Kate Leopold and her band Leopold’s Treat are names that often pop up at environmental events on the Gold Coast. Next Wednesday 25 February, she’s the guest artist at a special climate change event being held by Gecko – Gold Coast & Hinterland Environment Council.
Our editor, Samantha Morris caught up with Kate and her band mate Keiran Richardt to ask about their passion for the Earth.
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As with most musicians, Kate Leopold has a ‘real’ job and while she’s the front woman of her band, it’s one of her band mates that calls the shots at work.
“I teach nature-based education as part of the team at Natura,” Kate said. “Kieran is my boss. The environmental education branch is a fundamental part of the business and includes Gold Coast Waterwatch and a whole range of programs to raise awareness about the environment to school kids.”
Kate studied a Bachelor of Environmental Scince but says it was through regular bushwalks with her dad that a love of the natural world developed.
“We would spend time off the track looking for snakes under rocks and other things we might find. When i was growing up we regularly had snakes, lizards and other wildlife in the house. He has always had a mad passion for wildlife and the outdoors that was a little contagious.”
Kate says that from those experiences it feels quite natural to support events that raise awareness about environmental issues.
“It is really cool to be able to do that through music,” she said.
I asked Kate what she thought the key issues around climate change are for the Gold Coast. She believes renewable energy from sustainable sources is important.
“Here in Australia, we have the space to be a leader in solar energy for example, but the big investors still prioritise making big money out of limited fossil fuel resources like gas and coal, the extraction and use of which is arguably contributing to the global change in climate.”
Kate’s band mate Kieran Richardt says that our generation takes a lot for granted. “For such a long time we’ve been taking the good stuff from the Earth and putting back the bad,” he said.
“We live in a finite space and need to significantly limit the amount of resources we use and waste we generate,” Kieran said. But in terms of climate change and the Gold Coast specifically he believes the biggest issue will be preparedness.
“Many Gold Coasters still seem to be in denial or really don’t give climate change much thought,” he said. “The fact that the Gold Coast is built on a swamp and the hind dunes of the coastal strip is not ideal, given statistics from scientists. I am concerned that not enough action is being taken and this really just comes down to too many people sticking their heads in the sand.”
“The world came together to ban CFCs and other chemicals to mitigate damage to our ozone layer. I don’t see why we can’t do something similar to mitigate and better adapt to climate change.”
Leopold’s Treat are one of many Gold Coast acts who are passionate about the environment and speaking up about its protection.
Kieran believes music is a great medium for communication. “If we were to try and stop random people on the street or at a market to discuss issues such as deforestation, waste and global warming, we would only be preaching to the converted and everyone else would walk on by,” he said.
“If we sang a song about some of these issues, people would be more inclined to listen. Notes from an instrument drive an emotional connection in everyone. Also, scientists are notoriously poor at communicating scientific findings to everyday people – it is so much easier for us to do that through music!”
Kate says their song Mother Nature speaks deeply of a need to be accountable for our actions when it comes to climate change and that a lot of musicians try to communicate about the environment through their lyrics.
“If it’s something you care about it is going to come through,” she said. “Through connecting with nature and doing what I can in my own life to live sustainably and ‘tread lightly’ gives depth and power to the message behind the music.”
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25 February 2015, Climate Reality and the Gold Coast
Leopold’s Treat | Soundlounge, Currumbin
A panel of industry and community experts will look at how climate change will impact food, infrastructure, investment, tourism, health and biodiversity from 6.30pm. Doors 6.00pm. Members from Leopold’s Treat will be onstage from around 8.00pm following the panel discussion.
The panel is being facilitated by Blank GC’s editor, Samantha Morris who was named one of Queensland Champions of Conservation in 2013 and received a Golden Gecko Award in 2014.