In Shanghaiist’s Philanthropist feature, we highlight individuals and groups doing interesting things to make the world a little bit of a better place. This week we talk to one of the organizers of the third annual Rock for Roots & Shoots concert.
Where: Yuyintang, 1731 Yanan Xi Lu, near
Kaixuan Lu. 延安西路1731号(凯旋路) 中山公园小白楼
When: Saturday, November 21, 6PM to late
Cover: Donation of two trees, 50 RMB
Boys Climbing Ropes, Resist Resist, Varde, Booji, Duck Fight Goose, Triple Smash
Do-gooders can go wild sometimes too… as long as it’s for a good cause, of course. Rock for Roots & Shoots is an annual Indie rock concert held by Shanghai’s branch of the non-profit Roots & Shoots, and it’s coming up this year on November 21st. We chatted with one of the upcoming concert’s organizers, bubbly high school student Jessica Tsu.
Roots & Shoots is a global network of organizations lead by the Jane Goodall Institute that teaches youths about environmental and humanitarian issues. The Shanghai branch has several projects going on, including a widely successful educational organic gardening program… and of course Rock for Roots & Shoots.
Rock for Roots & Shoots is now in its third year, with each year devoting its proceeds to an environmental project within China. Revenue this year will go towards the Million Tree Project, whose goal to plant one million trees in Ku Lun Qi, Inner Mongolia, by 2014. The trees will help offset the social and environmental damages of desertification in the region, caused by excessive-farming and overgrazing. One tree costs 25RMB to plant, and tickets to the concert cost 50RMB (simple math: one ticket = two trees). Each tree is calculated to clear the air of 250 kg of carbon dioxide over a 45-year period.
Jessica, a 16-year-old junior at SMIC Private School is at the helm of this year’s Rock for Roots & Shoots, inspired by her involvement with the last concert and a planting trip she took with the Million Tree Project, where she saw for the first time the conditions in Inner Mongolia. She won’t take all the credit though: Jordan Small, the leader singer of Boys Climbing Ropes, helped getting all the bands together and organizing the venue.
So why a concert? Jessica had so much fun at the last Rock for Roots & Shoots that she didn’t want to see the tradition fall through. The concert brings together two things that China has just started to really develop in the last two decades: a non-profit sector and a local rock scene. Shanghai’s branch of Roots & Shoots was only granted a non-profit organization status by the Shanghai city government in 2004, despite being founded in 1999. A concert that brings together a bunch of Indie bands AND boasts a good cause is definitely something to kick and scream about.
Roots & Shoots chose to launch the Million Tree Project in Inner Mongolia because revitalizing the soil in that region will help out farmers with few other options to earn a living.
As for what you can do in Shanghai, besides joining in on a night of music: Recycling is great, Jessica explains, but a better way to help is reducing and reusing stuff, which people in Shanghai don’t really do. Since it’s a bit impractical to plant a million trees on concrete, Roots & Shoots is focusing on educating and spreading awareness to the youth population so they understand the importance of curbing lifestyles that put the environment at risk.
The Million Tree Project has also set up this neat Carbon Calculator at the Million Tree Project website to let you know how many trees you can buy to offset unavoidable travel options that may not be environmentally friendly.
So we asked Jessica what her plans for the future are. Saving the world one tree at a time? She gave us an unlikely answer: hotel management. The URBN Hotel in Shanghai serves as a source of inspiration, she said: a successful business model that is also China’s first carbon neutral hotel, right here in Shanghai.
As a final word, Jessica wanted to remind everyone that the last concert was super packed, and Yuyintang – as everyone who’s been to a show there knows – can fill up real fast. So come early and feel good about donating to a worthwhile cause. Jesscia will be manning the ticket/merchandise booth.