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Music lovers care more about climate change than the general public, new study reveals

Music can change lives, there’s no denying that. If used in the right context, it can influence one’s mood in intense and memorable ways, enhance experiences of everyday tasks, boost our overall wellbeing and even help form unique identities. While music can be enjoyed casually, the industry has been on a quest to harness its potential to solve various problems—starting with climate change.

While this has led Rolling Stone to create a separate list of ‘Artists going Green’ (including Adele, Linkin Park, Björk and Maroon 5) there was no solid evidence that the efforts being championed were gripping the crowd. Until now.

In a new study led by the University of Glasgow—titled Turn Up the Volume and carried out in association with UK-based organisation Music Declares Emergency, the British Phonographic Industry, Secretly Group and record company Beggars Group—researchers drew on a YouGov polling of 2,184 adults from across the UK. The survey asked participants a range of questions related to their listening and purchasing habits, as well as their attitudes to climate emergency and sustainability.

The results? 82 per cent of music fans admitted that they were concerned about climate change. These numbers dropped to 72 per cent in the general public. While the first figure can be further broken down as 42 per cent of fans were “very concerned” and 40 per cent were “fairly concerned,” in the latter segment, 31 per cent were “very concerned”—with 41 per cent “fairly concerned.” 54 per cent of music lovers additionally believe that climate change should be a top priority for the music industry, above all other concerns. This number sat at 47 per cent in the public.

“The project findings are exciting because they demonstrate a clear relation between engaged music fandom, increased concern about climate change, and desire for action,” said lead researcher Doctor Matt Brennan in a press release. “Music culture has a long history of playing a key role in social movements, and the evidence shows this link is still strong in the present day when it comes to the climate emergency.”

According to Brennan, the results of the study have the potential of sending a strong message across the music industry—including record labels, concert promoters, streaming platforms and artists—that there is an appetite for initiatives to tackle climate change, and that fans support (in fact, demand) bolder action. “It represents an opportunity for the music sector to play a more prominent role in accelerating a just and green transition,” the researcher added.

The findings also come at a time when the music industry has witnessed several launched campaigns aimed at increasing awareness around climate issues—while also addressing the environmental impact of music events and products themselves. “Announcements from the Music Climate Pact, Live Green, and The Association of Independent Music (AIM) have all made commitments to work towards a net-zero future,” the press release went on to note.

Next month, Billie Eilish is also set to host Overheated, a multi-day climate-focused event planned to take place at The O2 in London. Overheated seeks to bring climate activists, musicians and designers together to discuss the climate crisis and the work they are doing to make a difference. Subjects like developing greener practices in the music industry, the benefits of a plant-based diet and sustainable fashion are set to be explored during panel discussions.

Despite all of this, however, 64 per cent of music lovers surprisingly admitted that they are unaware of any green initiatives in the industry, with only three per cent saying they were clued up on lots of programmes. How many of you were aware of Overheated before reading about the event in this article?

The poll additionally found that many fans are prepared to change their consumption habits to support more sustainable products and practices. “For example, people who spend money on physical products such as records are especially willing to spend more on sustainable physical products, while live event attendees are especially willing to spend more on sustainable events,” the press release noted.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s turn up the music, hold hands and dance our way to a more sustainable future before it’s too late.

New study finds dancing to music can help treat Parkinson’s disease

Everyone likes a good dance, right? Personally, I’m itching to get back to the sticky floors of my local drum and bass nightclub—whenever that may be. Although DnB isn’t to everyone’s taste, I think we can all agree that the tribal act of dancing is good for the soul. It doesn’t just have its physical benefits, despite the fact that I burn basically my entire day’s calories on a night out, it also has its mental benefits too. A number of studies have shown that dance and music can have a significantly positive impact on mental health. And if that wasn’t good news enough, to add to that list, a recent scientific breakthrough has found that both can slow the progress of Parkison’s disease.

What the study found

Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over the years. The symptoms can be diverse, however the disease stereotypically causes involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body, slow movement and inflexible muscles. It’s believed to affect one in 500 people in the UK and, as of writing, there is no cure for the disease. That said, there are a number of treatments to support sufferers, from medication to physiotherapy, and now dance.

The new study published in the Brain Sciences academic journal on 7 July 2021, has suggested that individuals with mild-to-moderate Parkinson’s disease can slow its progress by participating in dancing to music. Essentially, research showed that dancing to music for just one and a quarter-hour per week was enough to slow the pace of the debilitating disease. The study also found that, over the course of three years, doing so would reduce daily motor issues such as those related to balance and speechcommon symptoms which can lead to social isolation when an individual is suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

The team of scientists behind the study are based in the Department of Psychology at York University in Toronto, Canada. Joseph DeSouza, principal investigator and associate professional in the department, along with PhD candidate Karolina Bearss, found that patients who participated in the weekly dance training showed significant improvement in areas related to speech, tremors and rigidity compared to control groups. Their data also suggests dancing had a positive impact on patients’ quality of life, improving cognitive impairments and decreasing the rates of hallucinations. Not surprisingly, dancing also had a positive impact on their mental healthparticipants reported lower rates of depression and anxious moods such as sadness.

DeSouza remarked on the positive benefits this study can bring to those suffering from Parkinson’s disease. In an interview with EurekAlert!, he said that “the experience of performing and being in a studio environment with dance instructors appears to provide benefits for these individuals.” He continued, “Generally, what we know is that dance activates brain areas in those without PD. For those with Parkinson’s disease, even when it’s mild, motor impairment can impact their daily functioninghow they feel about themselves.”

“Many of these motor symptoms lead to isolation because once they get extreme, these people don’t want to go out. These motor symptoms lead to further psychological issues, depression, social isolation, and eventually, the symptoms worsen over time. Our study shows that training with dance and music can slow this down and improve their daily living and daily function.”

What does this mean for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s?

This obviously isn’t the only solution in combating Parkinson’s disease. However, it hints at how powerful music and dance can be in helping ease symptomsboth mentally and physically. Of course, as always with science, more research could and needs to be donebut to do so, it needs funding. One way of looking at this is that it highlights the importance of the therapeutic value of things that are actually fairly simple.

Music and dance are innate, it’s in our blood and, most importantly, free of charge. The simplicity is where its power lies. Indeed, music and dance would arguably need to be combined with other, more biological, forms of therapyhowever, it highlights the importance to not overlook the arts as a form of therapy. Overall, this scientific breakthrough is not something to be downplayed; it’s a step in the right direction in helping us understand and ultimately combat this disease.