Sam Judd

Comment on the environment from nzherald.co.nz columnist Sam Judd

Sam Judd: Jack gives back

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Jack Johnson walks the talk. Photo / Jack Johnson Instagram
Jack Johnson walks the talk. Photo / Jack Johnson Instagram

Next week, the legendary surfing musician Jack Johnson is playing two shows at the ASB theatre in Auckland.

Jack Johnson isn't your typical rock star - he breaks the mould in terms of how the well-off behave.

After releasing multiple platinum albums to excellent critical acclaim, he lost the motivation to continue the hectic lifestyle of touring. Quite simply, he doesn't lead a lavish lifestyle - he prefers to surf, grow food and enjoy nature rather than blow cash being your archetypal rock star.

But then he remembered working with non-profit organisations and, realising how hard it is for them to raise funds, he embarked on a new journey that was to see him help grass roots organisations across the world.

In 2008 Jack and his wife Kim set up the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, donating 100% of his tour profits to support organisations that engage individuals to make positive change in the areas of environment, art and music education.

They now partner with local charities at every tour stop, granting them matched donations when they come to town and valuable promotional space at the concerts too.

Not only that, Jack Johnson walks the talk. The 2010 To The Sea tour was one of the most sustainable concert concepts I have ever seen. The tour crew source their food locally, they refuse bottled water - instead opting for backstage water refill stations, and they aim for zero waste with an emphasis on composting and diverting waste from landfill.

Back in his Hawaiian homeland, the Johnson house is the first platinum LEED-Certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building in Hawaii, it is constructed almost entirely from reclaimed timber, and features solar electricity generation, water catchment and an aeration treatment system that allows the sewage to be used on the garden. His environmental approach to building also extends to his studios.

He is an awesome example of how successful people can effectively make a huge difference to communities through leading by example and generosity to causes that are dear to his heart.

Compare this to Kanye West and Kim Kardashian who (my wife tells me) are reportedly intending to build a replica of the Downton Abbey mansion in Los Angeles just because they like the TV show.

I always found it interesting that as a general rule, when charities employ fundraisers to go door knocking, they don't go to the blue chip suburbs in cities, because the well off don't tend to give money away. They focus on areas where people know what it is like to need money - people who have been through that are much more likely to donate.

I guess you don't get rich by giving all of your money away, but having a lot of money is really quite different from leading a fulfilling life and knowing that you have done everything you can with your talents to help other people.

This is exactly what Jack did.

To commemorate the From Here To Now To You tour we are going to give Piha beach a good pre-Summer clean-up this weekend. We are meeting at 1:00PM at South Piha on Sunday the 1st of December. It happens to be New Zealand's inaugural National Surfing Day and if you pitch in to help you could win tickets to see the good man play live two days later!

For those of you who, having read this small part of Jack's mission to make the world a better place and want to start giving away some of your money to worthy causes, check out the One Percent Collective, who make it easy and fun to give away 1% of your income to local causes that you care about.

- NZ Herald

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