Site will also stream highlights from Green Apple Festival to celebrate the day.
MySpace has built a reputation as one of the places where people go to discover new music. But in celebration of Earth Day on Tuesday (April 22), for at least 24 hours, founder Tom Anderson wanted it to also be the place where people go to get tips on how to take care of the planet. That's why MySpace launched the Planet Channel, where it asked for user submissions on how to cut down on waste and sustain the environment.
"We watched them flow in and then built the book around the submissions from users," Anderson said of the just-released "MySpace/Our Planet: Change Is Possible," which compiles hundreds of environment-saving suggestions. "We could've written a book about celebrities or music, but there's such a great opportunity for us to do some good in the world, and we don't do enough of it, and that was kind of the idea here. It's an easy project for us, it's an important project, and I think more than anything we just want to give back to the community."
Anderson admitted that some of the suggestions might be a bit rough for some people — such as not showering every day — but others got him thinking about his own habits. For instance, he's trying to cut down on drinking bottled water. In keeping with the MySpace user-generated ethos, Anderson said there are hundreds of contributors to the project, and he's hoping those people will be active in promoting the book themselves.
But like celebrities who fly on gas-guzzling jets to environmental benefit concerts, a printed book about saving the planet raises questions as to how environmentally sound the project is. "Obviously some people would say, 'Why are you printing this thing?' " Anderson said of the book, which has chapters on topics ranging from "Health & Body" to "Your Free Time," "On the Road" and "Eco-Activism." " 'That's the first mistake right there: Why not use the online medium, which is better?' ... We did 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper on this, it's vegetable-oil-based printing ink. ... So this is a very environmentally conscious book in terms of the way it was produced. I think it's important to have something like this because even though online is useful, and reading things online is easy, it's having something in your hands that's more tangible, that you can pass around and share with people. It gets the conversation going."
In addition to the book, MySpace is streaming highlights from the Green Apple Festival, which took place in eight U.S. cities April 18-20 and featured sets from the Roots, Ziggy Marley, O.A.R., Umphrey's McGee, Arrested Development and Los Lonely Boys.
"Hopefully we can make an impact in a real way — measurable change in the climate and the environment and in people's lives. And I think it's possible with something like this that can reach that many people," Anderson said, referring to the site's 200 million accounts. "And when people start talking about this in an environment like MySpace — which is very social — it's likely to cause real dialogue and enact change in people's lives."
The "Our Planet" page also has useful links to other sites with information on global warming and sources for low-impact and recycled products.