Sure, gas is back to $2.50 per gallon and people are more concerned about saving their jobs than the whales. But the artists who made the Billboard Green 10 this year dedicated time, money and their fame to showing that environmental progress shouldn't wax and wane like the moon. They were judged in five categories-innovations in touring, packaging, charity work, political organizing and on-message media appearances. And they all proved that while it isn't easy being green, there are still inventive ways to make an impact.
Green is a hot color for John Legend. Not only did he chart with the R&B top 10 "Green Light," featuring André 3000, the singer/songwriter increased his efforts on behalf of various environmental causes.
Legend's tireless support of Barack Obama culminated in a Jan. 19 performance at the Green Inaugural Ball. The celebration of the new administration's pledge to build a sustainable energy economy was executive-produced by Live Earth founder Kevin Wall, and it brought together various environmental activists ranging from conservationists and engineers to scientists and activists. The carbon neutral ball-which served locally sourced and organic food, and, in lieu of a red carpet, had a recyclable green carpet made of 10% post-consumer waste-was part of Legend's ongoing push to raise awareness and promote solutions for worldwide environmental and social issues.
His 2-year-old Show Me Campaign (showmecampaign.org ) is dedicated to improving life for the residents of poverty-stricken Mbola, Tanzania, with clean water and higher-yielding agriculture. During stops on his late-2008 Evolver tour, fans could visit Show Me displays or text mobile donations of $5.
Last year Legend teamed with professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University's Earth Institute for a speaking tour to promote sustainable development in Mbola and other impoverished areas. The engagements were organized in tandem with the Millennium Promise, whose goal is to end extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa by 2015.
Besides being named No. 1 on the Billboard Green 10, Legend is earning other accolades in response to his efforts: Last June, he received the CARE Humanitarian Award for Global Change in Washington, D.C.
Click here for the full Billboard Green 10 List.