In celebration of Earth Day, Slacker and Greenpeace launched a new station entitled Going Green with Greenpeace. The station will play music from some of the world’s most environmentally friendly and active artists. Tune into the station with your Slacker account or log in with Facebook.
In the 25 years I’ve been at Greenpeace I’ve seen a lot of inspiring collaboration between musicians and our global efforts to protect the environment. In September 1988, the Grateful Dead performed a benefit concert at Madison Square Garden to raise funds and awareness for rainforest protection. (And yes, I was there). Said the late Jerry Garcia, lead guitarist and vocalist, about the event: ”We’ve never called on our fans to align themselves with one cause or another, and we’ve always avoided making any political statements. But this is an issue that is life-threatening, and we hope that we can empower our own audience to act.”
In 1990 I was visiting our office in Los Angeles and had a great conversation with a guy in the lobby named Dave who looked really familiar. As he excused himself and I turned to leave, a friend who worked in the office came up and said “pretty cool that Dave Wakeling’s working with us, isn’t it”. Wakeling, of English Beat and General Public fame, was helping Greenpeace at the time promote our work through the entertainment industry. His efforts led to a benefit album that was produced using solar power. It was released in 1994 and included artists such as R.E.M., U2, James, Midnight Oil, Soundgarden, and UB40.
Speaking of Midnight Oil, former lead singer Peter Garrett served on the board of Greenpeace International for two years starting in 1993.
And Greenpeace might not have even gotten off the ground were it not for the now-legendary benefit concert at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum in 1970. Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Phil Ochs and Chilliwack put on a show for a sold out crowd of 16,000 that raised most of the funds needed to launch the first Greenpeace voyage in September 1971.
Other collaborations over the years have included bands and artists such as Green Day, Coldplay, Dave Matthews, Paul McCartney, the Eurythmics, Sting, Suzanne Vega, INXS, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, the Waterboys, John Mellencamp and Bonnie Raitt to name a few.
Can popular music change the world? It can certainly help. In the 41 years that Greenpeace has been around, eco-conscious artists have always been a part of our fabric. They’ve helped Greenpeace reach millions of people with its message of hope, and served as an inspiration to those of us who signed up for this.