defenders

ROCK THE EARTH ANNOUNCES 2009 PLANET DEFENDERS

Colorado-based environmental organization Rock the Earth has announced its 2009 Planet Defender Awards, in conjunction with their national Rock the Earth Day celebration. Grammy-nominated rock band Incubus, Green For All Founder Van Jones, and Jessy Tolkan, Executive Director of the Energy Action Coalition, were selected as the winners in three categories. Planet Defender recipients are nominated by Rock the Earth members and chosen by Rock the Earth's National Volunteer Staff.

This year's winner in the ARTIST category, Grammy-nominated Incubus, funds the Make Yourself Foundation , which has raised over One Million dollars to date. The band funds the foundation by donating a portion of the proceeds generated from touring, record royalties, online auctions of concert tickets and memorabilia, and special events, to support various causes and charities both locally and around the world.  Fueling their tour buses with clean-burning biodiesel, printing posters and flyers on 100-percent post-consumer recycled paper with soy ink, serving organic food backstage, offering fans organic cotton T-shirts and working with venues to increase recycling are just a few of the other steps the band has taken to ensure it stays green.

 

Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd said: "We are so fortunate to have this amazing opportunity to share music with so many people! And we are very proud to share Earth consciousness with those who come and listen. Thank you very much! And may this be just another rung in the ladder towards a brighter, more aware planet."

 

Van Jones is thefounder of Green For All.  He is also a TIME Magazine 2008 Environmental Hero and one of Fast Company's 12 Most Creative Minds of 2008. The author of The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Solve Our Two Biggest Problems, Van was recently appointed Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  Green For All is a U.S. organization that promotes green-collar jobs and opportunities for the disadvantaged. Its mission is to build an inclusive, green economy - strong enough to resolve the ecological crisis and lift millions of people out of poverty.  A tireless advocate, his commitment to creating "green pathways out of poverty" and expanding the coalition fighting global warming, has earned Van our Planet Defender award as COMMUNITY LEADER.

 

Jessy Tolkan, Executive Director of the Energy Action Coalition is this year's Planet Defender award winner for GRASSROOTS ACTIVISM. Led by and for young people, the 50 leading organizations, 700 local groups, and hundreds of thousands of supporters that make up the Energy Action Coalition leverage their collective resources to create a clean and equitable energy future. The Energy Action Coalition is winning clean energy victories at the local, state, national, and international level - all while growing and strengthening the clean energy movement among young people from all walks of life in the United States and Canada.

 

Says Jessy Tolkan, "Young people are building a powerful grassroots movement that is leading the way towards the more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future we deserve. We started by making our campuses and communities living models of sustainability and possibility. Now we are redefining what is politically possible in order to pass bold federal climate and energy legislation this year."

 

This year's Planet Defenders join last year's winners: Dave Matthews Band; Author and businessman Andrew Winston of Winston Eco-Strategies and Karen Cragnolin, Executive Director of Riverlink- as we continue to honor those individuals we feel embody Rock the Earth's drive to Defend the Planet One Beat at a Time .  Each Planet Defender recipient will receive a one-of-a-kind award collectively created by artists Joe Benvenuto, Jason Garrett and Chico Raskey (Chico Artglass).

 

Planet Defender Awards - Past Winners

 

Artist

Community Leader

Grassroots Activism

2008

Dave Matthews Band

Andrew Winston

Karen Cragnolin

2007

Barenaked Ladies

Carl Safina

Karen Dolan

2006

Jack Johnson

Rocky Anderson

Jason Rutledge

 

Rock the Earth is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, national public interest environmental advocacy organization, committed to protecting and defending America 's natural resources through partnerships with the music industry and the worldwide environmental community. Rock the Earth represents those individuals and communities whose environment or natural surroundings are directly and adversely affected by the actions of others. Through partnerships with diverse musical artists such as Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Bonnie Raitt, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, Michael Franti, Sheryl Crow and Bon Jovi, Rock the Earth educates and activates fans to pursue a vision of global sustainability and environmental responsibility. We will continue to honor those individuals we feel embody Rock the Earth's drive to Defend the Planet One Beat at a Time.

