"Outside: From the Redwoods," the video of an environmentally themed concert by Carpinteria resident Kenny Loggins, arrived in local video stores last week.
Ventura County environmental activists will recognize one of the songs performed in the concert, "Conviction of the Heart," because it has become a sort of anthem for their movement. Singer-songwriter Loggins performed it at this summer's Stop Weldon Canyon benefit concert at the Ventura Theatre.
Loggins performs a lot of these benefit concerts--two or three a month--all over the U. S. He has also played host and performed in an educational video produced for the Audubon Society and broadcast on the Disney Channel. Anyone who follows environmental matters has begun to see his face and hear his music everywhere.
"The environment doesn't have a chance unless we change. Our generation is voting and creating businesses now--and influencing politicians," he said in a recent interview. "This is our World War II."
He had just returned home from an awards banquet in Los Angeles where a group of environmentally oriented Hollywood bigwigs had gathered to meet Al Gore. The group, called the Environmental Media Assn., annually hands out awards to creative types in film and TV who have done the best job of putting pro-environmental messages in their sitcoms and theatrical epics.
He told me that the talk at the Hollywood event was about "the backlash." Evidently some people think there is too much environmental stuff on TV and in movies.
"Gore mentioned it and I got abused for it on a VH-1 cable interview recently," he said. Specifically, Loggins said, he was criticized for using his media visibility for environmental "advocacy."
He said he finds it ironic that it's the performers who defend causes who are criticized, not those who get paid to do endorsements for products such as petroleum-based fertilizers, automobiles and long-distance phone services.
He wanted it known that although "This Island Earth" was made by the Audubon Society, to whom Loggins donated his services, that organization got its production funds from Church and Dwight, a company that makes Arm & Hammer baking soda, which goes into everything from toothpaste to graffiti remover. Because it's made from bicarbonate of soda--a naturally occurring, nontoxic substance--and there's about a century's supply in the ground under Wyoming, Loggins believed that it was a product with which he could be identified.
Also, the eco-themed concert, the basis for the video, "Outside: From the Redwoods," was free to the public, and staged under unusual circumstances in Santa Cruz.
Loggins put an ad in the local alternative press asking people to fax him a paragraph describing a "major transition" they were going through. In 24 hours, several thousand responses arrived, and from among them Loggins handpicked his audience.
Public television taped the concert and the question-and-answer session Loggins conducted with his audience. The environment was topic No. 1, according to Loggins.
Of his environmentally hip audience and of his own generation, Loggins said: "This is what we were born to face. Other people don't want to look at it."
For a video of "This Island Earth" at $14.95, call (800) 989-0227. The full concert version of "Outside: From the Redwoods" goes on sale in local record and video stores this month.