In Black, climate-conscious youth jazz band, answers questions
What work do you do?
We are in a jazz band called In Black. We are Carson, Christian, Langston, Lati, and Lauren, and we’re all ages 14 to 16.
This week, In Black is doing a Solutions Tour in Southern California to promote awareness of climate change and how individuals can help reverse its effects.
The Climate Protection Campaign, which is an association in Sonoma County, Calif., devoted to lowering the carbon emissions of the county through various channels using different individual solutions, is giving us support for the tour with materials and literature. We also received support from several other organizations and businesses, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and Clif Bar. We’re promoting the NRDC’s Move America Beyond Oil petition, and Clif Bar came in with a donation so that we could rent a biodiesel van from VIP Greenride in San Francisco. They also donated lots of different Clif Bars so that we can give them away to folks who sign our petition or fill out our Solutions Form — and so we can eat them on the tour, of course!
Other companies have come in with support as well: Yokayo Biofuels and Santa Barbara Biodiesel have each donated tanks of biodiesel for our van! That was a huge help. And several hotels have donated rooms, or given us huge discounts: Best Western, Pea Soup Andersen’s, Ramada Limited, and Howard Johnson in Anaheim.
As far as work goes, we’re a group of young musicians trying to make a difference in the world through our music. We aren’t getting paid for this; we just thought it would be great fun to do a tour, then realized that it should be as green a tour as possible, and things sort of took off from there.
How does it relate to the environment?
In Black is a youth jazz band trying to save the world. More realistically, we are trying to reach people throughout California by giving them easy, individual solutions and attracting them to us through our music. That’s what the Solutions Tour is all about. We hope to convince everyone to contribute to solving the problems of climate change, including ourselves! We are all still working toward being as green as possible, and each of our families is trying to come to it in their own way. But, hopefully, we’ll all end up at the same place. We’d also like to hear what everyone’s ideas are about solutions to climate change. That’s why we have our Solutions Form, which people can fill out to tell us their solutions to global warming. We’ll post as many as possible on our website, as well as some on Grist. If anyone wants to send us their ideas for solving the problem, .
What are you working on at the moment?
The Solutions Tour is our major project right now; that and just being teenagers and students. We’re starting to think about college; band members Christian and Langston are the closest to going away to college, and they are getting more serious about choosing which college and what major. Other than that, our major projects involve just learning as much as we can and having a good time doing it.
How do you get to work?
We are all independent study/homeschooled, except for Lauren, who was homeschooled but now attends a Waldorf high school. We have many activities and classes. Langston, Christian, and Carson have been taking classes at Santa Rosa Junior College. So, to get to these places, we all carpool or use public transportation as much as we can. Lati, along with her entire family, uses biofuel. The other three families are considering going to biofuel or a hybrid, but it involves the purchase of a new car, so they’re all still looking into it. Lati’s family is definitely leading the way.
Where were you born? Where do you live now?
Carson, Langston, Christian, and Lauren were born in California. Lati was born in Indonesia. All currently live in Sonoma County, in Northern California.
What environmental offense has infuriated you the most?
As a group, we all feel that the most infuriating event against the environment was when Marin County, the county between Sonoma County and San Francisco, voted against a proposition that would have established a train running all the way from San Francisco to the northern part of Sonoma County. This was just a year or two ago. The proposition passed in Sonoma County, but lost by a couple of points in Marin County. This would have saved countless gallons of gas, removed tons of CO2 emissions, and made transportation to San Francisco much less of a hassle. It’s ridiculous, because the track is already laid, all the way at least through Mendocino County, and there are even existing depots that are just sitting there, unused. We played at the San Francisco Zoo on Earth Day this year, and someone in the audience told us that long ago, when the Bay Area Rapid Transit was being built, Marin wouldn’t allow BART to stop there, and that’s why there is no BART service in Marin County. It’s really shortsighted.
Who is your environmental hero?
Al Gore, for creating an effective way of informing people about the problems of climate change.
What’s your environmental vice?
We use our heaters in the winter, during heavy — and cold — rains. And, of course, our families driving non-alternative-fuel cars (all but Lati, that is). But that will change, hopefully, within the next year.
What’s your favorite meal?
Locally grown, organic strawberries.
Which stereotype about environmentalists most fits you?
We believe that stereotypes lead people to judge without cause — but if we had to pick one, it would be that we avoid listening to anybody else and talk as much as we can. Loudly. (This is just a joke. We only do this to our families. Also a joke — really!)
What’s your favorite place or ecosystem?
Tahoe, for the snow — which is disappearing as temperatures and CO2 emissions continue to rise.
If you could institute by fiat one environmental reform, what would it be?
We would have everyone use biodiesel.
Who was your favorite musical artist when you were 18? How about now?
Well, none of us is 18 yet! But as of right now, it’s hard to pick just one. But probably it would be Herbie Hancock, because he has had such a big influence on jazz and wrote many of our favorite songs. Also, Lauren loves Elvis, and we all tease her about that.
What’s your favorite movie?
Well, we probably couldn’t agree on a favorite movie, but the one that has had the most impact on us all has to be An Inconvenient Truth (obviously).
What actor/actress would play you in your life story?
Carson: Alan Alda.
Christian: Ewan McGregor.
Lauren: Christina Ricci.
If you could have every InterActivist reader do one thing, what would it be?
We would have you turn off your lights, right now, and turn your computer off. And blow up your car, using gasoline from the U.S. And shoot your TV. Please.