Billie Eilish receives retaliation for speaking out against unsustainablity

Pop artist Billie Eilish is known for taking sustainability seriously, in both her personal and professional life. Recently, she spoke about this in an interview with Billboard published in March, and now she is facing controversy among readers who accused her of targeting other musicians who are not as eco-conscious as she is. 

In this interview, Eilish spoke alongside her mother, Maggie Baird, about how important sustainability and advocating for the climate crisis is for them and their family. 

“It wasn’t even something I really thought about; it was such a normal thing,” said Eilish in a Q&A about participating in sustainable habits growing up. 

In her household, everything was reusable, from shopping bags to wrapping paper. Eilish shared stories about having friends over who were surprised by the absence of paper towels and the family’s adamant avoidance of waste. 

“We always used dish towels instead of paper napkins — everything was reusable, truly,” said Eilish.

To Eilish, this eco-conscious lifestyle would naturally also apply to her music career. In the beginning, she and her mother sat down with label after label talking about how these companies were implementing sustainability, only to find that many weren’t.

After a while Eilish was put in contact with REVERB, who helped them reach their goals. REVERB is an organization that works with musicians, festivals and venues to “green” their events, encouraging social and environmental action. 

Since, Eilish has been growing her career while also making an impact on sustainability in the music industry. During her 2022 “Happier Than Ever” tour, Eilish served plant-based meals for the artists and crew, saving 8.8 million gallons of water. Eilish also performed sets partially charged by zero-admission battery systems charged by solar power on-site. 

To Eilish, one of her biggest accomplishments was working with luxury designer Oscar de la Renta for the 2021 Met Gala, telling the brand that she’d only wear their dress if they agreed to stop using real fur in their pieces, to which they agreed. 

In this interview with Billboard, Eilish was asked about the eight vinyl variants that were released for her “Happier Than Ever” album. The vinyls were made from 100% recycled black vinyl material, including other colored recycled scraps and were wrapped in shrink wrap made from sugar cane. 

She said, “We live in this day and age where, for some reason, it’s very important to some artists to make all sorts of different vinyl and packaging.” She never named anyone, but continued to speak about how it is frustrating to watch huge artists put out vinyl variants with tons of different, unique features, just to drive up revenue and album sales.

“It’s so wasteful, and it’s irritating to me that we’re still at a point where you care that much about your numbers and you care that much about making money — and it’s all your favorite artists doing that sh-t,” said Eilish. 

This turned many heads, with people making assumptions that she’s talking about artists like Olivia Rodrigo, who currently has six different vinyls available on her website for her latest album “GUTS,” which has a different hidden track on each version, and the extended version “GUTS (spilled).” 

Others believe this is meant to diss Taylor Swift who notoriously has had a multitude of exclusive vinyls with different variations, like having different album covers and pressing colors. Swift has been under fire in the past for being one of the leading people contributing to fossil fuels emissions

In response to these criticisms, Eilish posted to her Instagram story saying “It would be so awesome if people would stop putting words into my mouth and actually read what I said in that Billboard article.” Eilish emphasized that she wasn’t trying to single anyone out and was addressing an industry-wide issue.

It’s also important to remember that Eilish also releases vinyl variants. The difference is that she is actively trying to be sustainable while creating merchandise for fans to collect. 

One of the main discussion points in Eilish’s Billboard interview is that it’s hard to be sustainable in the music industry because many aren’t paying attention to that sort of thing. 

I think that, instead of accusing Eilish of dissing artists, we should applaud her for helping pave the way for a more sustainable music industry. Now that she has shown us that vinyls can be made sustainably, large artists might see this as doable and will implement it in their own careers. 

Critics should use the energy they are using to defend their favorite artists against Eilish’s non-existent diss and use that vocality to point at Eilish as an example.


Featured photo courtesy of Crommelincklars, Wikimedia