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[fa:p:a=72157594270496732,id=235372793,j=r,s=s,l=p]AUSTIN DAZE: Tell us about the good things that you all are doing on Jam Cruise.

MARC ROSS: Well we’re doing several elements of Jam Cruise. The overall function of Rock the Earth on Jam Cruise is to reduce the ecological footprint that this ship and this festival have on the environment. So we have had environmentally friendly initiatives to try and reduce that impact. The first of which is recycling. Normally this cruise liner, unlike other cruise liners, doesn’t conduct any type of recycling. So we’ve brought in a fantastic organization called Clean Vibes that has four kids down in the bottom of the ship sifting through garbage and separating the glass, separating the aluminum, the steel, and spending most of their time down there doing that.

To pay for some of these initiatives we’ve had a Greening Auction. Just last night we had over 70 items up from artists and from other environmentally friendly people and activists and companies. We raised over $18,000 last night to pay for these initiatives. We’ve also initiated a tree-planting program with an organization called Trees for the Future. For $10 dollars passengers on Jam Cruise will have 100 trees planted in Jamaica or the Yucatan Peninsula–two of the areas that this cruise went to– to try to offset the omissions from the cruise itself and from the travel to and from the cruise. One last thing we’ve done to try and raise money is the Everyone Orchestra which is a fantastic band that rotates the artists through and raises money for charities. They are raffling off guest conductor spots.

AD: What do you do back on land?

MR: Typically, we are not an educational organization like this. We do some amount of education but our bread and butter on land is that we are an environmental advocacy organization not unlike the Sierra Club or Justice– smaller regional environmental advocacy organizations that work with the music industry. We work with them on issues that are of concern to artists and their fans. So, if for example, there is an artist in Austin–take any artist out of Austin…Jimmie Vaughan. If Jimmie Vaughan was concerned with say, a coal mine being developed in Bastrop County or a particular Aquifer in Austin which may be impacted by a big box development, we’ve got a team of environmental lawyers and scientists that can actually do something about the issue while we work with the PR and fundraising people to try and raise money to fund our activities.

AD: Have you heard about Barton Springs?

MR: We have heard about Barton Springs and is it, Save our Springs? We’ve heard about them. We haven’t reached out to them at this point. They haven’t reached out to us at this point. But we would love to work on some Austin issues. We’ve reached out to Austin City Limits Festival the last two years to try and get a presence there but they seem to only allow local environmental groups and we’re a national environmental group. **

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