An Introduction to Sustain

“Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries.” -President Jimmy Carter

Harrison Goodale and I co-founded Sustain because we hold a love for both music and nature, and believe the two passions can be melded to benefit both the music industry and the environment. Sustain strives to elevate the music community as a leader in environmental responsibility and awareness, by crafting partnerships between the music industry and environmental organizations.

It’s an exciting beginning for our non-profit. We’ve been buzzing with ideas on how we’ll link musicians with the organizations that steward America’s landscapes. How we can deliver the best information on sustainable practices in music business. The ways we can boost support for bands that are operating with respect for the environment. How to translate fanaticism for music and for nature into tangible benefits for both parties. The work is thrilling.

Songscapes are one piece of our vision. Songscapes are songwriting retreats that match bands with land stewardship organizations. Over a few days of immersion in a place’s beauty and history, bands create a song inspired by their experience. Shortly afterwards, the song is professionally recorded and donated to the host organization for use in their marketing materials. Eventually, we’ll collect enough songs to issue place-based albums, which will inspire listeners to visit and value these landscapes. Songscapes are exciting because they bring new audiences to emerging bands, and new awareness to land organizations from bands’ fan bases.

Sustain’s vision is carried out through our Green Roster program as well. We are creating a roster of bands, luthiers, and recording studios that pledge to uphold best environmental practices in their businesses. We will be a key resource and driver for the music industry to adopt more sustainable ways. The Green Roster network will facilitate partnerships between savvy bands, studios and luthiers. Members will get preferential support from consumers that care about sustainability, while bringing new awareness about music’s environmental role to existing audiences.

We believe involving music in the field of environmental progress is a great way to create emotional connections between music audiences and the lands and waters that support them. Interest in music cuts across all generations and all socioeconomic groups in a way the environmental movement has struggled to capture. Sustain has the potential to create real change for the music industry and for environmental consciousness. We’re excited, and hope you are too.

Thank you,

Betsy Mortensen