#TBT: All-Star Charity Single ‘Spirit Of The Forest’ With Olivia Newton-John, Debbie Harry, Donna Summer & More

Cover image for 1989's 'Spirit of the Forest'

Throwing it back to 1989…

From my buddy Kenneth-in-the-212:

Honest to god, if you had bet me everything I own — plus my husband and cat — that Debbie Harry, Olivia Newton-John, Belinda Carlisle, Kim Wilde, Kate Pierson, Holly Beth Vincent and a host of other (212) favorites had done a charity single in the late ’80s I would be living on the street with a broken heart right now, because that’s exactly what happened.

While digging through Getty Images to try to figure out the date and photographer of a photo of Deb I posted yesterday I stumbled upon a folder labeled “Rainforest Alliance Recording Session” — huh? — which led me to the video of “Spirit of the Forest” by Spirit of the Forest, a single benefiting the Earth Love Fund, “to make people aware of the need for conservation of the rainforest.”

Also taking part were Joni Mitchell, Brian Wilson, Donna Summer, Kate Bush, Thomas Dolby, The Ramones, Iggy Pop, Taylor Dayne, Big Country, L.L. Cool J, Lisa Bonet, Lenny Kravitz, Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Marc Jordan, Mick Fleetwood, Billy Burnett, Rita Coolidge, Michael Des Barres, Bonnie Raitt, Amy Sky, David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Ringo Starr, representatives of 10 Native American tribes and many, many more.

The record was launched on June 5, 1989 by Richard Branson and Earth Love Fund (ELF) Rainforest Appeal in conjunction with the U.N.E.P. at the United Nations. The single was double “A”-sided with star artists performing on both sides. All proceeds from the project were donated to the programs dedicated to saving the Rainforests of the world.

I have to admit I’ve never heard of the project, but I was traipsing around the country in a national touring company of A Chorus Line at the time, so I wasn’t quite up-to-date on all the music being released.

Kenneth surmises “benefit fatigue” might have had something to do with the song fading amid so many other high profile charity music events like Band Aid, USA for Africa, Farm Aid and so many more in that period of time.

He also thinks – as do I – the song itself is something of a dud. It was apparently written by Kenny Young of “Under the Boardwalk.” At the time, we had major earworms like “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” “We Are the World” and “Sun City” scoring big on the Billboard 100.

Sadly, the message is still on point today.

p.s. Why was Olivia Newton-John relegated to the side of wide shots and not given a solo??? Longtime ONJ fans will recognize Livvy’s future collaborators Amy Sky and her husband Marc Jordan in the mix.

Amazon Rainforest Deforestation Accelerates Under Brazil’s New President

(image via rosinakaiser/pixabay)

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is making good on campaign promises to allow increased deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest, according to the New York Times.

While campaigning for president last year, Mr. Bolsonaro declared that Brazil’s vast protected lands were an obstacle to economic growth and promised to open them up to commercial exploitation.

Seven months into his term, that is already happening.

Brazil’s part of the Amazon has lost more than 1,330 square miles of forest cover since Mr. Bolsonaro took office in January, a 39 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the government agency that tracks deforestation.

In June alone, when the cooler, drier season began and cutting trees became easier, the deforestation rate rose drastically, with roughly 80 percent more forest cover lost than in June of last year.

The deforestation of the Amazon is spiking as Mr. Bolsonaro’s government pulls back on enforcement measures like fines, warnings and the seizure or destruction of illegal equipment in protected areas.

The Amazon Rainforest makes up so much of South America that, if it were its own country by mass, it would rank 7th in the world.

The Amazon Rainforest has been called the lungs of the planet helping to create a huge portion of the oxygen needed to sustain the world population. So, imagine losing that much oxygen-producing plantlife.

Plus, when deforestation happens in the Rainforest, it’s not just cutting down tree. The process often uses techniques like torching vast areas of vegetation, which also destroys valuable nutrients and shortens the lifespan of the land.

(h/t JoeMyGod)

Brazil: São Paulo Close To Running Out Of Water

Folks here in the US can deny climate change all they want, but down in São Paulo, Brazil, it’s about to get real as the city of 20 million faces it’s worst drought in 80 years.

One of the causes of the crisis may be more than 2,000 kilometers away, in the growing deforested areas in the Amazon region.

“Humidity that comes from the Amazon in the form of vapor clouds – what we call ‘flying rivers’ – has dropped dramatically, contributing to this devastating situation we are living today,” said Antonio Nobre, a leading climate scientist at INPE, Brazil’s National Space Research Institute.

The changes, he said, are “all because of deforestation”.

Nobre and a group of fellow scientists and meteorologists believe the lack of rain that has dried up key reservoirs in São Paulo and neighboring states in southeastern Brazil is not just the result of an aberration in weather patterns.

Instead, global warming and the deforestation of the Amazon are altering the climate in the region by drastically reducing the release of billions of liters of water by rainforest trees, they say.

Sabesp, the state-owned water utility that serves the city, issued warnings last week that São Paulo only has about two weeks of drinking water supplies left.

And we’re not just talking about water for drinking, cooking and bathing. Crops in southeastern Brazil, like sugar and coffee, look to be highly impacted by the drought.