Green Artist Spotlight: Jack Johnson

| 4/1/2009 10:21:54 AM

My previous blogs have focused on the fine arts; however, this week I’d like to explore the musical arts by highlighting singer, songwriter, environmental activist, professional surfer and talented filmmaker Jack Johnson.

Jack Johnson
Photo Courtesy Brushfire Records

Johnson provided the soundtrack to the 2006 movie Curious George with lyrics about basic social skills elementary school children learn, like sharing, the importance of friendship and playing on the jungle gym. The soundtrack not only features Johnson, playing the guitar and singing, but also three other artists: G Love, Matt Costa and Ben Harper.   

The song “The 3 R’s” talks about how to take care the planet, regardless of your age. Because the movie and the soundtrack are geared towards a younger audience (though adults like it too), Johnson incorporates children singing a few verses of the song. His catchy lyrics make it easy for children to remember the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling.

“If you're going to the market to buy some juice
You've got to bring your own bags and you learn to reduce your waste
And if your brother or your sister's got some cool clothes
You could try them on before you buy some more of those
Reuse, we've got to learn to reuse
And if the first two R's don't work out
And if you've got to make some trash
Don't throw it out
Recycle, we've got to learn to recycle”
-The 3 R’s, The Curious George Soundtrack

Johnson not only sings about protecting the planet, but also practices what he sings about. He and his wife Kim spread environmental awareness through their nonprofit Kokua Foundation, which they founded in 2003 (in Hawaiian Kokua means “to take care of”). Jack Johnson sings songs from the Curious George Soundtrack and talks to elementary students about ways to help the planet, like practicing the three r’s. He visits elementary schools throughout Hawaii and implements eco-friendly school programs, such as 3R’s School recycling; ‘AINA in Schools program; environmental field trips; KEAP-Kokua Earth Action projects; and an environmental education curriculum for students and teachers.

Johnson hosts the Kokua Festival, an annual music festival on Oahu, Hawaii, which unites local businesses, musicians, community leaders and eco-businesses in the goal of increasing environmental education throughout Hawaii. The festival raises funds for the Kokua Hawai’i Foundation.