Photo: chandecde via Flickr When I say, “Senate political deadlock,” what’s the first thing you think of? If it’s a nap, then maybe your iPod isn’t turned up loud enough. The latest musical trend, outside of auto-tuning, seems to be musicians pushing the United States Senate to do something with — might we suggest passing? — climate change legislation.
To get it started in here, The Black Eyed Peas has partnered with green organizations Green for All, Rethink, and League of Conservation Voters on The E.N.D. World Tour (E.N.D. as in The Energy Never Dies. Unlike the Senate, where The Energy To Do Something Usually Dies). These groups will educate Peas concert-goers on the need for a clean energy bill while helping fans recycle plastic bottles, which will eventually be transformed into the band’s merchandise. Perhaps Black Eyed Pea will.i.am doesn’t think his previous foray into climate-and-music alone is enough to sway the Senate.
“The League of Conservation Voters is excited about the opportunity to partner with The Black Eyed Peas to build support for action that creates millions of new clean-energy jobs and protects the planet from global warming pollution,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “It’s time for our senators to work together to swiftly pass comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation — so to quote The Black Eyed Peas, our message to the U.S. Senate is simple: ‘Let’s get it started.'”
And now Music for Action, a newly launched coalition of rockers and do-gooders* from HeadCount.org and the NRDC Action Fund, is out to serenade the Senate into climate cooperation by bribing music-lovers with the thing they love most: free tunes. In order to download a free “Best of Bonnaroo” mix, citizens just have to send their senators an email urging them “to seize this moment and lead America to reduce pollution, invest in energy efficiency, and create green jobs.” The coalition also encourages would-be activists to prove they ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie by emailing President Obama and writing a letter to the editor of their local newspaper.
“The musicians we work with are very passionate about this topic and have great power to drive change,” said HeadCount’s Executive Director Andy Bernstein. “Their music will serve as a soundtrack for action.”
It’s apparently the first time democracy has been “purchased” with free digital MP3s. (I use quotations here because you techinically don’t have to send anything to the Senate to obtain the musical medley, but they give you a nice measure of guilt before you “download without taking action on climate change.”)
Not sure bothering your busy, busy senators is worth waiting for the files to download to your computer? Well, let Death Cab for Cutie, The Decemberists, and Jack Johnson speak for me. Or, if my musical tastes don’t suit you, talk to Phish, Pearl Jam, and Dave Matthews Band instead. A full list of the 17 songs for download (all live performances from musicfest Bonnaroo) is available on the Music for Action website.
This Senatorial streak of activism isn’t restricted to those who carry a tune. Non-singing celebrities, such as Jason Bateman, Forest Whitaker, and Felicity Huffman, have also been working with the NRDC to encourage grassroots support of a Senate climate and energy bill. And if the rumors are true, then Sens. Kerry, Lieberman, and Graham may introduce another version of just such a bill as early as this week. But don’t let that stop you from giving them — and yourself — an earful.
*Disclaimer: As I was writing this, I found out that Grist.org is also a Music for Action coalition partner, wheee!