In celebration of Earth Day Billboard has put out The Green Ten. Yup the top 10 bands/artists to go Green. In case you missed it here they are!
10. The Roots
At this year’s edition of their annual pre-Grammy Awards all-star jam session called the Green Carpet Bash, the Philadelphia-based hip-hop crew gave away signed compost bins in an effort to promote the practice. Devoted animal lovers, the band members have also worked frequently with PETA, most recently on the “Stop the Violence: Go Veg!” campaign. And their activism has caught on among Roots fans. Check out Okayplayer.com, an online community led in part by drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, where recent discussion-board topics included “Should horticulture replace agriculture?” and “Anyone know any recipes that are rich in vitamin B17?”
It’s funny to see the major impact celebrities/musicians have on us. I think it’s great that artists are thinking up creative ways to spread the word of great causes.
9. Missy Higgins
Missy Higgins is looking to further her green efforts on her current U.S. jaunt. Leading up to the Feb. 26 release of her latest album, “On a Clear Night,” Higgins spent two weeks traveling across the country in a hybrid Prius and posted Web documentaries of her stops at various forward-thinking locations, such as the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and the Mountain View Montessori School, a green elementary school in Reno, Nev. While the current leg of her tour is kept carbon-neutral by offsetting CO2 emissions with buying wind power credits, her upcoming run in May alongside Brett Dennen and Mason Jennings will be powered by biodiesel-fueled buses. Clif Bar’s GreenNotes program will aid in greening their touring initiatives, and among the things Higgins plans to implement is allowing fans the option to offset their ticket purchases, which the singer has done for previous Australian gigs.
I love artists that really try to make a difference! Can you imagine driving down the highway and seeing Missy Higgins in her little hybrid, how crazy would that be!
Radiohead’s most meaningful environmental contribution last year might’ve been something it didn’t do: release “In Rainbows” in a conventional manner. Though hard figures are practically impossible to come by, delivering the album as a price-optional digital download two months before putting a physical product in stores no doubt prevented the manufacture (and eventual disposal) of tens of thousands of CDs. And the band’s unwillingness to travel kept tens of thousands of miles’ worth of airplane exhaust out of the atmosphere. “What they won’t do-and haven’t done for a while-is fly around the world and do promotion,” says Bryce Edge, one of the band’s managers. “Thom [Yorke] just won’t do that.” When they do leave home, Yorke and his bandmates take steps to offset their impact. They’ve partnered with Best Foot Forward, an Oxford-based consulting firm dedicated to helping organizations reduce their carbon footprints. BFF recently analyzed two Radiohead tours to find out which sort of show makes a bigger ecological impact: large ones held on the outskirts of cities or smaller ones held in urban areas. The goal? No fake plastic trees.
Price-optional download…does anyone else see the future?
7. Serj Tankian
A few days before the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, Serj Tankian is sitting in an Austin hotel room and ruminating on the costs of the endless battle. But Tankian isn’t talking about dead soldiers or civilians; he’s talking about the cost to the Middle East ‘s environment, an issue that few people have raised. “The topsoil there has been destroyed,” he says, “and who knows what kind of damage all those bombs have caused to the ecosystems in the Middle East ?”
Ok seriously, I feel really dumb right now. I am all about being as Green as possible and never even thought of the topsoil in the Middle East being destroyed.
Many bands these days are claiming the “green” label, but their concern often starts at the merch table and ends at the recycling bin. Not so for the System of a Down frontman-turned-solo artist, who sees beyond silos and realizes that issues like electoral reform, recognition of the Armenian genocide, poverty and the environment are all related. As the four-day industry party that is South by Southwest rages below him, Tankian is serious but not humorless
For Tankian, preaching about taking action is not enough. Rather than simply paying lip service to green issues, he founded a Web site, skyisover.net, to connect his fans to environmental and social justice organizations. He also fuses the message to his music and the accompanying visuals; the video for “Sky Is Over” shows him literally erasing the sky, a comment on the growing deterioration of the ozone layer.
