On the occasion of his music tour in France, we met the musician-songwriter Peter Harper. We asked him some questions about his involvement with Surfrider and about his way of leading an ecological way of life. Since a few years yet the three Harper brothers (Ben, Joel and Peter) support and promote Surfrider actions.
Peter Harper Interview
1. How did you meet Surfrider?
I surfed for about three years before getting involved with Surfrider US officially. I was making sculptures full time when Chris Malloy (surfer filmmaker) asked me if I would be willing to turn a surfboard into a piece of art to raise money to protect the ocean. So, with the likes of Gus Van Sant (film director) and Raymond Pettibon (artist), I carved and scraped the 6’2″ fish I had been given and helped Surfrider US to raise $320,000 In a single evening.From that point forward, I have been a huge fan and supporter of the Surfrider foundation.
Without the work from people at Surfrider our oceans would have been lost long ago.
2. Where does the “Harper family” support toward the protection of the environment come from?
We grew up in a family that understood that everything in life you have obtained has come through the help and support of others.
We were also raised to understand that none of what we have would be worth a damn if there was no world to have it in. That said, protecting the environment to the best of your ability is a must.
3. How do you promote those values in your everyday life?
I try to minimize my footprint. I drive an environmentally-friendly car, I eat locally sourced foods as often as possible, I talk to people about the importance of trying to do all they can for the work in which they live, and I also understand that society has not made it easy to do so. At most venues I am provided with single use plastic bottles and a trash can, not a recycle bin. I try to use the canteen my brother ben gave me to store my water in.
The key is to be cognizant of your actions and do the best you can to be the best you can.
4. Also, are you expressing those values through the lyrics of your songs?
My brother Joel collaborated with Burning Spear and wrote a powerful song called the “Time is Now” and my brother Ben wrote “With My Own Two Hands”, but I have yet to find the right set of words to put into song. I will though, but these things can’t be forced.
5. According to you, what kind of influence on the citizen can have some initiatives, as the book written by your brother Joel, or the public support to Surfrider from you and your brothers?
My brothers Joel’s book, All the Way to the Ocean, was rejected by many of the major publishing companies. He knew it was a message that needed to get out into the world and so he did not let that deter him. He went to every store he could find and sold copies and now, 10 years later he has sold over 50,000 copies and it is now an animated short film. The lesson to be learned here is, just because other do not believe, doesn’t mean you give up. You fight for what you know is right and you don’t stop fighting until people recognize the power and importance of your message.
Léa Daulan, Environment Redactor.