Jack Johnson not only talks the environmental talk, he walks the environmental walk. Photo: Weisberg
A lot of singers and bands have riders. It’s essentially a list of demands that have to be met for the artist to play a venue. Some of them are famously over the top: Mariah Carey, for example, reportedly requires Cristal and bendy straws, a gum-attendant to throw away her used chewing gum, and vitamin water to wash her dogs in, along with many more ridiculous demands. Jack Johnson has his own rider, and it’s a long one. In a good way.
Jack Johnson is a pretty devout environmentalist. He’s got the Johnson Ohana Charitable Organization, a non-profit with a heavy slant on protecting the environment. His rider, unlike other celebrities’, isn’t about bowls of brown M&Ms and 6000 peeled grapes–instead, it’s about making his concerts as green as they can be.
“You hear all these horror stories of people’s riders requesting one color of M&Ms or super fancy champagne,” Johnson told The Huffington Post. “We just figured, all right, let’s be demanding with these, because we know they’re not going to switch back to those energy-draining bulbs once the show is over.”
Jack’s list of demands includes a requirement that the venue purchase carbon offsets (which are kind of a bullshit idea, but better than nothing), energy efficient light bulbs, and a very strict recycling policy.
Concerts are decidedly terrible for the environment. Thousands of plastic bottles are used and thousands of gallons of fuel are burned by the people getting there. Johnson, after he found mainstream success, realized that he didn’t actually need to tour anymore, and began to wonder whether the damage each show caused was worth it.
“I didn’t know if I needed to keep touring, especially when I considered the environmental impact of what I was doing,” Johnson told HuffPost.
Instead of quitting life on the road, though, he took a different tack: Traveling in vehicles that burned bio-diesel, reusable beer cups, and bike valets for those that pedaled to his shows, to name a few. And for five years straight, all of the profits made from his tours were donated to non-profits. That’s right. ALL of them.
“It’s just the responsible way to tour,” Johnson said to HuffPost. “If I’m going to keep doing music, I have to help keep the industry I’m a part of be more responsible.”