Juno award-winning artists the Arkells joined the Ontario climate movement to encourage others to think about their impact on the planet. We caught up with Max from the band about what they do to reduce their own carbon footprint!
It was great to see you guys arriving in style on bicycles at the Hamilton Junos! What made you decide to do that?
There were a few reasons. If I need to get around Hamilton, SoBi (Hamilton’s bike sharing system) is #1 mode of transportation. It’s an incredible public service. At the time it was just launching in Hamilton, and we know the people who are responsible for bringing it to town. I take some pride in being able to shine a light on members of the community who work simply to serve others. Their work is so noble. Also, it would also feel a little out of character to arrive in a stretch limo or something frivolous. We spend enough time in the band van or tour bus – I’m always in favour of fresh air.
What else do you do besides cycling to help reduce your carbon footprint?
I don’t have a car, so I’m on the GO Bus all the time going to and from Toronto. The presto card has really changed the game for public transportation. I use it all the time on the HSR (Hamilton’s transit agency) and the TTC. I’m lucky that I live across the street from the GO Station, so I like to call the GO Bus my personal chauffeur.
What made you choose not to drive?
Well personally, it’s just more convenient to take public transit or ride my bike most of the time. It’s often faster and less stressful. But more generally: our social eco-system is a delicate thing, and I think it’s important for people to be mindful of how we move around and what are the best options for the greater good.
If we dig a little within us, we can find ways to satisfy the environment, our personal health, while figuring out a way to live joyfully along side each other.
Toronto’s transit system even featured in the Arkell’s music video for their hit song Knocking At The Door
Has it been difficult to make this choice?
For me, no. I was incredibly lucky to have parents who are WALKERS. They go for walks every night. My dad works from home and my mom has a five minute walk to work. They consider this reality one of the luckiest parts of their lives. I grew up in Toronto and I’ve been riding the TTC since I could walk. That said, I also appreciate that a lot of people didn’t grow up with this model, but I’d encourage anyone to try it. If you can cut down on your commute and get some fresh air, you’ll be happier.
Are there choices you make while on tour to reduce your impact on the environment?
Touring can be a very wasteful exercise, but we try our best to cut down on unnecessary excess. Our bassist Nick HATES when rider food goes wasted. We’ve all gone through various stages of vegetarian diets – which we all agree is the morally righteous thing to do. If we have press to do at a radio station when we roll in to town, I’ll always opt to walk. I’d hate to spend more time in a cab or Uber.
What would you suggest for an Arkells fan who wanted to follow your lead and act on climate change in their own life?
If you have to, spend a little extra on a living accommodation that has all the amenities in walking distance. If you don’t need a car you’ll be so much happier. When you can walk work, to the grocery store, the gym, coffee shop, you’ve got it made.
Complete the sentence: “I choose to act on climate change because…”
Because I’m selfish and it actually makes my life way better.
Join the Arkells today and become part of the Ontario climate action movement – sign up at www.chooseclimateaction.ca