WORLD> America
Bands sing a green tune
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-07-17 11:10

NEW YORK: Playing instruments made from naturally fallen trees, packaging albums with recycled materials and fueling tour buses with biodiesel are just some of the ways that North American bands are going green.

Illinois-based folk-rock band The Giving Tree Band says it will bring out what will be the world's first carbon-free album, Great Possessions in August.

"For us it's very meaningful to be able to keep nature healthy for future generations," said the band's co-founder, Eric Fink.

They are following the example set by bigger names in the rock world such as Radiohead and Kings of Leon, both of which appear regularly at green festivals.

Radiohead recently refused to perform at a venue in Glastonbury, England, that was not served by public transportation. The band has also reduced its carbon emissions by limiting the equipment it takes on tour and using low-energy LED lights and refillable water bottles.

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To record their new album, The Giving Tree Band's eight members commuted by bicycle from a campsite every day for 30 days to the solar-powered studio at the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in Baraboo, Wisconsin, the first certified carbon-neutral building in the United States.

And they used two guitars and a mandolin built from naturally fallen trees. Now they are recording their third album at Crooked Creek, an Illinois studio that offsets its carbon emissions by investing in wind energy.

The Duhks, a California bluegrass/folk-rock group now touring the United States and Canada, are also environmentally active.

The band travels around on biodiesel fuel, and used recycled paper and soy-based ink for its most recent album, Fast-Paced World. It also sells organic merchandise at concerts, and members stick to a primarily vegan diet.

Many fans support the band's position. "If you make a stand for something, people are going to pay attention," said Allie Herzog, 27, of Manhattan, at a concert.

Others agreed the band's five members set a good example because they have adopted an eco-friendly lifestyle, and do not simply brandish a green logo on their website or T-shirts.

The Duhks's greatest challenge in going green is to "convince people that it is going to be worth it and doable," said Tania Elizabeth, the band's fiddler.

Soul Majestic, a seven-member roots reggae band on tour to promote its new album, Better World, also uses biodiesel fuel, sells organic T-shirts, and produces recyclable CDs.

Band members Eric Iverson and Oriana Sanders said they were originally motivated to take action when they witnessed first-hand the worsening air pollution in Los Angeles and the melting of Northern California's glaciers.

The band also plans to repackage its two previous albums in recyclable material. "We're hoping that we're going to help lay a pathway for people to integrate (eco-consciousness) into their daily lives," said David Forston, the band's manager.

But going green requires a diligence that is sometimes hard to keep up, Iverson and Sanders acknowledged.

"Sometimes we have to sacrifice certain comforts," such as heat and paper towels, Sanders said. "It's really easy to be lazy."