Beyond the political messages they carried, the artists who took part in the multi-state Vote for Change tour are looking to leave a lasting impression on the swing states they visited.
Beyond the political messages they carried, the artists who took part in the multi-state Vote for Change tour are looking to leave a lasting impression on the swing states they visited. In partnership with Portland, Ore.--based Bonneville Environmental Foundation, the artists will fund several new small-scale solar energy and wind power plants.
"During the tour, the artists talked about how we could help support local organizations already doing good work in their communities around issues we all care about," Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard says. "We decided to focus on local projects that highlight opportunities for alternative energy technologies in an effort to demonstrate community-based solutions to our nation's reliance on oil."
The Vote for Change tour wrapped Oct. 11 with an all-star finale in Washington, D.C. The tour visited states deemed battlegrounds in the coming U.S. presidential election and urged attendees to do their part to remove George W. Bush from the White House. Along with Pearl Jam, other artists taking part included Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M., the Dixie Chicks, the Dave Matthews Band, Jurassic 5, Ben Harper, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and Bonnie Raitt.
Gossard spearheaded the Vote for Change Renewable Energy Project with his fiancé, Liz Weber, an environmental and green building consultant. To start, funds will be directed to projects in Madison, Wis., and Wellington, Fla. Others will be identified in the coming weeks.
In Madison, the Family Centers, which works to prevent child abuse by helping to strengthen families, will receive a solar hot water system and a solar electric power system for its facility, which is currently being renovated and expanded. The goal is being accomplished with additional funding from the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation.
In Florida, the Palm Beach Central High School will have a solar powered disaster shelter system installed. The project, which will also benefit from the Florida Solar Energy Center through Florida's SunSmart Schools Program, will become a tool for teaching the importance of renewable energy.