer announced that Coldplay would play two shows in Amman, Jordan, which the band plans to live stream on YouTube for free. 

Martin told the BBC that the band wants to evaluate its touring process, and won't resume performing consistently until its shows can be not just sustainable, but also "have a positive impact" on the environment.

"Our next tour will be the best possible version of a tour like that environmentally," Martin said. "We would be disappointed if it's not carbon neutral."

Formed in London in 1996, Coldplay has been one of the most successful rock bands of the past two decades, earning seven Grammy awards and seeing all seven of its previous albums reach platinum status. That success has extended to touring as well: The group's 2016-17 "A Head Full of Dreams" tour is now considered to be the third highest-grossing tour of all time. 

"We've done a lot of big tours at this point. How do we turn it around so it's no so much taking as giving?" Martin told the BBC. 

The 42-year-old singer referenced a number of environmentally-focused concepts in his BBC interview, including solar-powered concerts and tours that ban single-use plastics. He noted that flying would likely be the band's greatest obstacle. 

Air travel has come under scrutiny more than ever in recent years, with researchers and climate activists emphasizing the environmental impact of commercial planes. Earlier this year, the Guardian reported that a single, long-distance flight creates more carbon dioxide emissions than people in many countries generate in an entire year.

Gareth Redmond-King, the World Wildlife Foundation's head of climate change, told the BBC he was impressed to see Coldplay setting this kind of example. 

"It is fantastic to see world-famous artists stepping up to protect the planet," he said. "We all have a responsibility to lead by example in the face of this climate and nature crisis - inaction is not an option if we are to preserve our planet for future generations."

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