My favorite aspect of this blog is finding individuals that weave environmental consciousness into their coexisting interests in creative and dynamic ways. One example is Yolanda Kondonassis, who has melded her love of the harp with her passion for environmental stewardship. I discovered Yolanda through our local classical music station, WCLV. She was speaking about her respect for the natural world and its inspirational role behind several of her albums. For example, her compilation “Air” is a musical representation devoted to the element with a portion of the proceeds going to the Environmental Defense Fund. I was thrilled to hear of her commitment and efforts to publicize and encourage a sense of ecological awareness.
Yolanda is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM- yay Cleveland!) and is the head teacher of harp at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the CIM. When asked how she became interested in conservation amidst her busy career, Yolanda says, “I think when you become a parent, you start to think in new ways about the future and what kind of world we’re leaving for the next generation.” She believes (and I strongly agree) that music may help motivate people to be more responsible, because “the power of art and humanity can often inspire action in ways that mere facts cannot”. She also says that in dealing with existing environmental issues-
These are not problems we can sit back and contemplate while we wait for everyone to agree on causes and terminology. We must act now to create change in the ways we use and abuse the earth. Whether we are able to create policy, find solutions, inspire others, or just recycle in our own homes, we must all do whatever we can to participate in saving the earth from the dire consequences of doing nothing…The signs are so clear. We must get our act together before it’s too late. Help be part of the solution.
One of Yolanda’s solutions along with her music was publishing a children’s book called “Our House is Round: A Kid’s Book on Why Protecting the Earth Matters,” which is a visual, instructional guide for kids on how to be earth stewards and why it matters. In addition, she offers her own list of 12 things she thinks we can all do to ensure a better future for the planet and ourselves:
- Learn about the environmental challenges we face.
- Make sure your tires have enough air in them.
- Replace your standard light bulbs with energy-saving bulbs.
- Avoid buying products in lots of packaging.
- Take a slightly shorter shower – heating water uses a lot of energy!
- Adjust your thermostat – down 2 degrees in the winter and up 2 degrees in the summer.
- Turn off all your lights and equipment when not in use.
- Take your own reusable bags to the grocery store.
- Switch to reusable water and drink bottles.
- Plant a tree (or several!).
- Talk to your family and friends and encourage them to be part of the solution.
In summary, I think the best way to showcase her talent for inspiring action through art is to provide a link to her music. Here you go and thanks again for reading!