November Tidbits

Photograph by Stephen Martin


Aldo Leopold is credited with inspiring America’s conservation movement. But did the environmentalist-philosopher ever predict he’d help influence a new wave of music making?

Thanks to the Chicago-based quartet The Giving Tree Band, he has. Made up of Todd Fink, Bob Salihar, Pat Burke and Eric Fink, the acoustic outfit promotes sustainability and peace through their music, which takes influences from folk, country, Americana and bluegrass.

While the band’s always been environmentally conscious, with their second album—which they’re releasing November 27—they wanted to get even greener. That’s why they sought the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in Baraboo, the first certified carbon-neutral building by the U.S. Building Council, as the site for their recording.

For four weeks this summer, the band camped out and biked ten miles to the center to record music using solar power. Afterward, CDs were manufactured using wind power, packaged with recycled materials, printed with nontoxic soy ink and shrink-wrapped in biodegradable corn cellulose.

While such measures would be radical for many a band, the guys of Giving Tree consider them natural. “We wanted to make music with a purpose,” Todd Fink says. “We wanted to do everything we could to be in harmony with the environment.” - Katie Vaughn

Energizing the Community

“ Many students don’t yet understand the scale and complexity of the technical, economic, political and social issues that must accompany any serious discussion about energy. Our group serves as a crossroads for the widely varied interests in the energy community. Our members are scientists, engineers, environmentalists and policy students, among others, who recognize that we’ll have to work together to solve what may be the biggest problem humanity has ever faced.”

Nathan Pinney, a UW–Madison graduate student in materials science and president of Energy Hub, or eHub, an organization formed to ignite conversation and action on energy issues. The group is hosting a conference, Energizing the Midwest: Technology, Policy and You, November 7 at the Fluno Center.

The Change-Makers

Who: Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Inc. was formed in 1985 to create the social change necessary to end sexual violence in Wisconsin through advocacy, education and policy change.

Props: WCASA went before the UW Board of Regents Education Committee to discuss the services they’d implemented for victims of sexual assault through their Prevention grant. As a result, the entire UW System is now working to put similar protocols in place on all of its campuses. “It’s a landmark for any state across the country,” says executive director Linda Morrison.

Now: WCASA is collaborating with the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence—which marks its thirtieth anniversary with a conference November 12–15 at Monona Terrace—to gather signatures from a quarter of the state’s population (roughly 1.4 million people) stating a commitment to end violence in Wisconsin. These signatures will be presented to the Wisconsin Violence Against Women Act Advisory Committee in January 2009.

Pitch in: WCASA needs writing interns to assist with research and updating print materials, as well as volunteers to make calls and pick up donations before their annual auction fundraiser held each May. 600 Williamson St., Ste. N-2. 257-1516. - Jason Albert

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