Allow me to be completely transparent: I love music and conservation. But it’s not too often that “music” and “green” appear in such direct conversation, unless, of course, you’re talking about musicians who care about the idea of going green (like classic humanitarian band U2′s 2009 tour… whoops, wrong Green Movement).
My point? Sure, the “tree-hugging” hippie singers (i.e. Janis Joplin) placed musicians in the position of advocates for the earth, but where’s the direct connection between music and sustainability? Well, guitarist Adam Gardner of Guster completely schooled me when he spoke up for one of the most musical resources on the planet: trees.
So again, allow me to be totally transparent: I am a longtime Guster fan. I have been frequenting the band’s concerts since I was 17 years old, including Guster’s performance at DePaul’s own FEST 2011. Anybody who knows the band totally gets the sense that the members are pretty granola. Indeed, Guster’s Adam Gardner has been “greening the tour” for years now upon launching Reverb, “a non-profit that educates and engages musicians and their fans to take action toward a more sustainable future.” Reverb bands incorporate wind power and bio-diesel tour buses to reduce their carbon footprint and get fans thinking about sustainability. With the support of participating performers across genres, including Maroon 5, Sheryl Crow, Barenaked Ladies, and Blue Man Group (Green Man Group?), the organization’s projects have generated very meaningful, and real, change.
Impact to Date (Source: Reverb Website)
TOURS GREENED 116 EVENTS GREENED 1,823 TONS OF CO2 REDUCED 99,000 ENVIRO-GROUPS INVOLVED 2,579 FANS REACHED 14.5 MILLION
As Adam Gardner constantly argues, the earth is the reason music is possible, so a threat to the planet is a threat to music. That’s why Gardner spoke at the recent Natural Resources Committee hearing to speak for Lacey, a.k.a. the Lacey Act. The Lacey Act restricts the import of plants, resources, and animals that are endangered or at risk of endangerment by requiring a contractual agreement regulating the harvesting and sale of these protected resources. As Gardner points out:
Creating musical instruments like guitars, violins, and pianos depends on the availability of materials like tone woods. These precious woods and the jobs that depend on them are running out because of illegal logging … the black market trade in these goods severely undermines efforts to revitalize and sustainably harvest these tree populations.
Gardner seeks to resist efforts to amend and replace the Lacey Act with the Relief Act, which, he argues, would “remove almost all key deterrants to illegal logging… mostly benefit the commercial agenda [of big timber] … [and] lower fines for illegally logged wood to the meaningless level of a traffic ticket.” Furthermore, the Relief Act would essentially defend stealing by letting companies importing and selling illegally logged wood to keep the profits from the sales, even if they are found out and fined. ”This runs counter to all U.S. law,” Gardner says, “and, I argue, against the very core of American ethic.”
Check out the video of Gardner’s speech to learn more about the Lacey Act, the Relief Act, and why we as geographers and music lovers should care about Lacey’s “legally sound” protection of resources.