Rocking the Planet
By Todd Reubold
Back in the 1970s Marvin Gaye sang about “oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas” and “fish full of mercury.” Today’s rockers are going a step further with eco-friendly merchandise, carbon-neutral concerts and biodiesel buses. Here’s a snapshot of some of the artists who are mixing music and the environment.
The Seattle-based grunge rockers have been supporting environmental causes for nearly two decades. In March the band joined the Patagonia Music Collective – a digital download space aimed at raising funds for environmental nonprofit organizations.
When he isn’t singing about aliens, plane crashes or body snatchers, lead singer Thom Yorke can be found campaigning for a variety of climate change causes. The eccentric front man has also been known to show up unannounced at international climate negotiations such as the 2009 talks in Copenhagen.
British singer-songwriter KT Tunstall takes her environmental concerns to the extreme. In recent years she’s traveled to Greenland to witness the impacts of climate change firsthand, visited a school in India that teaches women to build solar panels, and performed in the 7 Worlds Collide charity jamboree.
The rapper Dr. Octagon – a fictional character created by American Keith Thornton (aka Kool Keith) – is well known for his lyrics about environmental conservation in urban communities. On the track “Trees,” Octagon raps “Watch your atmosphere, pesticides / Control damagin’ trees and the roots / A bunch of chemicals y'all turnin’ it loose.”
The laidback singer-songwriter from Hawaii is a heavyweight in the environment meets music movement. Environmental nonprofits are fixtures at his shows, he’s taken concert greening to a level not seen before, and his website includes an annual summary of “environmental impact results.”
The San Fran–based trio has come a long ways since the days of Dookie. The Grammy-winning punk band teamed with the Natural Resources Defense Council a few years ago to tackle a range of issues, including energy policy, climate change and mining in Alaska.
Perhaps the most famous vegan on the planet, this DJ-turned-pop-star has been an environmental activist throughout his career. His concerns run the gamut from climate change to animal rights, and in recent years he’s scaled back his touring schedule to reduce carbon emissions.
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Last modified on January 23, 2012