Musicians, artists and activists lended their unique voices to the issue of climate change at the Pathway To Paris concerts at The Masonic in San Francisco and the ACE Theatre in Los Angeles over the weekend, a closing act of the Global Climate Action Summit in California.
This year's concerts, a collaboration with 350.org and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), featured legendary punk rocker Patti Smith, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, skateboarding icon Tony Hawk, hip-hop artist Talib Kweli, artists Olafur Eliasson and Steven Sebring, 350.org founder Bill McKibben and many other high-profile guests and environmental activists.
"Happy in my heart I had the opportunity to play for for Pathways To Paris this weekend. I love trees, water, air, bluebirds with those little crowns on their heads," Flea tweeted Monday.
Founded by Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon, the first Pathway to Paris concerts took place in New York following the People's Climate March in 2014 and in Paris, France following the adoption of the landmark Paris climate agreement in 2015. Last year's concert in New York's renowned Carnegie Hall launched the 1000 Cities campaign that aims to get at least 1,000 cities around the world to commit to using 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.
This year's event focused on "the potential for cities to push for, achieve and go beyond the climate targets highlighted in the Paris agreement," according to a press release.
Truly filled with a new energy coming out of #PathwayToParis over the weekend. I’m both grateful and inspired to ha… https://t.co/CsOqj0j5N6— Bob Weir (@Bob Weir)1537211678.0
"Cities play a critical role in transforming our world out of the era of fossil fuels and into a renewable world," Foon said in the press release. "This is our time to make this shift and transform our cities to become sustainable, resilient cities for us all and future generations. This is our chance as our window of time is narrowing."
The organizers also called on the international community to ramp up climate action, which reflected the theme of the Global Climate Action Summit to take "Take Ambition to the Next Level."
"In the world of music, the best way to improve is through collaboration. This is the same with the critical issue of climate change," Smith said in the release. "We must join together to make this the most ambitious collaboration of our century. We will not be able to implement crucial and challenging solutions to climate change, plastic pollution, and all urgent environmental problems as long as we stand divided. Inseparable from the issue of climate change is the need for world peace, global communication, and an international collaboration unmatched by any event in human history."
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The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
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Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.