Pearl Jam to Donate Green to Environmental Causes

Pearl Jam has promised to donate $100,000 to several groups that focus on climate change, renewable energy and other environmental causes as part of an effort to offset carbon emissions the band churns out on tour.

"Our Carbon Portfolio Strategy is the newest component of our ongoing efforts to advance clean renewable energy and carbon mitigation," the Seattle-based band said in a statement posted on its Web site Tuesday.

Guitarist Stone Gossard said the group has been tracking its carbon emissions from vehicles used on tour and energy used in concert venues and hotels to estimate the band's contribution to global warming.

"We can get a really relatively accurate picture of what that looks like over a year, and it's a considerable amount of carbon," Gossard told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in a backstage interview at a concert in Los Angeles. "We emitted about 5,000 tons of carbon on our last tour."

Cascade Land Conservancy and EarthCorps, which work to protect and replenish Puget Sound-area forests, are among nine organizations Pearl Jam picked to receive donations.

The band's donations to IslandWood, an environmental education center on Bainbridge Island, will provide scholarships for children who can't afford tuition, spokeswoman Marla Saperstein said.

The other organizations are: American Solar Energy Society, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Conservation International, Green Empowerment, Honor the Earth, and Clean Energy Initiative, a ballot measure that would require larger electric utilities in Washington state to derive 15 percent of their energy from "new renewable" sources, such as wind or solar, by 2020.

I-937 campaign director Bill LaBorde, a self-proclaimed Pearl Jam fan, praised the band's activism.

"These guys care about the world around them," LaBorde said in a statement Monday. "It shows in their music, and it shows in the way they do things. They're using their fame to raise worldwide awareness of both the problem of global warming and the solutions."

Initiative 937 backers appeared to have gathered enough signatures to get the measure on the November ballot as of Friday, when petitions were due. The official list of November ballot initiatives won't be announced until next month.

Pearl Jam said Conservation International will get a larger share of the band's donations than the other groups because it does work in more than 40 countries.

Pearl Jam has aided other green causes in the past, including donating money to preserve a Madagascar rain forest to atone for environmental damage wrought by its last tour.