Sunday, March 30, 2008

thinking deeper

sorry that I havn't posted in a while here, the tour side got busy.

I've been thinking more and more about the solutions to our environmental issues, and its important for me to know exactly where I stand on things. For example, I eat meat knowing that it is not the most carbon-friendly choice (the grain and energy it takes to feed that cow all its life could have fed a lot more people in grain form...) -- but I still eat it.

Its not that I don't believe in saving energy and squeezing what we can out of every block of coal, its that this won't solve our problems. Though it is of course important to switch off the TV and lights at night, what we should really be aiming for is a way to harvest enough clean energy that we don't have to worry. We can light up the Vegas strip and Times Square to our heart's content and let it charge back up in the sun. I truly believe this is the only real solution to global warming - I've seen enough people that simply will not change certain things about the way they live. I can only assume China, India and other growing countries will feel the same way as they build up. We all use an immense amount of energy. I AM one of those people that hurts the air every day by driving around burning gas, so I understand not wanting to sacrifice certain things in my life. Our human momentum is massive.

The hope for me is that I've seen such amazing change already happen in my life. I've been the assistant engineer, manually lining up a 2 inch tape machine and I've seen that change to completely digital recording. I used to hate running with a walkman because of the warbly sound the tape would give when running -- then we got CD players with shock memory, and now the ipod shuffle that won't ever skip or warble and is 1% of the size of that walkman!

So right now we need that societal will for larger change - people are using their consumer votes to buy hybrid cars, a step in the direction of electric vehicles and a leap in efficiency. I'm using mine for bio-diesel fuel, another step away from oil, even if a little desperate. Keep using those consumer votes and buy clean energy if possible! Money talks here! If we can get an administration into place that will help pave the way and stop obstructing progress maybe that same ingenuity that created the shuffle ipod will be put into hyperdrive on clean energy harvesting. We're a long way from where we need to be, but if we all care and are vocal, change will continue.

Friday, March 21, 2008

save the world

For those of you following us on the custard records youtube channel, or the video tour blog in general, you will have noticed we had a difficult time recylcing in Dallas. So we dragged our bottles to Tempe Arizona with us where we recycled them at the library at rural and southern...

check out this site if you're on the road and don't have it in you to throw more plastic into that pacific heap we've made. Or if you've had a hard time figuring out how to recycle in general, don't forget that plastic stores forever and usaully recyclables don't smell if rinsed and stored. Check out this awesome site that searches drop-off points by zip code.

Monday, March 17, 2008

trouble in dallas

I've been storing the recylcing for a few days and its illuminating to see how much we can NOT throw out. Unfortunately here in Dallas, the wal-mart does not recycle plastic bottles -- only plastic bags. I'm hoping one of the upcoming venues recycles their plastics.

so I found out more about the 'great pacific trash heap' -- look at it like this, there's a "flattening" in the middle of a huge ocean due to earth's gravitational pull -- you can imagine this by the water simply being pulled into the earth.

It turns out that this is what creates circular currents in our oceans and like a giant 'whirpool' there is an effect of the trash collecting in the middle. Throw a plastic bottle off a pier and it may take years, but eventually it will circle its way into the center of these currents -- thats why there's an area twice the size of texas where you run past trash every minute... I'm sure with time it will keep concetrating.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

apologies to fiji water


so I'm somebody that has literally "sharpied" out fiji poster ads on the nyc subway... why are we shipping something as available as water from one place to another when our present activity is having such an impact on Earth's life???

but I'm learning that I'm pretty naive and things can be more complicated. What if fiji water was a carbon negative company, meaning that despite the shipping of water they do, they offset this impact using the carbon credit system?

And what if their carbon negative equation didn't include the fact that in the process of what they do, they are protecting thousands of acres of rainforest from re-forestation?

I'm still mulling this through my mind.

Did anyone look up the pacific trash heap? We must not turn our oceans into toilets. some of you must like to eat fish -- lets figure this out!

Friday, March 14, 2008

south by southwest

We're having a great time out on the road and are right now in the middle of our sxsw shows. Tomorrow we're playing cedar house.

Will Wynn, the mayor of Austin had a party to "open" the music conference - I love his forward ideas and his belief that if you build a clean way to live and a fun place to live in, the economics will follow. After he ran off stage I ran after him and had to tell him I really believed in those environmental efforts -- as well as the way Austin gives tax breaks to venues with live music stages. I could be wrong but I have a feeling that in the rest of the country, maybe even state, it costs you more to showcase live music at your establishment.

Who has googled "the great pacific trash heap"?? Its frightening stuff.

And lastly, we opened the ben jelen foundation at south by southwest. I can say we have already raised several thousand dollars. There is so much environmental awareness happening - we can change the way we live!!

Friday, March 7, 2008


I've already been blown away by the reports of how much support the foundation has already had.

Should you believe in these issues and want to support me in making a difference to our planet's environmental future, you can send checks to this address.

Tides Foundation, New York Office
Attn. Ben Jelen Foundation
55 Exchange Place, Suite 402
New York, NY 10005-1965


Tides Foundation, New York Office
Attn. Ben Jelen Foundation
55 Exchange Place, Suite 402
New York, NY 10005-1965

rained out in the everglades

Well, the bright side of getting your gig monsooned on is that the rain is needed in this area of north florida / south georgia. We're still headed north in our bus after a dissapointing cancellation last night. All we accomplished was a guitar amp being blown from water getting inside.

I heard something about Bush taking another step to OK blasting oceans all around earth with Mid-Frequency military sonar. The problem is that whales, the biggest creatures to have EVER existed on earth have different ears than ours and can not only hear this sound but extremely loud. Whales have been beaching themselves (suicide) to get away from the sound. I don't want to be a part of it and have been a part of many a NRDC-led petition against these practises. Join in!

We're beginning to raise serious money for the Ben Jelen Foundation and I'm extremely excited about what we'll be able to do with it. Stay tuned,


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

day one

We woke up in North Carolina and are now near Jacksonville Florida.

I was talking to Chris Lewis, our tour manager this morning and it turns out that he was one of the 20 million that participated in the very first Earth Day. 4/22/1970. Chris walked to school - also said he was pretty much the only kid he knew that was "in the know" from FM radio broadcasting.

What can we all do for Earth day 2008 (38 years later!!!!)


imagine this: the 'weight' your tree gains is equal to how much carbon it took out of the air and stores in its wood/leaves!!!

I've been excited about the idea of the BJF sponsoring an inner city teen to 'escape' their urban environment and learn about nature IN nature.

Tomorrow we're playing the Langerado festival in the Everglades, a place known for its environmental vulnerability. more to come....