This Group is Using Hip-Hop’s Influence to Fight Against Climate Change (Audio)

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Hip-Hop’s birthplace – New York City – is preparing to host some important and high-profile events revolving around issues of climate change and environmental awareness. Both Climate Week and the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit are landing in the Big Apple this month and in preparation, one organization is taking a Hip-Hop inspired bus tour around the country to encourage residents in areas most affected by things like pollution to get involved in the fight against them.

A collection of activists, actors, and musicians have joined the fight and are collectively called the People’s Climate Music whose Act on Climate Tour is bringing prominent figures in the movement like Bill McKibben, Malik Yusef and Naomi Klein to “areas worst affected by high pollution and social inequality, driving the message that it’s urban communities and people of color who are most afflicted by climate change,” according to the Guardian in a recent article, which cites some staggering and worrying statistics. 68% of African-Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant and “nonwhite populations in the US suffer 30% more nitrogen dioxide pollution than white Americans,” according to the article.

Thus far, the tour has visited Chicago, Detroit, Ferguson, New Orleans, and more and plans to make stops in places like Baltimore and and Washington, D.C. Organized by the Hip-Hop Caucus, the tour is incorporating live performances as a means of generating interest; Malik Yusef is a Grammy-winning producer in addition to an acclaimed MC, spoken word artist, and political activist whose extensive work with artists like Kanye West and Common have earned him a considerable following. One of the organization’s official singles, “Trouble in the Water,” features Common and Yusef (in addition to several other incredible artists). Another single, “Mercy Mercy Me,” is a soulful rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me (the Ecology)” by Antonique Smith, which can be heard below.

Related: A 15-Year-Old Hip-Hop Artist Is Using His Talents to Save the Planet at the U.N. & On Stage (Video)