Monday, April 21, 2008

posted by Sarah Krasley @ 12:39 AM
Every year around this time, pretty much every magazine, newspaper, and blog editor with a pulse churns out a list of the the Top 10 ways readers can act to save the planet. Hey, who are we to buck such a venerable trend. Here's our take on the Top 10 list, cleverly broken up into seven things fans can do and three things we want to saddle those poor, overworked rock stars with.

Fans: Hey, you guys are the lifeblood of the industry. We mean that. The stars may get all the press, but consider this: without music fans, Jack Johnson would be stuck in a cubicle somewhere. And since there are so many more of you than there are rock stars, your small individual actions can add up in a big way. So please, put aside the cynicism this summer concert season and take a couple of minutes to do something--anything!--to lighten your load on the planet. It's really not that hard. Here are some ideas. And just think of the alternative...

7: Hydrate responsibly! Look, we get it. It's July. It's hot. You've been imbibing. You need to stay hydrated, and marching all the way across the field to some bubbler (er, water fountain for you non-Bostonians) with a 20-minute line just isn't going to cut it. You need clean, portable, potable water, and you want it to taste good. Hey, lucky for you we live in America, where we have an abundant supply of fresh drinking water available from every tap in the land. So before you shell out another $3 for a pint of spring water in a plastic bottle, please, please, PLEASE consider bringing in a refillable plastic (or aluminum, or stainless steel) container if your chosen venue allows it. Not only will you save yourself some scratch, but you'll also be saving the planet from the waste caused by producing the bottle and the energy used to ship the water (it's heavy!) by truck over long distances, not to mention avoiding the dire ethical dilemma caused by giving water away for pennies a gallon, usually sourced from poor communities desperate for any source of income at all, to corporations that resell it at 10000% markups.

6: Recycle. This is an easy one. Pretty much every festival has recycling bins, and more and more venues are getting in on the act. But they don't work if you don't use them the right way. So for crying out loud, it's not that hard--the cans and bottles go in the recycling bin, not the trash can. Got it? We thought so. Great work!

5: Read. You want to save the environment. Really, you do. That's why you're here, reading this. So take it from us. The best way to make a difference is by educating yourself first. Got some free time this summer, maybe on that 20-hour drive to Bonnaroo? Try Natural Capitalism or The Omnivore's Dilemma, both great starting points for the journeyman environmentalist. Just looking to slack off during work? Head over to or And of course, don't forget about us. We're chock full o' green goodness for your eyeballs. Really.

4: Ask. Some people might say that we mean "nag" with this one, but we don't want you to do that. We just want you to ask questions, politely and respectfully. What kind of questions? Well, say your chosen outdoor venue doesn't allow you to bring in refillable water bottles or provide drinking water. Ask them to reconsider. Or perhaps your favorite nightclub doesn't recycle. Ask them to convert a couple of their trash cans to recycling bins. And if you want to know what your personal guitar heroes are doing to ease the burden of their tour, pop the question to them on their forums. You might not get an immediate response, but trust us, the people in charge are paying attention to the fans. And hey, if talking directly to the man is too much for you, ask us to ask them for you. Just leave your question and the person it's directed at right here in the comments and we'll work our journalistic magic, 60 Minutes style.

3: Spend wisely. It's the music business, get it? The people organizing the festivals, running the venues, selling the T-shirts...they're all in it for the money. And you control the purse strings. So don't just spend that hard-earned cash on any old thing. Let it talk for you! Spend it on an organic cotton T-shirt. Spend it on a souvenir Nalgene that you can refill again and again. Spend it at a festival that tries hard to do the right thing.

2: Find a better way to get there. It may seem like one little road trip won't ruin the planet, but when you see a long line of cars sitting idle waiting to get into a festival only half-full of passengers, it's pretty lame. Do your homework beforehand and see if the festival has carpooling, shuttles, or even a public transportation stop close by. It'll probably save you some scrilla while you're at it.

1: Vote. This is the single most important thing you can do. If you are still unsure of which candidate is right for you, visit this quiz. It does a really good job of asking you about where you stand on the issues and tells you which candidate feels the most like you do. That's what it's all about, right?

For bands:

3: Tour riders. You can build small things into tour riders that make a big difference like: insisting the stage lights be turned off between sets; making sure your catering comes from local sources and that your water isn't bottled if the tap water is drinkable. We'd love to see artists ban plastic cups from venues...please impress us!

2: Consultants. Many of the success stories we reported on got by with a little help from a consultant. Reverb is the most well respected in the industry. Check them out here.

1: Venue selection. If you've got a booking agent, make sure they're aware of your commitment to the environment. Try to get them to book your band at least one green venue per tour. See if other green bands have toured a certain venue before and contact their management to see what worked and what didn't. Live Nation venues are a great place to start.

Happy Earth Day from Jason & Sarah!

Labels: , , , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home