The Santa Barbara Bowl, one of the eco-friendliest music venues in the country, just got greener on Tuesday, July 21, when the musical environmentalist power couple Jack and Kim Johnson gifted the amphitheater with a custom water-refill station. The Johnsons donated the station as a reward for being declared a “Green Leader” winner of Jack Johnson’s All At Once Sustainability Award late last year, which recognizes environmentally friendly and green-thinking venues.
The Bowl is one of three in the nation to have received the water-refill station, along with fellow Green Leader Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland and Emerging Green award recipient Nikon at Jones Beach in New York.
“The Bowl is one of our favorite local gathering places, and we are so proud to be able to contribute,” Jack said. “It really is a special place, and we always feel inspired coming here.” He hopes this and other greening initiatives the Bowl employs will inspire younger generations who visit the venue to continue environmentally friendly practices.
The water-refill station builds upon the forward-thinking practices the Bowl has put in place as part of its carbon-neutral program, the Greening the Bowl Campaign. This has included removing non-native plants, adding a bike valet service, using solar power, and initiating waste-diversion recycling and composting programs.
“We are honored to receive the All At Once Sustainability Award,” said the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation’s executive director, Rick Boller, in a statement. He thanked Bowl patrons for their active participation in the greening programs, particularly #MyPintAndMe,
a collaboration with LoaTree introduced last year to help meet the demands of Johnson’s EnviroRider for his 2014 From Here to Now to You tour. The program helped cut down on single-use disposable plastics by selling customized metallic pint cups, with more than 10,000 plastic cups reduced since Jack Johnson’s last summer tour.
Jessica Scheeter, executive director of the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, called the Bowl “a leader in venue greening for leading best practices and piloting new initiatives.” She added, “The Bowl has led by example, and we hope that it sets the stage for others to follow.”
Kim, whom Jack credited for handling much of the tour greening, said the pair knew they wanted to award the Bowl and that the math supported their decision. She called the water-refill station “a living, working aspect of greening … to carry on the message” of sustainability.
Jack was freshly returned from a June expedition to the Bahamas with research group 5 Gyres SEA Change, with whom he studied plastic ocean pollutants and discussed solutions with scientists, ocean advocates, and artists. While there, he was named a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Environment Programme to serve as a spokesperson for environmental causes.
Meanwhile, Jack continues to work toward downsizing his environmental impact as a touring musician, with reducing the use of single-use plastic among his biggest priorities. He pointed to the huge variety of plastic-water-bottle brands as an outmoded means of water consumption. “We need to think of water in a more intelligent way,” he said.
With the water-refill station, the Johnsons and the Bowl are helping to push water usage — and concertgoing — in a smarter direction.