How often do you think about the effect your career could be having on climate change?
We recently caught up with Gold Coast musician Dani Teveluwe, aka Sunny Luwe, who has created an online guide to carbon offsetting for musos based on her own journey to net zero music-making.
The soulful pop melodies of Dani Teveluwe’s tunes are music to our ears.
Hearing her talk about carbon offsetting has a similar effect.
Having always maintained a love for the world around her, Dani says it was at the forefront of her mind as she decided to embark on a music career under the pseudonym Sunny Luwe in 2020.
“I’ve always been really passionate about caring for the environment and so I started thinking about how I could make music with minimal impact,” she says.
The answer was carbon offsetting, a process whereby you can cancel out the effect of your own emissions by contributing to the removal of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere elsewhere.
One of the best ways to do that? Restoring rainforest.
So when she was introduced to the work of the Rainforest 4 Foundation, it was a natural fit.
“I’ve heard so many really intelligent people, people like Sir David Attenborough and Leonardo DiCaprio, mention that part of our responsibility as humans is to make sure we’re preserving rainforest around the world for future generations,” she says.
“When I heard about [Rainforest 4] I thought this is really aligned with my cause. I really admired their sentiment from the get-go. They’re doing the thing, buying and restoring rainforest.”
So far, each of Dani’s singles has been carbon offset through donations to Rainforest 4’s Save the Daintree and Rainforest Rangers programs, and she’s currently finishing the carbon offset calculations on an album planned for release in October.
She’s also taken it a step further, creating an online guide to help other musos offset their music-making by donating to Rainforest 4 Foundation.
“For the majority of musicians, especially independent musos, they’d be surprised at how cheap and affordable it is to offset a project,” Dani says.
“Most musicians could probably offset their next single for less than a carton of beer.”
Dani says that for her, the two biggest carbon footprint contributors have been travel and fashion.
“I was fortunate to fly to NZ last year and work with a really cool producer, but air flights immediately jack up your carbon footprint,” she says.
“The other one is fashion. I style all my own photoshoots and offset each item of clothing as well. I realised that if I purchase a new outfit, or even buy something second hand and pay for shipping my carbon footprint goes up. It’s been really cool to better understand that.”
It also creates an important talking point.
“At the essence of it, it’s a great conversation starter to say ‘I’m focusing on trying to do my best to try and neutralise my impact on the environment while making music’,” she says.
“I can get a bit anxious about the whole situation sometimes, but it’s about looking at what little things could you be doing to make a difference. It’s also important to be linked in with what’s happening [to combat climate change]. I’m doing my bit and I’m going to try and keep getting better.
“And I think if you genuinely can say that, and mean it you’re doing the best you can too.”
Sunny Luwe’s guide to carbon offsetting music can be found here.