• Karen Seiger

Let’s Make Sure Pete Seeger’s Message Lives On

When I was a little kid, maybe 5 years old, my dad, Marvin Seiger, was the chair of the Artists and Lecture Series at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. The university was brand new, and Dad was one of the first professors in the biology department.

With his finger on the pulse of the art and music scene in the 1960’s, Dad selected the performers to do shows at the university. I remember him running around the City of Dayton looking for the proper sized carpet upon which Ravi Shankar would play his sitar. He picked up Odetta at the airport. He would tell the story of a guitarist he had booked in 1970 who died shortly before he was going to come to Wright State. That was Jimi Hendrix.

One of Dad’s passions, and it was also a sign of the times, was environmental conservation. I could tell 1000 stories about his projects, committees and educational programs to teach people about pollution, habitat conservation (especially on farms), and ecology in general.

So the one performer I remember most vividly was Pete Seeger. I was probably 5 or 6 years old, and I wondered if we weren’t related. Our names only differed by one small vowel. I remember his being so warm and friendly to me and my sisters. I remember my dad being more excited to meet him than he was about any other artist who came by.

Pete sang with his guitar onstage in front of a tall microphone. The one song I remember to this day from that show was Garbage. The message of how we are destroying our planet resonates more than ever today. But as a little kid, I just liked the way he sang the lyrics, “Garbage Garbage Garbage Garbage.” My dad would put an extra growl in it for us when we sang the song on every road trip ever after. (Try it – you can’t help yourself.)

So how does this relate to markets? For starters, I just searched the words “recycled” and “upcycled” on MarketsOfNewYork.com and came up with over 50 stories of artisans and markets that recycle and upcycle materials in their businesses.

For example, Folk Couture makes unique and intriguing clothes out of other clothes. Nature vs. Future makes world-class fashion designs from industry remnants, yards and yards of gorgeous fabrics that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Sweater Toys makes adorably huggable toys from recycled sweaters. Raaka Chocolates uses recycled paper in their beautiful chocolate packaging.  The former DeKalb Market used recycled shipping containers to create an entire market. Now those containers are being used again in the  Super Pier under development on the Hudson River Park. Every single thing you buy at a flea market means reusing valuable – and often quite stylish – resources.

So while it’s sad to see him go, Pete Seeger lived for 94 amazing years. If we want to honor his legacy truly, let’s get back on track with his life-long message of peace, conservation and really great music.

~Karen Seiger, Markets of New York City

My dad Marvin Seiger with me and my sisters (l-r Andrea & Leslie) on a road trip through Mexico in the late 1960’s. We’re standing on the Tropic of Cancer.


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© 2020 by Karen Seiger

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