College Tour Means the World to Sheryl Crow

Environmental activist Laurie David, left, and Sheryl Crow are touring college campuses, disseminating information on how students can help fight global warming.
Environmental activist Laurie David, left, and Sheryl Crow are touring college campuses, disseminating information on how students can help fight global warming. (By Matt Sayles -- Associated Press)
By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 20, 2007

Sheryl Crow's gonna soak up the sun while it's still free.

The cost of global warming is another matter, and that's what brings Crow and environmental activist Laurie David to two local universities this weekend, capping an 11-date "Stop Global Warming College Tour" aimed at inspiring students to become part of the movement.

Saturday's concert at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House will be a 90-minute affair featuring a short performance by Crow and remarks by David, founder of and co-producer of the Oscar-winning climate-change documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." There will also be clips from that film and from "Earth to America," a David-produced comedy special, as well as a dialogue with students.

Sunday's concert at George Washington University's Smith Center, doubling as an Earth Day celebration, will have additional guests, including Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Carole King, Bobby Kennedy Jr. and David's husband, producer-comedian Larry David. (As of press time, tickets for both concerts were still available for students, faculty and staff.)

"I feel this is the most important Earth Day that will take place in our lives," Crow said last week from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "This is a real turning point."

The nine-time Grammy Award-winning artist met Laurie David in November at a birthday party David threw for a mutual friend. Hitting it off, the two followed up with a lunch, at which they hatched the idea of the college tour.

Crow says she had seen "An Inconvenient Truth" and read David's best-selling book, "Stop Global Warming: The Solution Is You!" "In 1990, I toured with Don Henley, who is a very, very committed environmentalist, so I was already very invested in the environmental movement," Crow says. "Laurie and I met over sushi, and both of us were asking the same question: What can we do together to get the message out?

"My answer to everything, of course, is to get a tour bus and take it out to the people, and that's what we did -- a bio-diesel tour bus, of course!"

The tour kicked off April 9 at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Texas was chosen as the starting point because it leads all states in fossil fuel emissions, largely because of heavy industry and an affinity for big pickups. David, who quit a successful career as a television executive, talent manager and producer of comedy specials to become a full-time environmental activist, identifies global warming as a man-made phenomenon caused by carbon dioxide from vehicles, factories and power plants, producing gases that are trapped in Earth's atmosphere and act like a blanket to hold in excess heat. Potential results include drought, rising sea levels, destructive storms and assorted health risks.

So it makes sense for Crow to perform such songs as "A Change Would Do You Good" (climate change excepted), "Everyday Is a Winding Road" and "Soak Up the Sun" acoustically with her longtime guitarist, Tim Smith. They also do a cover of the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out," which could serve as an anthem for the environmental movement.

So far, Crow says, "the reception's been amazing. We feel a little bit guilty over how much fun we've been having on a tour that's supposed to be disseminating information, which it is. Our sole objective is not to be preaching to the converted but hopefully be bringing some people over to the side of protecting the environment and also giving kids some idea of how they can be a part of that movement.

"As we've been telling them, it's not about doing everything, it's about doing something. And there's never been a social movement in this country that has not really, I believe, not only involved college campuses but, in most cases, stemmed from college campuses."

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