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Rocking for Climate Change and Ocean Sustainability

Daniel Kingsbury

It's pouring rain outside and we are cruising along the winding highways of Northwestern Ontario. When I glance back from the passenger seat, I see my band mates passed out in various formations around the RV, our home on wheels for the indefinite future. We're exhausted. After presenting The Jellyfish Project three times in a row in Dryden, Ont., we're hustling to make it to Sioux Lookout before night settles in. When we arrive, we will immediately locate some WiFi in a café, fire up our computers and begin the evening portion of the day: photo and video editing, blogging, booking, accounting, social media management, data entry, and responding to a seemingly endless stream of emails. When the work is done, we'll head home to the RV, cook some dinner and call it a night.

Tomorrow will begin the same way as today. We'll wake up, immediately load and assemble almost 2000 pounds of equipment into a gymnasium or auditorium, squeeze in a 5-minute breakfast and then start the show. It's hard work, and the road is long ahead, but we are honoured to make our unique contribution to this great tradition. As we say during our presentation "music has always gone hand in hand with the revolutions and movements of the past, and it's our job to continue that tradition and spread awareness of the most essential revolution of our time: the transition to a fully sustainable existence of human beings on Planet Earth." This is a sobering reality and it's something we spend hours pondering during our long drives in the RV.

We are living in a truly pivotal time in history. Human civilization is faced with a simple choice: evolve and transition smoothly into a sustainable way of being, or face certain catastrophe as the effects of climate change and the myriad of associated environmental realities worsen and inevitably envelop every corner of the globe. Some might call me an alarmist for such statements, but when current biological indicators and the unilateral confirmation of this crisis by the world's foremost scientists are taken into account, any informed (and uncorrupted) individual will agree. Unfortunately, this choice isn't so simple. We are still heavily entrenched in an archaic system that is controlling mainstream media and keeping the general public in the dark about the defining issues of our time. This system is effectively preserving the bottom lines of the world's most powerful corporations at the expense of our planet and future generations. We can't let this happen.

This fall are taking The Jellyfish Project from Vancouver to Halifax and bringing our important environmental messages to over 35,000 Canadian students. We provide a high energy rock concert followed by a dynamic presentation on ocean sustainability, climate change, and environmental stewardship. We also invite students to join the environmental movement and engage in activism with the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition (CYCC), one of our partner organizations. In this age of misinformation and media distortion, we believe quality education to be the cornerstone of change. When a person has the good fortune of achieving a thorough understanding of the depth and breadth of the problem, it's nearly impossible not to care and be motivated to become part of the solution. As Einstein said, "those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act." And they are acting. Due to the rising popularity of social media and web video (which we can now access from our smart phones) critical information is spreading like never before. This unprecedented access to information is changing the very fabric of our culture and is proving to be a massive force for global action and change, significantly increasing the reach and impact of many new movements. It's a very exciting and a very important time to be alive.

Our days on tour are long and can be gruelling, but we are fuelled by the mutual satisfaction that we are engaged in extremely important work and that our message is being heard. Personally, I feel excited and energized and have just come off of what I would describe as one of the best summers of my life. It was my first summer at home on the Sunshine Coast since my band mates and I started Mindil Beach Markets in Victoria almost five years ago. I spent the weekdays on my laptop at the local café working on the growth and expansion of The Jellyfish Project and the weekends with the band, performing at a number of concert venues and music festivals around British Columbia. We've had a lot to celebrate, a tremendous amount of fun and a lot more to look forward to.

It was a transformative season of profound realizations and epiphanies, the most significant of which being the decision to invite other bands to join The Jellyfish Project, exponentially increasing the reach and impact of our program. We believe that many bands are aware of these issues and care deeply about the state of our environment, but don't know how to be a part of the solution in an impactful way. The Jellyfish Project provides an answer to this need and will give bands a number of realistic opportunities to meaningfully engage in the environmental movement. Although our organization has achieved tremendous recognition and success in its short life, we have not yet scratched the surface of its potential power.

The universal language of music is something that reaches almost all people regardless of age, sex, race or religion. Adored by endless millions worldwide, music has the power to save lives and change the world. It has been and will continue to be the voice of generations. The inspirational power that musicians have over their legions of loyal fans is unmatched in any other field of entertainment; many groups have achieved god-like status in the eyes of their followers and have an incredible ability to be a major influence in their lives. It is the belief of The Jellyfish Project that the mobilization of the music industry to promote environmental awareness and activism could be the catalyst to the tipping point for the most essential revolution of our time: the transition to environmental sustainability.