He also founded a nonprofit, Axis of Justice, with former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello. “Serj and Tom are really committed to getting music fans to get involved with local organizations and be active on a grass-roots level,” AOJ media director Jake Sexton says. “Serj is extremely informed about how the way we live our lives impacts others and the need to a change in consciousness.”
Tankian is spreading his green message on the road and working with environmental nonprofit Reverb to make sure that his current tour leaves as small a carbon footprint as possible. With the organization, he ensures all the food served backstage is organic and locally grown, that recycling bins are available throughout the venues and that fans can buy energy credits to offset their travel to the show. Still, Tankian recognizes that it’s not enough. “This is all great,” he says, “but it’s not going to stop the destruction. Right now the Earth has a fever, and based on the accelerated rate of population growth, the way we live now is completely unsustainable.”
6. Pearl Jam
One of the more green-conscious acts in music, Pearl Jam spent the past year donating to local causes with an environmental slant and further honing the greening of its touring and overall business.
Dovetailing with the more than $120,000 the band has donated to organizations devoted to climate change and renewable energy since 2005, drummer Matt Cameron played a January benefit for flood victims in Central Washington, while guitarist Stone Gossard, in tandem with Green Seattle Partnerships, planted vegetation in a Seattle park ravaged by English Ivy. Pearl Jam is also poring over ways to make its Seattle-based office/warehouse more environmentally friendly and is already taking steps to reduce the carbon footprint its 2008 concerts will leave. “We like the idea of philanthropy being part of our normal business day. We’re not going to make a huge impact on any particular issue, but by being involved in numerous things, the broader network of businesses will have a big impact on what’s going on in the world,” Gossard says.
I am totally with Stone Gossard on this one. Not everyone can afford to have solar panels on our roofs or tankless water heaters, but we can help by doing what we can. Recycle, carpooling, not leaving unused lights on.
5. KT Tunstall
Last September, KT Tunstall partnered with her record label, Virgin, to create a 100% post-consumer waste recycled and chlorine-free booklet for her sophomore CD, “Drastic Fantastic.” This followed closely on the heels of the Scottish singer/songwriter’s July 2007 Live Earth performance, during which she greeted the crowed at New Jersey ‘s Giants Stadium in a T-shirt imploring “Save the Future.” Tunstall, who has taken steps to reduce the impact of her own success on the environment since the production of her debut album, told Billboard last year that getting the opportunity to take part in Live Earth “meant so much. I would have been ashamed not to have been part of it, really, because environmental issues are so important to me and that’s something I really want to share.” 2007 also saw Tunstall beginning work on the greening of her London home, as well as completing a carbon-neutral U.K. tour. Currently Tunstall is planning an environmentally friendly U.S. outing for May. Although details are still being hammered out, it’s likely the singer will travel on a biodiesel-fueled tour bus, something she did in 2006 while touring the States.
4. Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band doesn’t want to go green alone: It is willing to go green for everyone else, too. The band, through environmental nonprofit Reverb, has calculated the CO2 emissions from every stop on its upcoming extensive summer tour and has purchased the renewable energy credits through NativeEnergy to make up for the footprint left by each venue, hotel, flight, tour vehicle and even fan travel. But DMB devotees can make their own contributions by signing up to a carpool service online. Tour buses and trucks this summer will run on biodiesel and, backstage, the band plans to feast on local and organic foods on their reusable catering products. The five-piece plans to continue erecting an “eco-village” at each show to inform concertgoers of ways they can help save the environment. Bassist Stephan Lessard also told Billboard recently that the band wants to integrate issues of water conservation into the mix. His interest extends from his contributions to scoring the recent IMAX documentary “Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk,” which brings to light water economy and ecology in the United States .
As long as DMB isn’t dumping anything from their tour buses it’s all good!
