Although we might not know if a tree falling in the forest makes a sound, a new partnership is revealing that a tree growing in the forest does. And to Aspiration and American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, it’s music to the ears.
Last week Aspiration, a financial services company, and American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra announced a new partnership to make the philharmonic the first major carbon-neutral orchestra by next year. For every Aspiration link Israel Phil supporters click on, the company will plant a tree, and for every account opened, Aspiration will donate an instrument to one of the Phil’s youth education programs.
“There’s no limit to the number of trees Aspiration is committed to planting throughout the partnership,” said Andrei Cherny, co-founder and CEO of Aspiration. “Our goal is to show people that their actions — even ones as small as a click — have the power to build a more sustainable world.”
As the Israel Philharmonic prepares to begin touring again in a post-COVID-19 world, American Friends expects that the clicks-for-trees initiative will offset the orchestra’s carbon emissions and send a message to the larger arts community about taking action for a better tomorrow.
“We’re inspired by our musicians’ and audiences’ responses to the pandemic,” said American Friends Executive Vice President and CEO Danielle Ames Spivak. “In the face of the unknown and the fearful, they celebrated the human spirit.That’s why we partnered with Aspiration — to affirm the beautiful resilience that people have the capacity to display.”
Aspiration recognizes that impactful cultural institutions like the Israel Philharmonic will play an integral role in spurring this communal climate action. As a leader in the “good economy” — empowering individuals and organizations to use Aspiration’s tools, which automatically invest in sustainable action — this campaign is right up Aspiration’s alley.
Impactful cultural institutions like the Israel Philharmonic will play an integral role in spurring communal climate action.
Both Spivak and Cherny feel strongly that the partnership — and the young people who will be stewarding this change for years to come — are essential. That’s why the initiative includes donations to the Israel Philharmonic’s KeyNote program, which supports classical music education and community-building, and Sulamot, the orchestra’s initiative to bring music to Israeli children from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. These programs serve more than 23,000 children and teens each year through lessons and events that encourage openness, tolerance and mutual respect.
One such student is Elisabeth Gebramedhn. Elisabeth fell in love with the piano at a young age but grew up in extreme poverty. Through the support of KeyNote’s programs, she had a piano to practice on and access to lessons. She has taken part in prestigious musical summer programs and performed solo in Tel Aviv’s Charles Bronfman Performing Arts Center. Now she’s a student at Jerusalem Academy of Music.
The arts sector has only just begun its conversation around climate change. Aspiration hopes that the partnership could position the Israel Philharmonic as a leader in transformative change across the arts community. When listeners have the chance to hear the Israel Philharmonic again in person, it will sound that much sweeter.
Benjamin Raziel is an Israeli journalist and novelist based in Tel Aviv.