The green movement is indeed a force to be reckoned with. Millions upon millions of dollars are spent each year on promoting green education, including conservation efforts. Forbes Magazine reported an independent study (administered by Verdantix) that predicted green spending in the US will increase from $28 billion in 2010 to $60 billion by 2014. Those are a lot of consumer dollars floating around, and for most they indicate a genuine effort to make the world a better place. Unfortunately, there are far more commercial than ‘organic’ efforts to harness a portion of those billions. Alas, they are in fact more harmful than they look, but that is a whole other discussion. To make matters worse, certain opportunists have lent their image to the movement – just to cash in on that $60 billion.
The worst offender may be the infamous Martha Stewart and her so-called Eco-home. As well connected and aptly funded as she may be, Stewart has definitely taken a leap beyond realistic environmentally conscious living for the average middle class family. Her green philosophy seems to be not much more than ‘if it’s got a bigger price tag, it must be really good for the environment. Stewart’s new “GreenHouse” initiative builds environmentally friendly homes with every green product there is, but completely over shoots the target. While the individual products she chooses are certainly stellar in their performance (open-cell spray foam insulation, rainwater collection, concrete roof tiles, on site propane tanks, etc), throwing them all together in one family home with a larger-than-life price tag, is almost laughable if it weren’t so sad.
So who are the real green celebrities? Who are the ones that actually commit their lives to making the world a greener place, and not just for the notoriety? It takes more than being the face of a ‘natural’ product (Taylor Swift for Covergirl’s NaturaLuxe). Remember, celebrities and musicians are regular people who buy groceries and use toilet paper just like the rest of us. Therefore, their green buying choices would probably be close to our own. Yet their name and face have influence. They are leaders, role models, and promoters of whatever message they choose to convey. It is a powerful place to be, and thank goodness there are a few that appreciate the power rather than try to cash in on it.
Dave Matthews Band
Formed in 1991, the Dave Matthews Band has been in the center circles of their music genres since day one. Through their rock, funk rock, bluegrass and world music offerings, the DMB have managed to spread their love for music far and wide. Band members consistently come across as down to earth, community minded, and really just the ‘guy next door’. It is an attitude that comes out in their environmental choices as well. Every DMB concert uses generators powered with biodiesel. Recycle and compost stations are truly comprehensive and mandatory at each event as well. Any fuel emissions from flights and accommodations for the band are offset through donations to wind turbine construction.
Born in Hawaii, Johnson found his musical genre in folk, rock, and so-called ‘surf music’. He has been musically active since 1999, but his career didn’t really take off until 2000 with the release of “Rodeo Clowns”. From early on in Johnson’s public life, it was clear that he and his family had made a personal commitment to green living. They contribute heavily in both time and money to the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, whose aim is to provide “environmental, arts and music education”. Johnson is also heavily involved in the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to environmental education in Hawaii. Beyond his home state, Johnson has crafted a national set of standards for venues to follow, in offsetting 100% of all energy costs for concerts with renewable energy initiatives. And that is just the beginning. Venues must change out all lights with energy savers, recycle at least 50% of waste created at events, and have a composting program.
These are but two of the long list of truly green musicians. Maroon 5 has also made a name for itself beyond music, for earning the Environmental Media Award in 2006 (for their use of bio-diesel fuelled tour buses and for their continued contribution of portions of ticket sales to environmental initiatives). It really makes you think about your own efforts to be green, and how much of an impact we all have on the environment. Is it enough?
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