“We gotta learn to make a difference right here, right now,” he said.
He encouraged students to go out with their parents or an adult to pick up trash in the community, and told them they are the ones responsible for creating a healthy Earth for future generations.
“Everything starts here in your own house and your own community,” he said.
If people are capable of creating such things as computer chips,he said, then they can do simple things like turning off the water while brushing their teeth, or putting cigarette butts in the proper disposal containers.
“We ain’t gonna be living on another planet in our lifetime,” he said. “We’ve got to take care of this one.”
Smith said he wrote a song in the mid-1980s about an astronaut admiring how beautiful and peaceful the Earth was from space.
He said he “realized at that moment, the power of music could be used ... to move hearts, move minds.”
He then began fundraising for what is now the Earthman Project, a non-profit that uses music, the arts and technology to inspire people to protect the environment. He performs in schools and venues nationwide.
Taking care of the environment, Smith said, is not a liberal or conservative “thing,” but “a human thing,” and he called it one of the most patriotic acts people can do for America.
Smith contacted Gary Epperson, director of the Winchester/Clark County Emergency Management Office, after seeing some of Epperson’s environmental videos online. The two arranged for Smith to come from Florida to Kentucky to bring his message.
Epperson said he hopes to have Smith visit all of the Clark County schools by March. Smith’s visits are being funded with litter abatement funds from theU.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Epperson said.
One student who sat near the front during Earthman’s performance was kindergartener Braden Sons, 6. Sons said his favorite part of the performance was hearing Earthman sing. He said at his house his family recycles.
“My mom never litters,” he said.
Epperson said he strongly believes in Smith’s message, and he hoped through enough education, litter could be stopped in Clark County.
“The only way we can defeat litter is to educate and activate,” Epperson said.
Smith will visit Hannah McClure Elementary next week, and he will also visit Madison and Harrison counties, Epperson said.
For more information on the Earthman Project, visit www.earthman.tv/2004/index.html.
Contact Katie Perkowski at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter, @TheSunKatie.