In November 2011, IYCN J&K invited Solar Punch on an exclusive tour to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. There were 5 musical performances using equipment powered only by the sun. But these performances were also meant to educate the public about renewable energy so the performances were supplemented with presentations on solar energy through demonstrations of the various eco-products the band had brought with them.
In Kashmir events were organized by the IYCN J&K team at Amar Singh College, Srinagar,Gulmarg, STC Humhama while performances in Jammu were organized at the University of Jammu in association with Department of Environmental Sciences and the Students Welfare group. This was also a unique opportunity for a cultural exchange between the Americans and the people of the state. The folk performers of the group Natrang (from the mountains of Jammu) sang their version of climate change songs known as Bhaakh for the band.
The members of Solar Punch interacted with students, academics, local people and media. The band was even able to perform for Border Security Force soldiers of STC, Humhama! But the interaction with local rock bands and cultural groups were particularly well received as they were able to inspire local groups with their message of melding art with sustainability. Students were particularly inspired by the performances by Solar Punch, which provided a unique opportunity to interact with Americans over a topic not often addressed in the state. The students of Amar Singh College and locals in Gulmarg were ecstatic when the song “Kashmir” of Led Zeplin was sung by band member, Joe Mitch.
Yes the sun had indeed risen in a new way over the state of J&K with the arrival of eco-rock band, Solar Punch. This is the 4th time the band has been in the country since their debut with the Climate Solutions Road Tour in 2009. Their message remains consistent: the solutions are real, and they exist today and India has the power to show the world that it is capable of leading the charge on the search for climate solutions.
Their arrival in the a state with as fragile an ecology as J&K could not be more timely. While the state has been in the media for decades for issues of injustice and geopolitical deadlock, we have failed to realize that the looming climate crisis will bind the region more closely together as people struggle to meet their needs due to the impacts of a changing climate. While there are many problems that may be affecting the state, there are also signs of hope, and visions of a sustainable future that can create a society that is happy, healthy, and safe.