ASCAP members lend their music and their messages to the environmental movement
Over the last several months, four ASCAP artists donated songs to the Tar Sands Action for videos supporting this pivotal environmental cause.
All of these songs will be available on the Make a Noise EP from NewSong Records (member 1% For The Planet), to be released on June 6th at the Sustainable Brands Conference in San Diego. The EP will be offered as a free download to all of the supporters and participants of the Tar Sands Action, 350.org, 1% FTP, The Sustainable Living Roadshow, Reverb Rock and other leading environmental organizations. We spoke to Tar Sands Action videographer and the four ASCAP song donors to see what their inspiration was and how they felt about bringing voice to the movement.
TAR SANDS ACTION
Steve Liptay, Tar Sands Action videographer: The grassroots effort to stop Keystone XL, a 1,700-mile tar sands pipeline that would transport one of the planet's dirtiest fossil fuels from Alberta, Canada to refineries on the Texas coast, has united and ignited the environmental movement. The Tar Sands Action campaign, now part of 350.org, started when a broad coalition of organizations and environmental leaders came together in August 2011 to lead an historic civil disobedience action at the White House in which over 1,200 people were arrested.
In the months following, as activists across the United States and Canada continued to voice opposition to the pipeline, Keystone became a major political issue for the Obama administration. As public awareness grew so did the campaign to stop the pipeline and after 10,000 people converged to circle the White House on November 6th, President Obama decided to delay his decision to approve or reject the project until 2013. By January 2012, however, the administration had officially rejected the permit to build Keystone XL.
The songs donated by ASCAP members Katie Herzig, Chris Velan, Todd Henkin and Arthur Alligood allow us to cross-pollinate their powerful music with powerful images in videos that spread the word about Keystone. With so many big battles to come we hope these artists and others continue to share their music with the movement and help us activate and inspire the grassroots on our path to solving the climate crisis. Katie, Chris, Todd and Arthur, thank you so, so much! LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN
"MAKE A NOISE"
Katie Herzig: I worry a lot about the state of the environment. About the ways we abuse this planet, and essentially ourselves. Sometimes I feel like I spend more time worrying though than doing something about it. I think a lot of us feel that way. I wrote this song encouraging me/us to look around us and speak out about what we see. I truly believe we all want the best for ourselves, and each other. But it really takes guts to speak out for these things we believe in, to feel the power of our own voices. I'm happy that this song would be a part of something proactive and really important.
SEE THE VIDEO
"NOT OURS TO LOSE"
Chris Velan: As a Canadian artist, I've found myself increasingly unable to recognize myself in the country we've become under our current government, which, in its zeal to develop the tar sands, has willfully squandered Canada's reputation as an environmental leader. So, when the Tar Sands Action sprang up as a grassroots movement in the U.S., I felt a strong need to contribute - especially since it's my country that's causing the damage. I wrote "Not Ours to Lose" with a wishful hope that we might yet wake up from this feverish dream of carbon dependency before it's too late. A song is just a song but I hope it can help in some small way.
SEE THE VIDEO
"WHAT WILL POWER IT ALL"
Todd Henkin/The Great Unknown (written and performed with the America SCORES Boston students of FDR Middle School): Our song came to life in a classroom full of dancing, vibrant, poetic teenagers. We sang of a belief in human ability that these students rightly feel is limitless. 'Last night I had a dream of new inventions, agree to disagree, what will power it all?' Humanity has never been so inventive and self-destructive. Do we deserve to strive for beauty? What will power it all? A willingness to use our creativity for good and to speak out against what's wrong. Growth and positivity is worth the strain of a raised voice, in song and in protest.
"DARKNESS TO LIGHT"
Arthur Alligood: My song "Darkness to Light" showed up one morning this past fall. Many times for me songs come out of nowhere, and at first seem to have little to do with my own life experience. It's usually after living with the song for a while that I begin to see my own story there. Being a father of three young daughters, I think a lot about the state of the world and what things will be like when they're my age. "Darkness to Light" is a song of hope, the hope that the wrongs will one day be made right. I think each one of us has a role to play in such a restoration. Love for all creation has to be our starting place.