In 1993, the Mexican rock quartet released “Vivir Sin Aire,” a song that likened not having a loved one to living without air. It was a deliberate parallel that few people got, even when the song became a regionwide hit. “We were already talking about global warming, but no one understood,” frontman Fher Olvera says. “Now they understand perfectly.” Long before being green was cool, the group were tireless advocates for environmental causes through its nonprofit Selva Negra foundation, launched in 1994. Selva Negra’s projects range from saving endangered species like the sea turtle to massive reforestation efforts, in tandem with programs that seek to change the way entire communities live and use their land. But the group’s most ambitious and potentially far-reaching endeavor is a proposal to make environmental and ethics classes part of the curriculum for all of Mexico ‘s schoolchildren. The project, developed with government officials and Mexico ‘s Universidad Aut?noma, was put before Congress last year, and included the development of textbooks and special teacher training. This March, it launched in 5,000 schools with plans to go nationwide by year’s end. “This is what’s needed to raise a generation that sees things different. That understands that one thing leads to another,” Olvera says.
2. Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson’s BioWillie biodiesel fuel, which is already sold in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, California and Tennessee, will add a key location when Willie’s Place at Carl’s Corner, Texas, opens this summer. The truck stop, built on the site of the first outlet to carry BioWillie, is located just off busy truck route I-35, which runs from the Mexican to the Canadian border. Billed as the biggest green truck stop in the United States, the facility will include 13 islands and 26 pumps, and all fuel sold there will have some percentage of biofuel, ranging from 5% to 85%. The facility will feature two restaurants, a saloon, gift shop, a 750-seat performance hall and an XM Satellite Radio studio. Nelson, who does an XM radio show every Wednesday with legendary trucking DJ Bill Mack, says biodiesel is catching on with truckers. “I talk to all the truckers going up and down the highway, and they tell me they use it, they like it, it’s good for the engines and they get good gas mileage,” he says. “Truckers have been the ones who have spread the word about biodiesel as much as anybody.
I never knew there were green truck stops! Wow this truck stop sounds awesome. I think I could hang out here.
1. Jack Johnson
“In this new eco-green world, every issue is a green issue,” says Jack Johnson, who’s taken steps to reflect that reality in his recording and touring choices. At the Los Angeles headquarters of his Brushfire Records-a cozy single-family home on warm-and-fuzzy Larchmont Boulevard -this Live Earth veteran and his business partners recently oversaw construction of a new recording studio insulated with used denim and powered in part by solar panels located on the roof. “It was an investment for sure, which will take a good number of years to get a return on financially,” Brushfire managing director Josh Nicotra says. “But in terms of environmental impact, the returns are immediate, so we were happy to do it.” (Recent bookings at the studio include Neil Halstead, Mason Jennings and Vampire Weekend.) Johnson, a lifelong surfer who splits his time between homes in Oahu and Santa Barbara , Calif. , says that he inherited much of his ecological awareness from his dad, who viewed recycling, reusing and repairing as simple facts of life. Johnson also describes his activism as the natural outgrowth of spending his downtime in two of the world’s most gorgeous locations. He will continue giving back to Hawaii with his April 19-20 Kokua Festival, at which he will perform with Dave Matthews. Proceeds benefit the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports environmental education in the state’s schools and communities. And for his 2008 tour in support of “Sleep Through the Static,” Johnson has updated his so-called “EnviroRider,” requiring venues to reduce waste and recycle. In addition, the tour’s trucks and coaches will run on biodiesel, while catering will emphasize locally grown and organic foods. This guy means business: “You will be required to notify the Jack Johnson organization no later than 60 days prior to the event if there is any possibility of noncompliance with these requirements,” the rider reads, before threatening to withhold 5% of payment from venues that fail to produce documentation of cooperation by 10 days after Johnson’s concert. Just call him the jolly green giant.
I wish more artists would take Jack’s lead. And I wish I could afford my very own solar panel roof….some day.
Well that does it for the top 10 Green artists. Hopefully more will follow in their reduced carbon footprints.