Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

OPINION: It’s time for Taylor to take “swift” action for the environment

Ruth Brown

Taylor Swift’s rise to fame has been mind-blowing, to say the least. I grew up listening to her music, so watching as she transforms from a small town country artist to a global superstar is astounding. While it’s a stretch to put the two of us in the same realm, I sometimes like to think that we’ve grown together.

From dancing in the kitchen to “Picture to Burn” as a toddler to crying to “Cardigan” after my first real heartbreak, she was pivotal to not just my own growth but millions of others.

In my eyes, she is an icon. A symbol of unabashed femininity, power, and honesty. One of the biggest public figures of modern day, as her fanbase is extensive with hundreds of thousands of people looking up to her as a role model.

Modern day, however, is riddled with turmoil and societal issues. One of the most prominent matters, in my eyes, being climate change.

Swift has taken a stance on a variety of global and national affairs with the climate crisis being one of them. Despite her stance, she lacks a lot of vital practices to alter her immense carbon footprint.

The first leg of the “The Eras Tour” was extensive with 152 shows across five continents. Swift sang her heart out night after night, traveling from city to city to an estimated total crowd of nearly 4.5 million people, according to USA Today.

Swift traveled via private jet, one of the worst modes of transportation. It is understandable that she must travel large distances in a very timely manner; however, I think we can all agree that her 28 mile flight was unnecessary.

In 2022, Swift was reported to have the highest private jet carbon emissions at 8,293.54 tons, according to The Yard, a UK based marketing agency.

To put this number into perspective, one ton of carbon dioxide is about equivalent to the weight of 161,290 liter bottles of soda, according to EMS mastery.

This statistic has proven to be wildly controversial following a 2023 report conducted by MyClimate, which found that the pop star didn’t even rank in the top 30 celebrities with the highest carbon emissions related directly to private jet travel.

In refute, it is vital to note the nature of the stats. The Yard collected their data through ADS-B Exchange, the world leading source in openly accessible flight data. MyClimate, on the other hand, collected their data strictly through the celebrities’ social media.

“We only use data that celebrities themselves publish,” myclimate’s Head of Marketing Kai Landwehr said. Swift doesn’t have a terribly large/frequent social media presence, so this naturally skews the rankings.

Her carbon footprint doesn’t end with air travel. According to Forbes, Swift brought in a whopping $200 million in merchandise sales alone throughout her tour – none of her items for sale are eco-friendly. In fact, her infamous cardigans are made of 55% polyester material and 45% acrylic fabric, some of the worst clothing fabrics for the environment as they are plastic based and non-biodegradable.

It’s important to acknowledge that Swift does do great things for society, as well as the environment. According to her publicist, Swift donated double the amount of money that it would take to offset her carbon emissions from “The Eras Tour” to various organizations that plant trees or reduce their emissions to balance out the total output.

Furthermore, Swift has used eco-friendly confetti at some of her shows, according to Rainbow Confetti, the company who supplied the materials for a couple of concerts.

This is a step in the right direction, but is it enough?

When comparing her to other artists, such as Billie Eilish, it isn’t.

Eilish has released lines of merchandise that are sustainable and doesn’t fly private. The musician also set up eco-villages, which are spaces where fans could fill their water bottles for free, register to vote, and learn about environmental nonprofits, with an emphasis on BIPOC- and women-led organizations throughout her “Happier Than Ever” world tour in 2022.

Finances and money are a large, if not the largest, obstacle to touring in a more eco-friendly nature.

Comparatively, however, Swift’s net worth is over 15 times greater than Eilish, who has about $50 million in financial assets.

In October of 2023, Swift was officially given billionaire status after the release of the re-recording of her nine-year-old album “1989,” according to Bloomberg News, and her net worth is now about $1.1 billion.

Swift has accomplished great things. On top of being a wildly successful musician, she has donated millions of dollars to various charities and is outspoken about her political beliefs.

But with the world watching her, it’s time she makes a concrete stance against climate change and follows through.

Her actions will speak louder than her words and implementing more environmentally conscious practices, like Eilish does, could have a profound impact on her ever-expanding fanbase.

Swift is a great public figure, one that I, myself, have looked to for a proper example of how to be a woman in today’s convoluted society.

But as I have grown, the natural world and its rapidly declining health has become such a significant issue that we can see the effects every day.

When I look to public figures and celebrities, both in guidance and to support, it is discouraging to see the ones who are valued the most, disregard such a vital issue in modern society.

Whether or not you consider yourself a “Swiftie,” or if you just hold admiration for her like I do, it is important to call on Swift and air public opinions about her lack of sustainability.

With all eyes on her, Swift needs to set the example of environmental conservation, so little girls dancing in their own kitchens, right now, know what to fight for.

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About the Contributors
Eloise Pickering
Eloise Pickering, Worldview Editor
Eloise Pickering is a current freshman and the Worldview editor. She is a mass communication major, and her favorite movie is Spotlight. When not doing homework or working at the Maroon, Eloise can often be found pondering philosophically in Audubon Park. She has often been dubbed “The Thinker.” Eloise can be reached at [email protected].
Ruth Brown
Ruth Brown, Senior Staff Illustrator
Ruth Brown is a Senior Staff Illustrator on The Maroon. She is a freshman majoring in English alongside a teacher's certification program. In her free time, she likes to go on walks in Audubon park. Ruth can be reached at [email protected].

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