Your Playlist Gets a Green Makeover
Music has come a long way in the last few decades.In the 80’s and 90’s musicians—and millions of their fans–were more concerned with excess than recycling.
These days we know better and thankfully so do many eco-friendly musicians. These artists have realized that they can produce great music as well as promote a message of sustainability.
Seattle-based American rapper Macklemore and his producer Ryan Lewis are best known for their recent hit song,”Thrift Shop,” a hip hop song about the benefits of buying cheap clothing from thrift shops, disdaining designer labels and trends.
Singer Jack Johnson works with the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes environmental education in Hawaiian schools. In 2010, Johnson focused on his social action network All At Once, which pairs fans with non-profits like Sustainable Local Food Systems and Plastic Free Initiatives. Johnson also donated 100 percent of his tour profits from 2008 and 2010 to his Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, in association with All At Once, to art and environmental education. The same Johnson-helmed group donated $70,000 to non-profits working to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Canadian band Barenaked Ladies was one of the first groups to produce a green tour in 2004. The band offered organic food backstage and biodegradable supplies, as well as repurposing items when they could. For example, broken guitar strings were collected and repurposed into recycled jewelry. Their tour buses were powered with biodiesel fuel (from fat or vegetable oil) and they were one of the first bands to set up informational “Eco-Villages” at live shows; a practice that’s becoming more and more common with a variety of bands.
Sheryl Crow also requires Eco-Villages at her concerts with representatives from up to 50 environmental groups handing out information to concert goers. In the past, Crow worked with StopGlobalWarming.org on a college tour and partnered with ZimRide to encourage carpooling to shows.
By her own estimate she neutralized nearly 1.5 million pounds of CO2 by greening her 2010 tour by using biodegradable and compostable catering, biodiesel fuel and reusable water bottles for the band and crew. The tour’s total carbon reductions were equivalent to 81 homes not using electricity for an entire year.
Sheryl Crow is well known for practicing her eco-friendly lifestyle in and out of the spotlight. She famously joked about “using one square of toilet paper per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required” as an initiative to help save the trees. She even planned an eco-friendly baby shower in advance of her son’s birth.
Of course these are just a few eco-friendly musicians promoting a message of sustainability and environmentalism through their music and their actions.
To find more eco-friendly musicians and musical festivals, check out Green Music Group, a coalition created by the non-profit organization Reverb. Leading by example, GMG facilitates large-scale greening of the music community and magnifies the work of national nonprofits all while building a vibrant community committed to environmental action.
What musicians inspire you to do more to promote a green lifestyle? We’d love to know who you have on your playlist. Send us a link to songs or tweet us the name of your favorite artist on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.