If you are looking for EIA UK, it's overhere.

Are Guitars Today’s Blood Diamonds? Musicians Raise Awareness

Members of Maroon 5, Guster air documentary of Guatemalan rainforest visit with REVERB and the Environmental Investigation Agency to raise awareness of illegal logging’s environmental and human costs and spread support for sustainable alternatives

LOS ANGELES - As the summer tour and festival season ramps up, concertgoers may encounter requests to pledge support for a campaign to halt illegal logging of endangered woods and promote sustainable alternatives. Several high-profile artists have joined with REVERB and the Environmental Investigation Agency, the nonprofit organizations behind the No More Blood Wood campaign, to raise awareness about the relationship between wooden instruments and demand-driven logging practices now decimating ancient rainforests.

Maroon 5, Dave Matthews Band, Linkin Park, Sara Bareilles, Michael Franti, Jack Johnson, KT Tunstall, Jason Mraz, Guster, Bonnie Raitt and Bob Weir are among many performers using their voices and influence to encourage fans, legislators and instrument-makers to support the U.S. Lacey Act, which prohibits the import of and trade in illegally sourced timber and wood products. They've also pledged to verify wood sources before purchasing new instruments. Artists from Mick Jagger, Willie Nelson, Sting and Lenny Kravitz to Lana Del Rey, Lilly Allen and Brandi Carlile have also signed the pledge.

Several musicians have not only signed, but participated in letter-writing campaigns to instrument manufacturers, an educational video (Getting in Tune: Musicians for Legal and Sustainable Wood) or other activities. DMB's Stefan Lessard and Guster's Adam Gardner, who cofounded REVERB with his environmentalist wife, Lauren Sullivan, have published newspaper op-ed pieces. Gardner also testified before Congress in protest of 2012 efforts to weaken the Lacey Act.

REVERB began educating concertgoers about the issue with 2013's Last Summer on Earth tour; since then, millions of fans have been invited to sign postcards asking their Congressional representatives to support continued enforcement against the illegal timber and wood products trade.

In late 2015, Gardner and Sullivan traveled with Maroon 5's James Valentine and Jesse Carmichael and members of the Environmental Investigation Agency, a nonprofit advocacy group, to the Guatemalan rainforest to document the effects of illegal logging and success of sustainable alternatives.

Their 20-minute film, Instruments of Change: Lessons from the Rainforest, premiered May 17 at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, followed by a Facebook-livestreamed Q&A. The film also premiered in Guatemala City before policy makers and civil society.

The message needs to reach even more ears in order to halt the devastating effects of illegal logging on delicate ecosystems, wildlife and biodiversity, as well as local populations who depend on forest resources. Irreversible species loss and human lives sacrificed to corrupt and unethical business practices are just some of the consequences of illegal timber harvests.

According to climate scientists, deforestation and illegal logging result in more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world's air, road, rail and shipping traffic combined.

"This issue is very similar to blood diamonds," says Gardner. "It's about knowing that what you buy has deep impacts far afield from the store you bought it from."

"It's the demand for these woods that drives this whole industry," says Valentine. "I don't think consumers are aware of the problem, and change could happen if consumers start to ask where their wood is coming from for any wood product, not just instruments."

REVERB and EIA have worked together since 2012 to encourage musicians, fans, instrument manufacturers and lawmakers to support legal and sustainably sourced timber and call for action against those who trade in stolen timber.

During that post-screening Q&A at the Grammy Museum, Gardner was asked why the group felt the need to trek into the heart of the Central American rainforest.

"We thought, 'How do we more deeply engage artists and the public in this?" he explained. "'Well, let's have fans see and learn along with these high profile artists' eyes.'"

Watch the trailer to Instruments of Change: Lessons from the Rainforest, here.


Maggie Dewane, EIA Press Officer, mdewane@eia-global.org, +1 202 483 6621

View all Press Releases

Recent Blog Posts

South Korea Says "아니요" (No) to Illegal Timber
South Korea has joined the ranks of countries prohibiting the import of illegal timber.
Not One More: Another Activist Silenced by Arrest in Madagascar
Christopher Magnenjiky was arrested for obscure and unjust reasons mid-May 2018

Recent Reports

New legal risks for Japanese timber sourcing from Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe’s Carpathian Mountains may seem remote for most Japanese, but lumber stolen from these ancient forests permeates Japan’s housebuilding sector. New reports from Romania and Ukraine reveal the extent of illegal logging, corruption, and bribery practiced by some of Europe’s largest wood processors.
African Log Bans Matter
Investments by Chinese companies in Africa’s forest sector have boomed in recent years, often playing a significant role in national economies, rural communities and stimulating technological transfer, especially related to timber processing. Unfortunately, the win-win vision developed by Chinese and African governments is undermined by certain businessmen who are taking a radically different approach.

Recent Press Releases

Livestream: Defend the Defenders
Musicians from Maroon 5, Dave Matthews Band and Guster Join Peruvian Indigenous Leaders, Advocate End to Illegal Deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest
No Compensation for Timber Traffickers
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) welcomes the unanimous rejection of the proposed payoff mechanism to Malagasy rosewood traffickers, agreed upon by the governing body of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES Standing Committee) at its meeting in Sochi.

Recent Videos

The 'S' Files
EIA's series of videos exposing Holzindustrie Schweighofer's involvement in illegal logging in Romania,
The 'S' Files, Case #3: Depot Deception
The latest in EIA's video series, The 'S' Files, Depot Deception shows that Holzindustrie Schweighofer, one of the largest timber companies in Europe, appears to be systematically...
Follow us @eiaenvironment on twitter for the latest updates!