Like everyone else on the planet, I spent much of the weekend watching the Olympics. I tuned in late on Friday, and was surprised to see a commercial for General Motors that featured Brandi Carlile singing “The Story.” First of all, as much as I love that song, it doesn’t exactly scream “cars and trucks” to me. But, I was more surprised that Carlile, who I know to be an environmentalist, would agree to the commercial.
After all, Carlile announced last year that she would be donating a portion of every concert ticket sold to help offset all the emissions from her fall tour. In a journal entry on her Web site, she wrote:
The money will help support Reverb‘s mission as well as NativeEnergy‘s family farm methane projects, which help reduce global warming pollution by reducing the amount of fossil fuels the farms themselves use for heat, cooling and electricity or by preventing emissions of methane gas from manure stored in lagoons. By helping build new clean and renewable energy projects with NativeEnergy, we”ll reduce CO2 pollution by helping change how power is made.
Clearly the telepathy between Brandi and I is strong, because she posted another journal entry this weekend, explaining that she agreed to the commercial only after GM indicated the song would be used to help promote alternative fuel options and eco-friendly car styles.
First of all, a tip of the hat to Ms. Carlile for maintaining her personal, artistic and social integrity in the face of dollar signs. But, this also got me thinking about how other artists are helping to lessen their carbon footprints. A quick look at the roster of artists involved with Reverb shows that Sheryl Crow, Kelly Clarkson, Norah Jones, and Aimee Mann — to name a few — have all partnered with the environmental touring organization to help curb their emissions. Bonnie Raitt has been touring in a bio-fueled bus. Ani DiFranco has even been known to urge members of congress against expanding nuclear power on Native lands.
Let’s face it, the only way for artists to truly curb their emissions and save the environment is to not tour at all, but I don’t think anyone — fans or artists — would be too thrilled with that prospect. Does it matter to you if the artist you’re paying big bucks to see live has taken measures to ensure their tour is polluting as little as possible?