Todd and E presenting at North Central College
LIFE EDUCATION. The band meets with students of all ages to help educate and encourage. This has included visits to primary schools such as the Academy For Global Citizenship in Chicago – a pioneering public elementary school that teaches nutrition, organic farming, meditation, and cultural harmony –and higher education institutions such as the prestigious Nicholas School For The Environment at Duke University – where The Giving Tree Band conducted the school's annual environmental seminar with some of the brightest graduate students from around the world.
BRIGHTER FUTURE. Though the story of The Giving Tree Band is still being written, it can already be said that these musical frontiersmen are redefining “virtuosity,” which is traditionally understood as technical prowess. But what is missing from this definition is the root word – Virtue. And it is upon this foundation of Virtue that The Giving Tree Band weaves their musical tapestry - by playing each note with integrity, each part with humility, each song with honesty, and each show with gratitude. The band hopes that when the story is complete, it will continue to serve as a source of inspiration for future generations and as a footstool for them to reach higher and go further.
Performing at homeless shelter in Louisville, Thanksgiving 2012.
GREEN PARTNERS. The band’s concerts and tours have supported dozens of charities and environmental organizations over the years including Hand In Hand USA, Global Green, and REVERB and proceeds from digital sales have also been donated to non-profits. The band has improved the greening efforts at major festivals. At the 49th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, The Giving Tree Band was instrumental in seeding two important initiatives - 1) requiring all food and beverage vendors to provide 99.9 percent recycled, biodegradable or compostable paper goods, plastic cutlery and cups to all its customers and 2) reducing the fest's hard copy mailings by one-third with plans to continue reducing each year. The band led a discussion with the Runway To Hope Foundation at Summer Camp Music Fest on anti-bullying strategies for schools and joined the sustainability panel at Floyd Fest in Virginia.
BUILDING COMMUNITY. People are part of the environment too and building a culture of inclusivity is important. The band brings their show to the disadvantaged who cannot easily experience live music. They have performed in hospitals and nursing homes and for the poor and underprivileged children and for blind veterans at the VA Medical Center. The sustainable vision of the band supports intercultural harmony, appreciation and respect, and fosters a global community.
PIONEER SPIRIT. In 2008, the band produced an album in the greenest manner possible. They partnered with the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in rural Wisconsin to record at the first certified carbon neutral building in the world with LEED platinum status. Only solar energy was used to power everything - engineering, recording, mixing, editing, and mastering. The band camped in the nearest state park 10 miles away for a month straight and rode bikes back and forth every day to work, ultimately exceeding 500 miles of bicycle transit. A local organic farm donated fresh produce which was the only food that was prepared into a single meal in the evening in the campground. The album was titled “Great Possessions” in tribute to the legendary American conservationist Aldo Leopold and reflects the essence of his teaching: when land is viewed as a community to which we belong instead of a commodity belonging to us, then it will be treated with love and respect. In addition to widespread critical acclaim, the album was dubbed the “greenest of albums” by the Chicago Sun-Times and GTB, the “greenest band in the land” by Mother Earth News.
HEALTHY LIVING. The band maintains a regular practice of yoga and meditation and a joyful attitude. The band encourages everyone to be healthy and happy first. Then, people naturally will want to take care of each other and the planet.
Recording at Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in Baraboo, WI.
A Brief History Of The Giving Tree Band's Environmental Stewardship
VISION STATEMENT. Brothers Todd and E Fink founded the group in 2004 and quickly developed a "vision statement" which outlined the musical direction and sustainable approach the band would follow. The band has since been recognized around the world for their music and extraordinary environmental stewardship. It has included the following initiatives.
SIMPLE APPROACH. The band lives together simply in one home as one family with one main tour van that runs on diesel and bio-diesel fuel. Nearly all waste is recycled or composted. The recording studio is also in their home and was constructed by members of the band with an efficient design from recycled and reclaimed materials and sustainable bamboo. All the emissions from energy use in their home, along with global energy use associated with their websites, is carbon offset with investments in renewable wind power. The band is also growing organic food in the backyard garden.
Todd and E lead a sustainability workshop at FloydFest 2014.
SUSTAINABLE MUSIC. Most of the band’s instruments were hand-crafted in an eco-friendly manner. Two guitars and a mandolin were made from naturally-fallen trees and reclaimed woods with non-toxic finishes by Highland Strings. Also, a banjo was made with salvaged woods by Ian Davidson Instruments. The drum kit is made from sustainable bamboo. All 4 GTB CD's have been produced with renewable energy and packaged with 100% recycled materials with veggie ink printing and biodegradable shrink wrap.