Pink Floyd fight global warming in India
Written by Matt   
Friday, 12 April 2002

The following story has appeared on The Indian Express site:

Pink Floyd brings Echoes to Kolar’s arid fields
The group will donate proceeds from sales of 3 million CDs of their recent album to fight global warming - by Santosh Vijaykumar

Mumbai, April 11: A day before maverick rock musician Roger Waters orchestrates Bangalore’s tryst with the moody, mystical and magical, nearly 150 farmers and 38 acres of land in the Kolar district in Karnataka will feel the lasting reverberations of psychedelic rock music.

Kolar is one of the only four places in the world (the other three being in Scotland, Mexico and Louisiana) where Pink Floyd’s ambitions are going green. And ambition here means sponsoring the plantation of 7,600 trees including tamarind, mango and others.

In a rare endeavour last year, the band after being approached by Dom Morrell - founder of UK-based NGO Future Forests - took the opportunity to help alleviate global warming. This, said Future Forests, could be done by offsetting the carbon generated from production of CDs of their recent collection Echoes, either by renewable energy or reforestation. And Floyd agreed for the latter.

The equation works thus: 500 CDs add upto planting of one tree to reabsorb carbon emissions. Floyd has agreed to donate proceeds from sales of nearly 3 million CD’s of Echoes.

"We were incredibly lucky that Morrell used his links and insider contacts in the music industry to get this going," said Debi Clay, a spokesperson of Future Forests, from their London office.

Future Forests then contacted the Women for Sustainable Development (WSD), a Karnataka-based NGO, who are involved in carbon sequestration through both methods, to carry out the project. Having surveyed the locality and having successfully involving farmer families, WSD began the project in September last year in an arrangement that would also bring some revenue to the farmers.

They charged Future Forests $12 per ton of carbon, of which $2 would go to farmers for their labour and maintenance. Though the sum of Rs 9,600 that each of these farmers would eventually earn seems measly, they would stand to gain later by revenue that could be generated after these trees grow in due course, it is said. The trees are being planted in Varlakonda and surrounding villages in the Gudibanda taluka of Kolar District.

But as the kings of Concept Music and Operatic Rock drive towards being "Carbon Neutral", they have obediently kept with their vintage tag of being called "The Faceless Band" (due to their reluctance to talk to the press). For, none of the four prodigal members of Pink Floyd, who have parted ways, have ever visited the site. Something not very pleasing for Anandi Sharan of the WSD, who heads the project in India.

"It would be great encouragement if any of them came and saw the work that was happening. But none of them have visited the site even once," she said. On April 12, WSD will pay the farmers involved, their first installment amount of Rs 4,800 and also provide them with enough water to mind the trees through the summer. But even after the day is over, and Waters strums and hums at the Palace Grounds the next day, there is little chance that he would visit the site, say sources.

No wonder then, that Sharan is busy trying to get an appointment with the 62-year-old rocker. "Can you please give me his number in India? This is the closest we can get to taking him there," she sighs.