An Island-based coalition of musicians and environmentalists is educating high school students on how to save the planet – before it’s too late.
Last week, Mount Douglas students got an eye-opener from the Jellyfish Project, an initiative that uses live music to engage younger generations on important environmental issues relating to oceans and climate. The group puts a focus on overfishing, wildlife endangerment, plastic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, all of which have had devastating impacts on the Earth.
Victoria indie folk quartet Carmanah – named after the Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park in Port Alberni – performed a short set before telling students how 30 per cent of carbon emissions get absorbed into the ocean and how raising the Earth’s temperature by another degree would be catastrophic.
“It’s hard to have a good balance of getting the devastating facts out there and then providing the solutions and the inspiration for the kids,” said drummer Steve Biggs. “Nobody wants to bring them that news that things are looking pretty grim, but I think the word of mouth is huge. It only takes one mind out of a million to do something amazing.”
An eco-conscious band by nature, Carmanah joined the Jellyfish Project after hearing about it from founder Daniel Kingsbury, formerly of Sunshine Coast rock band Mindil Beach Markets.
“We had already been somewhat active in the environmental scene in Victoria – we’d played a couple anti-pipeline rallies and shows like that,” said lead vocalist Laura Mitic. “We loved the idea of going into schools and chatting with youth and being inspired by them and inspiring them.
“They challenge us with their questions and they inspire us to keep doing this because they’re also making us think and reflect on our own lifestyles.”
The group tries to lead by example, highlighting the many ways they’ve reduced their environmental impact, such as drinking from reusable water bottles, trying not to have food waste and touring in a vehicle that runs on used deep fryer oil.
“It’s nice to work towards being carbon neutral,” said guitarist Pat Ferguson. “We’re hoping to do a tour bus one day on veggie oil.”
The group also suggests numerous ways students can do their part to protect the planet, from reducing plastic consumption and promoting environmental awareness on social media to eating sustainable seafood and getting green jobs.
“There are so many entry points and I think that’s what the presentation tries to highlight,” said Jessica Lansfield, executive director of the Jellyfish Project. “Not everyone’s going to march down the street with a sign, but maybe they’ll talk to their family and friends.
“There’s a place for everyone to be in the conversation and engage.”
Carmanah is planning a tour around Vancouver Island later this year and will be available to do presentations at schools with the Jellyfish Project.
To book a Jellyfish Project presentation, or for more information, visit thejellyfishproject.org.