Planet Defenders: Rock the Earth Marshals Action through Music

Bonnie Raitt & Rock the Earth's Marc Ross- for the Grateful Web

Six years ago, Marc A. Ross discovered a seminal way to champion environmental causes. Ross, who has been both an environmental prosecutor and an industry defense attorney, remembers, "One common theme that I saw…. was that small groups of citizens that were directly impacted by environmental issues…were being steam rolled by industry. They were being outmaneuvered, being outgunned, out-litigated simply because they didn't have the PR or the financial resources to hire competent counsel and scientists to take up their very legitimate claims."

That's when Ross decided to level the playing field by tapping the high profile music industry's PR strength and its ability to fundraise for charities. In 2002, Rock the Earth was born, and Ross became its executive director.

Rock the Earth brings environmental awareness to music fans, garnering not only donations for their projects but also volunteers. Today, the organization has only three paid employees and three dozen Volunteer Staffers and Advisory Board Members. They also have a technical team of scientists from a variety of fields, environmental attorneys, and consultants. This broadens Rock the Earth's ability to tackle different issues.

Early on, Rock the Earth consulted with festivals, tours, and the cruise industry to help them green their events. Over time, other organizations, such as Reverb, CLIF Bar GreenNotes, and MusicMatters, have appeared to take on that mission and other environmental concerns.

Rock the Earth's mission evolved to providing environmental education, fostering activism, and offering legal and technical assistance to small groups. "We're a great plug and play organization," says Ross. For example, Rock the Earth is an active presence at many festivals and concerts. They maintain a presence at Bonnaroo on the Solar Stage. "Every day, we conduct a series of interviews, panel discussions, and musical performances all on the theme of social change through music," Ross explains.  His one-on-one interviews showcase performers who don't normally talk about these issues. At Bonnaroo, Rock the Earth has worked with a number of artists, including Bob Weir, Warren Haynes, Michael Franti, Bonnie Raitt, John Butler, Trevor Garrod (Tea Leaf Green), and Liz Berlin (Rusted Root).

ozzfestLast year, the organization was a major presence at Ozzfest and at Warp Tour shows. "We were the first and only non-profit to work with Ozzfest, and obviously the first environmental group to work with Ozzie," Ross says. "A lot of Ozzie's music has been political over the years from 'Crazy Train' to some of his newer songs on his most recent album are political and environmentally-conscious songs…. I just don't think the rest of the environmental movement thought about working with someone like Ozzie."

This year Rock the Earth is also moving forward with its first environmental litigation. Against the National Park Service, it focuses on mismanagement of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. "It will impact how all wilderness areas and, in some ways, public lands are treated in this country and whether concessions and recreation are put over wilderness protection," says Ross. "Pretty soon there won't be anywhere you can go in this country without hearing the roar of motors."

Rock the Earth also has partnered with the Center for Water Advocacy as well as several indigenous plaintiffs, including the Oglala Sioux tribe, to stop the expansion of a uranium mine in Nebraska that affects indigenous water rights and may affect public health. "That issue has legs because it touches on global warming and whether or not this new Western uranium boom and nuclear power boom is the solution to global warming," says Ross.

This past year, Rock the Earth was successful in its first petition campaign against Wal-Mart to get them to stop buying and selling mulch from Louisiana cypress trees. The organization also conducted its first service project, partnering with the John Butler Trio, CLIF Bar GreenNotes, and two other organizations, to clean up Ocean Beach in San Francisco.  And, Rock the Earth's legal and technical team worked or reviewed fifteen separate issues brought to them by the music community.

Nearly half of its 2,000-plus members in all fifty states have volunteered to work tables at festivals and concerts, provide technical or legal assistance, write grants, or help spread the word.  This will ensure that Rock the Earth will continue to champion the earth as its motto says: Defending the Earth One Beat at a Time.

fishThis spring, Rock the Earth was awarded the Mimi Fishman Memorial Community Service Award at the 7th Annual Jammy Awards. Those Ross was honored and humbled by the award, he also called music fans to action saying, "...regardless of who is our next President, come January 2009, our country and our planet will still continue to face very serious environmental issues that will only be solved by keeping the pressure on the government and polluters and holding them accountable for their actions." The work continues.

UPDATE:  On April 29, 2008, a three-judge panel of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board ruled in favor of the Oglala Tribe's right to challenge the proposed Crow Butte Uranium Mine expansion. Though, the NRC Staff has appealed, much work remains by the tribe to block the mine expansion.