The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

Staff Profile
Halle Larew
Halle Larew
Reporter

Who Would Win: Taylor vs Turtles

It’s a battle for the ages: Taylor Swift or every turtle on the planet?
Who+Would+Win%3A+Taylor+vs+Turtles

If given the choice between Taylor Swift and turtles, which one would you choose? You can only keep one; the other one disappears forever.

Here are some ground rules: if you choose to keep Taylor Swift, all turtles (including tortoises) in the world will go extinct. If you choose to keep turtles, Taylor Swift disappears off the face of the Earth and you can never listen to her music again.

There is no doubt that there are major advantages to keeping both of them. With over 50% of American adults identifying as fans of Taylor Swift, she leads a large and influential fanbase. But on the other hand, turtles are important to the ecosystems they live in—they help control the population growth of seagrass, jellyfish, and sponges.

At first glance, the choice seems obvious. Turtles are essential for keeping ocean ecosystems stable, while Swift is one person in a sea of eight billion. But although turtles are a keystone species, is it possible that Taylor Swift may be too?

Let’s look at the facts: just from tour revenue alone, the Eras Tour has become the highest-grossing tour of all time. But beyond what’s just on paper, attendees of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour have racked up a massive 5.7 billion dollar receipt impacting the economy not just from ticket and merchandise sales but from increasing tourism in areas where she has performed and other events and sales associated with the tour. In turn, this has created a significant boost to the economy.

Let’s be clear: the Eras Tour has made more money than the GDP of fifty-five countries. 

And that’s just the first U.S. leg of her most recent tour. The international section of the Eras Tour will begin in Tokyo, Japan, in early February, and she’s scheduled for a second half in the U.S. next fall. Get rid of Taylor Swift, you get rid of all the possible effects she could have on the economy.

That’s not even accounting for all the people who have made the Eras Tour possible, from scheduling venues to backup dancing to collecting tickets. Taylor Swift isn’t just a singer, she’s beyond that. She’s a universally recognized brand with significant power politically and economically. In September, Swift encouraged her followers to register to vote on her Instagram Story, which led to over 30,000 newly registered voters that week—a record-breaking high.

Some other statistics: Taylor Swift has 279 million Instagram followers, while the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—arguably the most well-known turtles in popular culture—have 0.1 percent of Swift’s followers, at 279 thousand. Swift gave $55 million in bonuses to Eras Tour employees, while all that turtles give people is… salmonella?

Beyond her political and economic impact, Taylor Swift has redefined the music industry. She has advocated for artists everywhere, from reforming music contracts to changing ticketing practices. And there is no doubt that she is an excellent artist known for her lyricism and bond with her music. But that’s not all. Taylor Swift saves lives

Swift’s music has changed so many people for the better. This leads us to a looming question: Can turtles compete with the astronomical force that is Taylor Swift?

Sure, Swift may seem perfect on paper. But with the number of people traveling to see her perform live, there’s no doubt that the carbon emissions produced by the Eras Tour are high. According to a study done by Yard, a United Kingdom-based sustainability group, Swift topped the list of most celebrity CO2 emission even before going on tour. Although a representative for Swift has claimed that her plane is loaned out to other people, that same plane accounted for 8,293.54 tons of carbon dioxide emissions in a six-month period.

Additionally, the amount of consumption by fans of Taylor Swift is shocking. As with the Barbie movie craze, fans are quick to buy specialized outfits for her tours and trade bracelets with each other. Yes, it’s a special sentiment shared by her fans, but do the negative effects of this mass consumption outweigh the benefits? Air New Zealand had to add 14 extra flights because of fans traveling to see Swift perform in February in Australia. For context, that’s about 846 extra tons of CO2 being added because of Swift’s ten-day stunt in Sydney and Melbourne. That’s nothing compared to Swift herself, of course, but it’s still a substantial amount of carbon emissions, at about 211 times the average global tons of CO2 emissions per person.

Turtles, on the other hand, don’t emit enough carbon dioxide to have anything about the subject on Google. Fish, sure, but turtles? No way. In fact, instead of destroying the environment, turtles are an important part of the ocean ecosystem. Some species are the coral reefs’ gardeners, from mowing the seagrass to trimming the sponges to keeping the jellyfish population at bay. Without turtles, our aquatic ecosystems would disappear. According to Whit Gibbons, a real-life turtle scientist, turtles ‘do no harm and do a lot of good.’

What else do turtles bring to the table? For one, they’re highly represented as wise, old characters. Perhaps one of the most universally well-known stories is that of Greek storyteller Aesop’s The Tortoise and the Hare, in which a steady tortoise outsmarts a self-assured hare. Through thick and thin, people have remained infatuated with turtles—this curious animal that carries its home on its back.

Turtles carry a deeper meaning, too. In some cultures, turtles play a crucial role in religious and creation stories. Oftentimes, turtles are represented as carrying the entire world on top of their shells, like the Native American and Hindu concepts of a turtle supporting the Earth on its back. Or, as a more modern reference, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series takes place in a world that sits on top of four elephants, which in turn stand on a giant, celestial turtle’s back. 

Turtles are already disappearing. Even with the Endangered Species Act, which protects at-risk species in the United States, 61% of 356 turtle species have become endangered or extinct. Humans, on the other hand, including Taylor Swift, show no signs of stopping or slowing down. Should we be using the money we spent on Taylor Swift to protect turtles instead? Or should we let all turtles go extinct because of our mistakes?

Since Taylor Swift has only been alive for a mere 34 years, an infinitesimal amount of time compared to turtles (thought to be around for more than 230 million years!), there are no creation stories about her. However, Taylor Swift and turtles do share a few things in common. They can both see in color, for one.

The clear winner between the battle of Taylor Swift and turtles is turtles. Sorry, Taylor, but I’d sacrifice you in favor of those little animals with shells. Despite the cultural phenomenon that is Taylor Swift, turtles and tortoises alike have been present for millenia and will continue to remain popular years after the love for Taylor Swift dissipates. As in The Tortoise and the Hare, slow and steady wins the race.

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Lily Rantanen, Reporter
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    Kenley RipkaJan 22, 2024 at 12:23 pm

    I thought this was going to be about who would win in a fight.

    Reply