1 Ditty Bops: Touring by Bike
To promote their 2006 album ‘Moon Over the Freeway,’ the female folk duo went beyond using eco-friendly biodiesel by giving up fuel altogether and touring the U.S. on bicycles. In support of clean air, the Ditty Bops biked 4,700 miles, playing shows along the way. The journey did not come without its hardships, however, including what the band described as “diaper-rash sore ass.”
Jack Johnson: Green Label
Lights are rarely turned on at Johnson’s own Brushfire Records office building, thanks to skylights and windows. In fact, the entire building is eco-friendly, with solar panels on the roof, shredded old jeans as wall insulation and installed low-flow toilets. Plus, they print CD covers on recycled paper and are trying to get their distributor, Universal, to use soy-based ink and biodegradable shrink wrap on all CDs. And in Johnson’s ongoing efforts to help save the environment well into the future, he co-founded an environmental education program in his native Hawaii
Pearl Jam: Curbing Carbon
Pearl Jam know their massive tours burn up the Earth’s resources, and they’re doing all they can to make up for it. The band has donated thousands of dollars to nine different environment-focused organizations in an effort to offset the tons of carbon emitted from its tour buses and stage shows. It’s all part of the “Carbon Portfolio Strategy” they co-founded, which also funds an environmental education center for children, the campaign costs of helping pass eco-friendly legislation and a program to help protect forests near their Seattle home base.
Cloud Cult: Earth-Friendly Music
The indie rockers painstakingly ensure each and every CD printed on their own nonprofit record label, Earthology Records, is eco-friendly. They package CDs in recycled jewel cases, each of which is hand-cleaned by the band members themselves. All CD inserts are printed with nontoxic soy inks on recycled paper, and CD shrink wrap is made of nontoxic biodegradable corn cellulose. This is all done on an organic farm, where Earthology’s headquarters are heated entirely with geothermal energy.
Sarah Harmer: Keeping It Wild
The Canadian songstress thinks globally and acts locally: Harmer and her band hiked along the Niagara Escarpment — a wild area near the American-Canadian border that includes Niagara Falls — in an effort to save it from commercialization. They performed acoustic concerts along the way to raise awareness for the preservation of the wild lands. Harmer has co-founded an environmental group called PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land) to help protect those and other wild lands from human destruction.
Bonnie Raitt: Energy Saver
Raitt is not only an environmental activist, she also goes to great lengths to recognize others dedicated to the cause. As a founding member of Musicians United for Safe Energy, the blues rocker held the 2002 ‘Green Highway’ benefit concert, which aimed to promote alternative energy solutions. Raitt also dedicated a humanitarian award to Julia Butterfly Hill, who sat in a tree for a year to help save the California redwoods. Raitt hiked a mountain trail and then used a pulley system to get up to Hill’s perch and deliver the award.
Peter and the Wolf: Touring by Sea
What started off as a means of saving money for the Austin, Texas-based rockers ended up garnering the group major environmental props. Annoyed with high gasoline prices, frontman Red Hunter decided the band should travel the eastern leg of their 2006 summer tour by sea — so they cruised along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in a chartered sailboat. After realizing he was not only saving money but also a lot of clean air, Hunter became a spokesman promoting awareness for America’s energy crisis.
Neil Young: Veggie-Fueled Touring
The rock ‘n’ roll veteran helped pioneer the now-popular practice of fueling tour buses with biodiesel. When promoting his 2004 film and album, both titled ‘Greendale,’ Young traveled with a caravan of 17 diesel vehicles, all of which ran on a mixture of soybean and vegetable oil. The biodiesel fuel emits about 75 percent less pollution than regular diesel fuel. Others who’ve followed in Young’s Earth-friendly footsteps with their own biodiesel-fueled tours include KT Tunstall, the Indigo Girls and Keith Urban, just to name a few.
Orbital: Recording by Sunshine
The British techno duo recorded its 1996 hit ‘The Girl With the Sun in Her Head’ using electricity from a Greenpeace solar-power generator. They also sneaked environmental commentary into several songs, including the track ‘Forever,’ which has a sample of a speech by actor Graham Crowden regarding man’s destructive disregard for the environment.
Dave Matthews Band: Pedal Pushers
Global warming is on the forefront of Matthews’ mind, as he is committed to retracing any environmentally harmful footsteps he’s taken … and helping others do the same. As part of their hometown of Charlottesville, Va.’s Community Yellow Bicycles Program, Dave Matthews Band members helped scatter free bikes around town to promote eco-friendly traveling. They’ve also teamed with NativeEnergy and Clean Air-Cool Planet to offset 100 percent of the carbon dioxide pollution DMB’s touring has caused since 1991.