Some celebrities make a mockery of their lives in the limelight, others recognize their unique…
By Betsy Mortensen
Successful musicians wield a unique power- not only do they have the influential pull of celebrity, but they can also move us on an emotional level with their songs. Music can evoke feelings in a way that no other medium can. Some musicians have been using their celebrity status and talents to inspire fans and support wildlife conservation. Let’s look at what some of the world’s biggest music groups are doing to help wildlife.
Last summer, Taylor Swift released her music video for Wildest Dreams. The film, shot in Botswana and South Africa, includes a number of scenes of the continent’s most charismatic wildlife- giraffes, lions and zebras. Swift pledged to donate all the proceeds from the video’s advertisement hits to the African Parks Foundation of America. Seeing as the video has over 460 million views, it’s a blessing for the conservation group, which manages 10 national parks in Africa. They equip law enforcement staff to combat poaching, develop infrastructure to attract visitors and reintroduce wildlife to their original habitats. Taylor Swift is one of the most influential musicians in the world, and her music video has raised awareness for African wildlife, and the important work of the African Parks Foundation of America.
In 2013, Coldplay supported 1%4Wildlife’s Rhinoceros conservation work. The rock stars donated use of their song, “Til Kingdom Come”, for the South African wildlife nonprofit’s video documenting anti-poaching measures protecting rhinos. The video covers capture of three rhinos that receive microchips important for prosecuting and tracking poachers.
For the band’s 25th Anniversary Tour, they’re supporting wildlife conservation in a number of ways. At shows, sales of reusable bottles, printed with Dave Matthews’ hand-drawn rhino art, support the band’s wildlife conservation fund. Matthews has been a champion of the International Rhino Foundation, and his influence helps raise the visibility of the rhino’s plight. The band also allows local wildlife conservation groups to set up info booths at concerts, so they can share their message with the band’s fans.
New Zealand’s rising pop star, Jamie McDell, is passionate about ocean conservation, especially the plight of the Maui’s Dolphin. There are only 55 Maui’s Dolphins left and McDell is partnering with World Wildlife Fund-New Zealand on their Challenge 55 fundraising campaign. The singer just recently released Son of the Ocean with a music video featuring the Maui’s dolphin, and 55 young New Zealanders providing the backup vocals. McDell says, “my goal is to raise awareness for the rare Maui’s dolphins and to spark conversations around what we can be doing to keep our oceans healthy for generations to come”. Proceeds from song sales are supporting WWF and the race to save this species.
Betsy Mortensen is Co-Founder of Sustain Music & Nature, a nonprofit working to green the music industry