When Jack Johnson launched his eco-friendly rock tour last summer, the laid-back crooner was fueled by the idea that by making a few feasible changes in his road-trip arrangements, he could have less of a detrimental impact on the environment. But to have a greater impact, Johnson hoped that his actions would inspire his faithful fanbase to follow suit and implement changes to create a cleaner, healthier planet.
"It's so easy to fall into the path of just doing what everybody else does out of convenience, so we did this for the kids, especially the younger audience that comes to our shows, to let them know that you don't have to follow the norm and see that you can make a change if you want to," Johnson said from his Hawaii homestead, where he's currently finishing up the soundtrack to "Curious George" (see "Jack Johnson Says 'Curious George' Shouldn't Monkey Around With Adult Themes").
The singer's list of earth-friendly initiatives included running the tour buses and trucks on biodiesel (a cleaner-burning alternative fuel) rather than petroleum, offering fans reusable water bottles and hemp tote bags to reduce waste and selling eco-friendly tour merchandise including posters printed on recycled paper and shirts made from organic cotton (see "Jack Johnson Takes His Eco-Obsessive Show On The Road"). Johnson's efforts earned him a Climate Cool certification by the nonprofit Climate Neutral Network, an honor first bestowed on a band with Dave Matthews Band's 2002 tour.
The 30-city North American tour wound from August through September and used 22,000 gallons of biodiesel, which kept 89 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions from polluting the air. As part of his tour rider, Johnson suggested that each venue take steps to reduce negative environmental impact, such as setting up more than two dozen recycling sites throughout each property and only using recycled trash bags, paper towels and toilet paper in the facilities.
Johnson first had the idea for the eco-friendly trek when he started moving from small clubs to larger venues (see "Jack Johnson Rides Wave Of Success, Maintains Some Anonymity").
"Once we started touring on buses ... I started to look at what we were doing, and I wanted to do something that could make a little less of an ecological footprint," he said. "Now that I'm in a position where I can do good, I've personally felt the responsibility to put the light on some issues that are bigger than myself."
Johnson also helped aid victims of Hurricane Katrina by donating $5,000 of his own money for each show between August 31 and September 17 (13 gigs in all) and by establishing fundraisers through the American Red Cross. In all, almost $123,000 was raised for hurricane relief.
Johnson's two-disc DVD set "Jack Johnson and Friends: A Weekend at the Greek/ Live in Japan" gives a glimpse of what life is like on the road for the singer, chronicling two separate treks at opposite ends of the globe: The first disc, "A Weekend at the Greek," was shot in Berkeley, California, during the In Between Dreams tour last August, and "Live in Japan" was filmed in August 2004 at the end of the On and On tour.