Joe Strummer from the band The Clash, one of my dad’s favorite bands, died 10 years ago today. My dad told me that Joe was the first musician to make the distribution of his albums carbon neutral by planting a lot trees. He also made the cases for his CDs from water bottles.
So, what does it mean to be carbon neutral? The idea of being Carbon Neutral is very important for the world and our environment. To put it very simply, it means trying to replace what you take from the environment. It also means taking steps to repair any harm that you do to the environment.
To understand what this really means, I had to figure out what Carbon Dioxide is and why it’s a problem. Carbon Dioxide is one of the most simple molecules in the universe. It is very important for all living things in our environment – plants, animals and people. The Carbon in Carbon Dioxide is what plants are made of and they release the oxygen that we and the animals breathe. Carbon Dioxide is created in our environment in natural ways – such as when plants die or burn. But Carbon Dioxide is also produced when we drive our cars, travel on airplanes, use electricity or burn coal or oil. We are producing too much Carbon Dioxide and it is one of the biggest causes of Global Warming.
Joe Strummer was passionate about the environment and wanted to take good care of the earth. At a campfire in 1996 he came up with the idea of starting an organization that would help people to be Carbon Neutral. It was first called Future Forest, and today is known as The Carbon Neutral Company. There are many great musicians and bands that are following his lead and are all doing what they can to help.
Barenaked Ladies eat organic and local food while they are on tour and they keep all of their broken guitar strings that get made into jewelery.
The Roots print their posters on recycled paper and they autograph and give away compost bins to their fans.
Radiohead would win my ‘superfriend of the earth” award. Every machine and car and truck with Radiohead while on tour runs on biofuel. They don’t ship their equipment by air, either. Instead of flying their gear, they bought two sets of guitars, drums, amps, everything and at one point even threatened to quit touring altogether because of their concern for the damage to the environment.
Here’s my dad’s favourite song from Joe and The Clash – London Calling.