How Music (and You) Will Change The World(Archive)
Last summer, a unique television special produced by David Crosby was released on The Learning Channel. A sort of video companion to Crosby’s book by the same name, Stand and Be Counted documents various social issues that have been championed by music artists since the ’50s, and featured some never before seen footage of the musical events that have resulted from that rock-star marriage of music and social activism.
The show makes you wonder: can music change the world? When a big-name artist decides to support your cause, can you expect to see the quick alleviation of “(enter-your-social-ill-here)”? Of course not. But it will raise awareness of the issue, and just as important, it will make the struggle a little bit more bearable by giving you a soundtrack to struggle by.
A few weeks ago, Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys asked Trillium Asset Management to join a team of activists to help him get the word out about the Bush energy plan–and help stop it. The object was simple: get as many music artists involved as possible and reach out to each of the artists’ diverse fan base to mobilize hundreds of thousands of people over the course of the summer.
As Diamond put it, “President Bush’s energy plan recommends drilling for oil in the biological heart of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, increasing reliance on nuclear power, cutting research spending on alternative energy, and basically causing irreversible damage to the planet, heading us back to a time when humanoids dragged their knuckles on the ground.”
Dubbed the New Power Project, the effort was publicly launched on July 25, with the announcement of a powerful pop culture combination of some of the biggest names in music teamed with the country’s biggest environmental organizations. Some of the artists involved include: Alanis Morissette, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Dave Matthews Band, Beastie Boys, Jackson Browne, Trey Anastasio of Phish, The Roots, Barenaked Ladies, Moby, and James Taylor.
The music community is leveraging the activist expertise of the Save Our Environment Coalition, a collaborative effort of over a dozen of the nation’s most influential environmental advocacy organizations. An innovative combination of physical and virtual activism, this effort uses the artists’ popular web sites, fan email lists, and concert tours to rally hundreds of thousands of fans and other supporters to sign petitions and to fax their members of Congress via www.saveourenvironment.org/live.
As Stand and Be Counted illustrates, and what we’ve seen over the decades, using the music and celebrity of artists can help to mobilize people–and provide a bass line and backbeat to the action. But without the everyday people and on-the-ground activists, not much will happen. Trillium Asset Management will continue to bridge artists and activists with innovative activism through our entertainment consulting services. As activism and music continue to evolve and converge, we’ll see more efforts like this one–blending the concerts and benefits with online audio, video, petitions, emails and faxes. The music is keeping the activism fun–and rockin’–while we all keep trying to change the world for the better.
To act now, or to find more information about the New Power Project or the Save Our Environment Coalition, go online to www.saveourenvironment.org/live.
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