Three, it’s a magic number…

Sometimes it’s as easy as counting to three to act eco-friendly. If you want to have a green business, you should start with the very basics and stick to the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! The Hawaiian singer-songwriter Jack Johnson leads us through today’s blog post.

In order to start, I would like you to listen to this amazing song.

Here are the lyrics:

Three it’s a magic number

Yes it is, it’s a magic number
Because two times three is six
And three times six is eighteen
And the eighteenth letter in the alphabet is R
We’ve got three R’s we’re going to talk about today
We’ve got to learn to
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle [4x]

If you’re going to the market to buy some juice
You’ve got to bring your own bags and you learn to reduce your waste
And if your brother or your sister’s got some cool clothes
You could try them on before you buy some more of those
Reuse, we’ve got to learn to reuse
And if the first two R’s don’t work out
And if you’ve got to make some trash

Don’t throw it out
Recycle, we’ve got to learn to recycle,
We’ve got to learn to
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle [4x]
Because three it’s a magic number
Yes it is, it’s a magic number
3, 3, 3
3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36
33, 30, 27, 24, 21, 18, 15, 12, 9, 6, and
3, it’s a magic number

When I first heard the song, I was sure that I liked the music but I was skeptic about the lyrics. The message is clear but I couldn’t believe that he is really singing about waste reduction! I had never heard a well-known musician to do anything like that… After hearing it for the second time, I began to chum up with the song, every school kid (including me) will be able to sing along, because the lyrics are easy and the “math” is fun.  After hearing it for the third time, I was caught and I wasn’t able to stop humming “reduce, reuse, recycle” for the rest of the day. Sometimes, all it needs is a little time and openness.

Actually, this song encourages the serious topic of environmental awareness and it explains waste management strategies in their order of desirability, also called waste hierarchy, in an easy way, comprehensible even for the youngest (on YouTube you will find Jack Johnson visiting schools in Hawaii and singing this song with the kids!).The 3 R’s summarize the waste hierarchy, which however, has the following 5 steps in Europe [Wikipedia]:

Prevention – preventing and reducing waste generation.

Reuse and preparation for reuse – products get a second life before they become waste.

Recycle – any recovery operation by which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances whether for the original or other purposes.

Recovery – some waste incineration based on a political non-scientific formula that upgrades the less inefficient incinerators.

Disposal – processes to dispose of waste be it landfilling, incineration, pyrolysis, gasification and other finalist solutions.

In your daily life, you will come across those steps several times a day, for example if you take 5 paper napkins at the Mensa, where 1 should be sufficient, or when you come home from shopping with several plastic bags that you can reuse as a rubbish bag. If these recommendations seem to be too self-evident because you do all that…GOOD! If not, then hear the 3 R’s song again and watch your actions. This can have serious impacts on consumer behavior and together we can change a lot.
If you like environmental songs, I have two other videos for you.

The first is a public service campaign of the American Advertising Federation.

The second an extract of a children cartoon.

Three, it’s a magic number… yes, it is. It’s a magic number!


About SparklinGesine

20 year-old girly girl from the eastern part of Germany, now studying at the Berlin School of Economics and Law. Loves music, cinema and this fancy invention called "internet". View all posts by SparklinGesine

6 responses to “Three, it’s a magic number…

  • Lisa

    Dear Gesine,
    thanks for your amazing introduction.
    I really like Jack Johnson’s music, but I didn’t know this song.
    You wrote about a very important topic- environment- and your headline captured my attention. I liked your variety of different videos and your examples of how we can do/ change something to protect our environment in every day life! ( I am using my shopping bags always as bin bags ;))
    Thanks Gesine, it was a pleasure to read your post!

  • lisaneubert

    Hello Gesine,

    and thank you for making us aware of our envirnonment. I have to admit that I am very green. My Mum founded an organization within her school concerning about all topics related to GREEN ENVIRONMENT. So, I haad to act environmental-friendly, but I also WANT to do so. Because one sense of life consists in protection our world, because WE live in it and it is not ours!
    I haven’t heard about this “3-R”s song, but I enjoyed it.
    I guess you will go deeper into this field of issue and therefore I found one interesting link for you as I also wanted to write about GREEN IT. Check this out:

    I wish you good luck and I’m looking forward your next posts!


  • natiliab

    Hi gesine,
    When I was looking for a post to read, your title really caught my attention. I could not image what the topic of your post would be about, so I continued reading your opending paragraph and you had me hooked. I think connecting music to business is very interesting. I did not know the song ‘3R’s’ by Jack Johnson before but it was amazing to listen to.

    I think it is remarkable how he was able to transform a serious topic into an advise.
    After I read your post I thought about my own commitment to our enviorment. I think everyone of us has still ways to improve their attitude in their everyday life. When I went eating in our lovely mensa, I only took one napkin.
    Thanks for reminding me!!

  • itjohanna

    Gesine !
    Best thing to do to catch me as a reader is include something as cool as music, especially if it’s Jack Johnson! I heard this song before and was as impressed as you are, I was looking for someone with an interesting post and was very happy to find yours!
    I can only agree, Jack Johnson is using an easy way to spread his message and makes it approachable to everyone, even kids! You have a very easy going writing style, include little personal stories which keeps the reader reading :)
    I am impressed that you dedicated your blogging to something so important, you gained me as your following reader! You inspired me to write something touching this topic in my next blog.
    Thank you, good job!
    Greetings, Johanna

    … oh and … I use my plastic bags as bin bags ;)

  • NerdyLaura

    Hi Gesine!
    I think the best thing about your blogpost is your amazing title. It made me curious and therefor I read your blogpost eventhough I had no idea what it was actually about. After reading your post the connection between the title and the topic is clear.

    In addition, your post is really well structured. The use of paragraphs and single headlines helps finding through the text and not loosing the overview.

    Moreover, I liked that you mentioned that changing just small habits like reuse plastic bags as rubbish bags can help protecting our environment.

    I hope you will stick to this whole “Business going Green”-topic and feed us with some more information concerning that topic.

    Thanks Gesine for making me sing about waste management. ;)

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