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The Chronicle

AY Young sings to sustain

Ay Young and his fans. Courtesy by AY Young, @aymusik on Instagram.

Climate change can be fought in many ways, from political activism to grassroots community projects, anything that helps in the more significant fight for the planet. However, there are other means of climate activism. The College of Lake County is hosting AY Young, a climate activist and hip-hop artist, on April 4th at the James Lumber Center.
He is the founder and CEO of Battery Tour, a traveling concert raising money for renewable energy sources. According to Aymusic, “through donations to purchase portable, solar-powered boxes for villages that do not have reliable access to electricity.”
One of his significant accomplishments was his participation in the 2021-23 United Nations Climate Conference, the most recent held in Dubai, Saudia Arabia. Various companies back him in this endeavor of climate activism, Samsung and General Motors being major examples of this.
AY Young has also been named one of the UN Youth Leaders of Sustainable Development Goals, in addition to being an Eagle Scout. He also collaborates with the United Nations(UN) on Project 17, a music album with“1 song for each of the 17 United Nations Sustainable development goals. The 17 Global Goals, such as clean water, clean energy production, and life-saving health care.”
Michell Titterton, the Sustainability Manager here at CLC, stated “our goal was to kick off Earth Month with a celebration, with music and community.” Further adding, “Sometimes, art can reach people better than numbers and statistics, and we felt that AY was the ideal artist for this event.”
She then explained why she chose him as the performer to kickstart Earth Month, stating, “I noticed that he mirrored many of the same values of CLC, not just regarding sustainability but also regarding education, diversity, and inclusion.”
One of the main reasons she cited for AY Young’s choosing to perform at CLC was its constant goal of sustainable energy. Sighting the College’s “long-standing commitment to sustainability.” CLC’s Projects and commitments include the “use of clean energy such as solar and geothermal power, LEED-certified buildings which adhere to the highest green standards, and our curriculum.”

Courtesy by Creative Commons.

Alisa Baum, executive director of the James Lumber Center, spoke on how music and art can engage people in social issues, “Music and the arts have a long history of inspiring people to think about things differently. Whether it’s a play about social issues or a song questioning authority, the role of the artist is often to challenge people, ideas, and authority.”
Director Baum brought up historical examples such as protest music, which “inspired workers to stand up for their rights in the 40s and 50s.” She also talked about modern examples of music’s ability to challenge social and world issues. “Nowadays, music is often used to bridge the divide
between people and send a message of love for each other and our planet, such as Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s Planet B, and of course, the music of AY Young!”
When asked how the James Lumber can help enhance his message further Director Baum stated, “The James Lumber Center (JLC) is happy to be co-hosting the AY Young event to bring awareness about environmental issues. A lot of what you see on our stages sends a message, including many of the topical plays students in the Theatre Department present.”
This event is one of many to raise awareness of climate change and other key issues. Titterton mentioned other events during Earth Month, such as Meatless Mondays at Cafe Willow, hikes, a fashion show, a zine design lab, ecological community service, and much more. The events themselves will be posted on student street and social media.
Director Baum brought attention to upcoming events hosted at the James Lumber Center in the future, “we also have some cool things planned for next year, including some international artists who are part of social movements in their own countries. Keep an eye out for that!”
Overall, music has a profound power in changing the world. It helps influence social movements and change policy and can do the opposite. Although AY Young is not the first or the last to use music to push social change, it is interesting to see.
From the support he gathered from companies and governments worldwide to his constant striving to help the earth stay healthy. CLC is lucky enough to have him start the celebration of Earth Month on April 4th.

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About the Contributor
Kaden Roszkowiak
Kaden Roszkowiak, Staff Writer