10 Artists Helping To Save The Planet Through Environmental Activism
Climate change is a big fucking problem. But, as the ice caps continue to melt and our seas and air become more polluted, many people continue to look the other way, hoping things will just figure themselves out.
And yet, we’re finally beginning to see this type of apathy crack — earlier this week, sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg finally lost it at the United States General Assembly, snapping, “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words and yet, I’m one of the lucky ones…We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?” This outburst received support from various members of the rock and metal community, with Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale referring to Greta as “our modern-day Joan of Arc.”
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Our modern day Joan of Arc. @gretathunberg Thank you for your candor, grace,logic and beautiful anger. Wield your sword. You are sitting at a round table of young women who have inspired and shaped humanity. Here’s a few! In 1960 at the age of 6, Ruby Bridges became the first black student to attend William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. The first-grader faced protests and riots/had to walk to school accompanied by federal marshals. She became an icon in the Civil Rights Movement. A German-born Jewish girl, Anne Frank rose to fame following the publication of the diary she kept while hiding from the Gestapo. After her family was discovered and arrested, Frank died at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945 at the age of 15. Her father Otto the only surviving family member was moved reading her diary after the war and published it.It has been translated into more than 60 languages. Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani human rights advocate known for her activism in promoting education for girls. In 2012, when she was just 15 years old, a Taliban gunman shot her in an assassination attempt in retaliation for her work. At the age of 17, she received the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest Nobel laureate. Nine months before Rosa Parks' famous arrest, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin stood up against segregation in Alabama by refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery. She was arrested, and a year later was one of the original plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, a case that led the U.S. Supreme Court to declare bus segregation laws in Alabama and Montgomery unconstitutional. In 1963, 9-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks joined thousands of fellow kids and teens in the Children's Crusade, a nonviolent demonstration in Birmingham to stand against segregation. Hendricks spent a week in jail for her activism. Images from the Children's Crusade highlighted the violent response from local authorities &caused outrage around the world. And English author Mary Shelley was just 18 years old when she wrote Frankenstein, which many credit as the origin of science fiction! Who run this mother?
To celebrate the great work being done by environmental campaigners for the betterment of the planet, and to hopefully inspire some change for the future, we’ve put together a list of 10 of the biggest and best rock, metal and punk bands who are fighting to save the world from ecological disaster. These artists have used everything recycled, from jutebags to toothbrushes, to cotton bags — but have also used their fame and influence to make a positive impact on the world.
Here are 10 musicians putting our one real home before themselves.
Pittsburgh punks Anti-Flag have a long track record of grappling with social and political issues, and their environmental concerns are something they’ve been particularly keen to promote over the years. In 2010, the band teamed up with the charity UseLess and created limited edition recycled T-shirts, with the proceeds going towards clean water projects in Sierra Leone. Anti-Flag have also worked with PETA and Greenpeace, both of whom sponsored the band’s ‘The Economy Sucks Let’s Party’ tour.
Long-time collaborators with marine conservation charity Sea Shepherd, Brighton metallers Architects have worked tirelessly for the protection of the planet’s oceans. Vocalist Sam Carter became the organisation’s first ambassador, and has volunteered his time to aid projects such as the clean-up of of the beach at Brighton Marina, whilst the band have also worked with Sea Shepherd to produce a range of merch, the profits of which go directly towards the protection of our seas and oceanic wildlife.
San Diego death metallers Cattle Decapitation have always been outspoken about animal rights, with an array of songs that display both a pro-animal and misanthropic message. While members of the band have adopted a vegetarian lifestyle, it’s the music that really sticks out when it comes to Cattle Decapitation’s environmental campaigning; with songs about human slaughterhouses and the decline of our species as we know it, it’s clear that the quintet see no hope in a world that treats animals with little concern.
Like Architects, France’s finest metal export have worked alongside Sea Shepherd, taking them out on tour and providing them with booths at gigs. The lyrics of frontman Joe Duplantier have regularly revolved around environmentalist issues; as far back as 2005, Gojira were tackling ecological concerns on their superb concept album From Mars To Sirius, which spoke of a planet whose environment has died. More recently, 2016’s Magma continued the band’s quest to save the Earth, its lyrics encouraging listeners to stand up and take action in order to stem the tide of climate change.
Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool always have something to say about the political issues of the day, and back when George W. Bush was president of America, the trio used their influence with Green Day by teaming up with environmental group Natural Resources Defence Council, in turn starting the Move America Beyond Oil campaign which sought to mobilise young activists and convince the president to change course. Its main aim was to educate Green Day fans on the subject of climate change, and encourage them to protest against politicians whose actions were damaging the planet.
In Hearts Wake
Another band passionate about the protection of the Earth’s waters, Aussie metalcore gang In Hearts Wake very much practice what they preach. Their latest album, 2017’s Ark, was built around lamentations on the destruction of our oceans, whilst the group actively work to reduce their carbon footprint by working with Australian organisation CarbonNeutral, which teaches groups and individuals how to prevent their actions from damaging the planet. Furthermore, when In Hearts Wake released the album Earthwalker in 2014, the band planted a bio-diverse tree for every LP that was pre-ordered by fans.
Always keen to lend their assistance to worthwhile causes, Linkin Park have been involved in multiple campaigns relating to environmental concerns. They founded Music For Relief in 2005 in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami of the previous year, whilst more recently MFR has provided aid in the wake of the California wildfires. Linkin Park also started the Power The World campaign following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a movement which provided support to the United Nations’ sustainable energy aims and donated solar-powered lightbulbs to those in Haiti left without power. Late frontman Chester Bennington was also part of animal rights organisation PETA’s ‘Ink, Not Mink’ campaign against the production of fur clothing.
Aussie metal titans Parkway Drive are another who’ve collaborated with Sea Shepherd and taken the group out on tour to promote their conservation efforts. Moreover, vocalist Winston McCall has campaigned diligently against construction projects in the band’s hometown of Byron Bay, which the singer claims have threatened to “destroy” the city. In a 2015 interview with Kerrang!, McCall recalled the protest he and his bandmates partook in regarding the issue:
“They were threatening to level the place and put something in place that the whole town had voted against. The protest shut down the main street, and it was very humbling, being asked to represent people in that way… When you see something like that in motion, you begin to think that maybe there’s more to this than just singing a song about something you’re pissed off about.”
Also living a carbon-neutral touring lifestyle are alt.rock icons Pearl Jam, who have a whole section of their official website dedicated to carbon mitigation. The band donate a portion of tour proceeds to environmental projects, working alongside organisations like American Land Conservancy and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to support conservation in Alaska, whilst also donating money to aid projects in the rainforests of Brazil and Ecuador. Pearl Jam’s continued work in this area saw them recognised by the environmental organisation Rock The Earth as ‘Planet Defenders’ in their 2011 awards.
Jane’s Addiction frontman and Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell works to better the environment in a variety of ways. His Chicago-based festival donates funds to the city’s parks, whilst there are tents set up specifically for the education of festival-goers on environmental issues. Farrell has also previously launched the Global Cool campaign in an attempt to reduce worldwide carbon emissions, whilst he also ensures his tours are carbon-neutral and that his physical releases are made with eco-friendly products.
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