Where You Lead, I Will Follow

Monday, September 19, 2011 (Listed under Observations)

This weekend's Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) was probably the first outdoor concert where the crowd cheered when the rain rolled in. The record-breaking summer heat wave and extensive drought have fueled deadly wildfires across southern Texas. It's no surprise that the fans were ecstatic.

Though a bill has been proposed and approved to increase the state's potable water supply, it has yet to receive funding, according to Vanessa Martin, Media Relations Manager for The Nature Conservancy's Austin office, which sponsored a popular booth at ACL.

In the absence of funding for the 30-billion dollar Texas water initiative, The Nature Conservancy has been busy educating the public about Proposition 8, the bill that would reward private land owners for protecting their own ground and surface water supplies.

To get the word out, The Nature Conservancy is relying on music fans. A recent study revealed that 75 percent of 13-18 year olds who have been exposed to nature are likely to promote conservation efforts and, that next to parents and peers, musicians are this group's major influencer. Where musicians lead, teens will follow. If this is true, this year's ACL “greenest” bands”—Coldplay, Arcade Fire and Foster the People—will benefit, and so will the environment.

But the Conservancy's research also shows that only ¼ of teens report experiencing nature in a meaningful way, so there is a huge gap in the youth environmental movement. “There are opportunities to reach kids at school…” says Martin, “…we're working with teachers to turn the classroom inside-out.” Integrating gardening and recycling activities, for example, into classroom curriculum are easy ways to engage students.

Arcade Fire produces carbon-neutral shows, while Coldplay supports environmentally sound legislation. Foster the People travels alongside the “Do Good Bus”—full of socially responsible, environmentally active fans who have “applied for membership” and been accepted.

Is music enough to change the world?

Maybe...

 

Stacy Clark writes in Dallas and Boston and is a Co-Founder of INKUBATE, a new online home for writers and the publishers, editors and agents they want to reach. She is a contributing writer to EnergyBoom and a member of the National Society of Science Writers and the Society of Environmental Journalists. 

www.twitter.com/Stacy__Clark

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