Music News

Multi-use condoms, vintage clothes, and other ways rock stars are saving the earth

These days, there's nothing trendier in rock than a green tour. Even if you're not environmentally friendly on the road, you're at least joining the fight to build awareness of global warming. To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, let's take a look back at an early era in the genre — what we now know as "classic rock" — to figure out how, if at all, some legends managed to help save the planet without even knowing it.

One of the tenets of rock is sex, right? Well, latex condoms are notoriously non-recyclable, despite how many a massive country like the U.S. goes through every year. Classic rockers inadvertently opted to reduce excessive condom use by participating in the now-oft-mythologized rock orgy. Why use a condom on just one woman, when you can use them on three or four at a time? Mother Earth has remained effusively grateful.

Drug abuse
Another tenet of rock is, of course, drugs. However, 40 years ago, the "hard stuff" did not mean crystal meth. Classic rockers favored mind-expanding natural drugs like mushrooms and, especially, marijuana — which is derived from the same plant that produces hemp, once one of our nation's biggest crops. Now, one could argue that classic rockers did more to harm the national perception of hemp with their "dirty hippie" lifestyle, but others could also easily argue that marijuana would have grown increasingly unpopular and even vanished after the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 if not for rock making it "cool." Consequently, classic rockers' vigilant support of marijuana can inadvertently be seen as support of hemp. Did you know one acre of hemp in annual rotation will produce more pulp than four acres of trees over a 20-year period? If we all supported hemp like classic rockers did, pushing the "drug" into legality, hemp could pretty much solve all of our conservation issues.

The tour bus
Classic rockers basically made the tour bus as mythologically cool as catching a ride on a Pegasus. This makes them Earth's first carpoolers. By hopping into one vehicle instead of a dozen, classic rockers reduced noxious emissions and reduced, in their own small way, our dependency on finite natural resources.

Fashion forward
These days, the quickest way to say "I'm a serious musical artist" to your friends and family is to hit your local thrift store and buy a whole bunch of 30- to 40-year-old threads that are both too small for you and smell dodgy. Then, of course, you grow an ironic mustache and convince yourself it's not ironic. Consequently, the fashions of the late '60s and '70s are regularly recycled by today's uncreative, musically inclined youth, which is a whole lot better than recycling the spandex of the '80s and the balloon pants of the '90s that even thrift stores throw away.

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Cole Haddon