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Planet Rock

The giants of the Sixties and Seventies were also a little "green."

These days, there seems to be nothing trendier in rock than a green tour. Even if you're not being environmentally friendly on the road, you're at least joining the fight to build awareness of global warming. To celebrate Earth Day this April 22, we thought we'd take a look back at an earlier era in the genre, though, to what we now know as classic rock. It turns out that some of these legends did, in fact, do their part toward saving the planet, without even knowing it. How so? In these following areas:

1. Promiscuity. An indelible part of the rock lifestyle is sex. But latex condoms are notoriously nonrecyclable. Classic rockers inadvertently opted to reduce excessive condom use by participating in the now-much-mythologized rock orgy. Why use a condom on just one woman, when you can use them on three or four at a time? Mother Earth has remained effusively grateful, even if some of the other participants have, to say the least, not.

2. Drug abuse. Hand-in-hand with rock and roll and sex come, of course, drugs. But 40 years ago, the "hard stuff" did not mean heroin and crystal meth. Classic rockers instead favored mind-expanding natural drugs such as mushrooms and, especially, marijuana — which is derived from hemp, once one of the U.S.'s biggest crops. One could argue that these classic rockers did more to harm the national perception of hemp with their "dirty hippie" lifestyle. But classic rockers' vigilant support of marijuana can inadvertently be seen as support of hemp. Did you know one acre of hemp in annual rotation will produce more pulp than four acres of trees over a 20-year period? That's just the tip of the iceberg. If we all supported hemp like classic rockers did, perhaps eventually pushing marijuana into legality, hemp could solve a large chunk of our conservation issues.

3. The tour bus. Classic rockers basically made the tour bus as mythologically cool as catching a ride on Pegasus. This makes them Earth's first highly publicized carpoolers. By hopping into one vehicle instead of a dozen, classic rockers reduced noxious emissions and decreased, in their own small way, our dependency on finite natural resources.

4. Fashion. These days, the quickest way to say I'm a serious musical artist to your friends and family is to hit your local thrift store. You'll probably buy a whole bunch of 30- to 40-year-old threads that are both too small for you and smell dodgy. See? The constantly cycling popularity of the styles of the late Sixties and Seventies has caused endless recycling.

 
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