Greening the block with Drake

Authors: Julian Mocine-McQueen and Sean Muldoon, Green The Block Crossposted from Global Grind. For the next month, we’re on the road with Drake on the Campus Consciousness Tour across 17 campuses and 16 states. Why? Because Drake is “going green,” and is partnering with Green The Block to raise consciousness about what that means. For Drake, “going green” means lessening his tour’s negative impact on the planet, and increasing its positive impact through the message he shares with his fans. With the help of Reverb, Drake is rollin’ in tricked out bio-diesel buses, working with the concert venues to recycle, and helping to offset the dirty energy he’s burning by investing in projects that are good for the planet (called carbon offsetting). As the non-profit partner on the tour, Green The Block (a campaign of Green For All and the Hip Hop Caucus) is responsible for making sure that Drake’s fans are learning about how they can go green too, and help create opportunity, jobs, and health for their communities. At every concert stop, we’re getting hundreds of fans to take the “I Will Green My Block” pledge. These are simple actions to not only curb pollution in your hood but help you save money. On the tour, Green The Block is also teaming up with campus leaders and community organizations that are building the green economy locally. Boston, Massachusetts, our second stop, offers a perfect example of what “going green” can mean for a community. While in town, we teamed up with the Commonwealth Challenge and Northeastern University in Boston to help fight local pollution and poverty. How does it work? The State of Massachusetts has a program that allows residents to get free home energy audits and free energy-saving renovations. The audits assess where a home could save energy, and the renovations make the improvements and you save money on your electricity bills. The Commonwealth Challenge is signing up home owners and renters for this program, and they are helping to create construction jobs for communities that need work. We kicked off the day with a Green Jobs Rally, featuring a performance by New Bedford-based MC and organizer Tem Blessed. Tem knows his hip hop and his green. As a Green For All Academy fellow and leader of New Bedford’s Youth Build, Tem has been mentoring and preparing young people to be energy auditors, and leaders in the green economy for years. After the rally, it was time to get down to business. We partnered with Youth Build members Davel and Nelson to walk the block in Dorchester. This Boston neighborhood is a mix of old Victorians and new houses. But whatever their home looked like, the response of the residents was immediately positive. As lifelong Dorchester resident Jackie Andrews told us, “It’s a free program, but they don’t let anyone know about it! I’m going to tell all my neighbors, we can all stand to save dollars.” By the end of the day, we signed up 50 people to make real improvements to their homes, and real changes to their community! This is what Green The Block is about: partnering with the people and programs that are changing lives by creating jobs and opportunity on a local level. And by partnering with Drake and the Campus Consciousness Tour, we can reach out to even more people who are ready to get engaged with changing their communities. Drake is changing the music game with his sound and energy, and changing campuses and communities with his decision to go green and bring Green The Block with him. Our journey is just beginning. And its already clear that student and community members alike are ready for Green The Block and the Campus Consciousness Tour, and ready to take their place at the front of this movement.

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