What do the queen of CBGB and the king of harmony have in common? They are both using their celebrity status to help the planet.
This year has sparked not only the comeback of amazing classic talent like Paul Simon and Blondie, but has shown a growing promise of celebrity endorsements of Earth. Green messages, once thought of as hippie propaganda, are now becoming ever-present with the new administration. Celebrities and states alike are refusing to give up on climate change progress, even if the White House has. While music icons cannot be a part of world climate change pacts, they do have the power to promote various causes.
Blondie and Paul Simon are doing just that with their new tours. Blondie has partnered up with Greenpeace, Pollinator Partnership, and Friends of the Earth to help save the bees.
Their “BEE Connected” campaign’s mission is to “raise awareness of the decline of the bee population by promoting organizations dedicated to conserving and improving the health of pollinators through education, consumer empowerment, and political activation.”
Blondie’s new album in fact is called “Pollinator.” Everything about the album from its conception to its release has had philanthropy in mind. Its release coincided with various tactics from the partnership including a social media filter to raise awareness. Proceeds from certain pieces of merchandise also go to saving the bees. In their August 3 concert at Wolf Trap, Debbie Harry (front woman of Blondie) dressed in a Queen Bee outfit and projected images of bees throughout the night as she performed and thanked her campaign’s supporters.
Paul Simon had a different approach at his concert in June at Merriweather. Simon is promoting a cause with a broader look at the environment on his “Stranger to Stranger” tour. He is donating all of his concerts’ proceeds to Half Earth, E. O. Wilson’s biodiversity foundation. The foundation believes that Earth can become a paradise in the next few decades, opposed to a wasteland, by devoting half of Earth’s surface to nature. Simon read E. O. Wilson’s book Half Earth, and was inspired by its positivity in a subject littered by negativity.
Although in this area both Blondie and Paul Simon were probably preaching to the choir, they bring important messages to people and cities worldwide that may not have the same progressive views. Areas like Takoma Park have made crucial strides like its nuclear free initiative to strive towards a healthier Earth. As well as its car free initiative to lessen the city’s carbon footprint with some friendly competition. This is not the standard.
Older entertainers preaching environmentalist agendas are also not the standard. Very rarely did entertainers speak up to environmental causes, up until a few years ago most were silent on the issue, aside from some hippie entertainers of yore. Now, however, there is not only a need for it, but there is an audience as well. Entertainers like Leonardo DiCaprio and indie singer Father John Misty are probably some of the biggest advocates. While DiCaprio makes speeches and protests, Misty writes songs that speak to the issues of everyday life. He calls Earth, “a godless rock that refuses to die,” and “ a giant blue marble orbited by trash,” in his song “Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution.”
Although Simon and Blondie are not as cynical in their execution, their commitment to advocacy is something to admire. They are bringing important messages to thousands of people from around the world. Simon and Harry urged everyone in the audience to recognize climate change and to educate themselves in order to promote small changes in their lives for the success of this world. A great message for those at these concerts with little initiative for behavior changes, and a great reminder that Takoma Park’s success is in its ability to care for not only the people, but the land the people are graced on, Graceland if you will.