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Wilco is trying to save the world, one show at a time


Following in the respectable footsteps of eco-conscious fellow rockers Radiohead, alt-rock darlings Wilco recently announced their plan for reducing their concerts' carbon footprint. The plan, called Passenger Side (after a Wilco song), is a section of the Wilco website dedicated to helping concertgoers find rides to share with other local carpoolers. To take part, Wilco fans have to register on the site, then file themselves under either Driver Side or Passenger Side, and wait for the ride-sharing magic to happen.

Wilco are no slouches themselves in terms of rocking for causes. In fact, there's a section dedicated to that on their website as well, as well as a voter registration form. On the green front, Wilco's show this week in Brooklyn's McCarren Pool benefitted Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn, a group that funds preservation and restoration of existing parks and helps to develop new ones around the Brooklyn neighborhoods.

And recently in St. Louis, the band donated $3,000 from poster sales to benefit New Roots Urban Farm, an "anti-profit collective" which sells its produce at farmers' markets and Community Sponsored Agriculture programs, and helps get local children involved in community agriculture. Another performance benefitted Berkeley, CA's The Growing Connection, which promotes low-cost, water-efficient, and sustainable food-growing initiatives.  Through this program, school gardens and community garden programs use an Earth Box system to grow vegetables and learn about agriculture, then they share their experiences and discoveries with groups in other parts of the world via the Internet.

Not only that, but one Wilco show alone last September raised a whopping $75,000 for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Other beneficiaries of the bands' philanthropy include Inspiration Corporation ($20,000), the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, First Slice Chicago (a community-supported kitchen to fight hunger), the Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia, DC Central Kitchen, and 826NYC (a nonprofit dedicated to instilling strong creative and expository writing skills in young children).

I never knew most of this about Wilco, but I have so much more respect for them now. Keep on rockin’.


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