Thom Yorke, David Byrne, Brian Eno, U2’s Adam Clayton and Spice Girls’ Mel B are among the artists facing accusations of climate hypocrisy head-on in an open letter penned by environmental activists Extinction Rebellion.
As noted by artists in recent interviews, including Yorke’s visit to the Late Show, it’s difficult for an environmentally conscious touring musician to function conscious-free given the ongoing climate crisis; the duplicity is often a target of the media and climate change deniers.
“Dear journalists who have called us hypocrites, you’re right. We live high carbon lives and the industries that we are part of have huge carbon footprints. Like you — and everyone else — we are stuck in this fossil-fuel economy and without systemic change, our lifestyles will keep on causing climate and ecological harm,” the open letter notes.
“There is, however, a more urgent story that our profiles and platforms can draw attention to. Life on earth is dying. We are living in the midst of the 6th mass extinction.”
The letter continues, “Climate change is happening faster and more furiously than was predicted; millions of people are suffering, leaving their homes and arriving on our borders as refugees. Alongside these people who are already paying the price for our fossil fueled economy, there are millions of children — called to action by Greta Thunberg — who are begging us, the people with power and influence, to stand up and fight for their already devastated future. We cannot ignore their call. Even if by answering them we put ourselves in your firing line.”
Other signees of the open letter include Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera, Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja, Warren Ellis of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Natalie Imbruglia, Disclosure, actors Steve Coogan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Rylance and Jude Law, Glastonbury organizer Emily Eavis, actresses Sienna Miller and Lena Headly and many more musicians, authors, actors and filmmakers.
“The stories that you write calling us climate hypocrites will not silence us. The media exists to tell the public the truth. Right now there has never been a more urgent need for you to educate yourselves on the CEE (Climate and Ecological Emergency) and to use your voices to reach new audiences with the truth,” the letter concludes.
“We invite all people with platforms and profiles to join us and move beyond fear, to use your voices fearlessly to amplify the real story. Thousands of ordinary people are risking their freedom by taking part in non-violent civil disobedience. We’ve been inspired by their courage to speak out and join them. We beg you to do the same.”
Recently, Michael Stipe donated proceeds from his new single “Your Capricious Soul” to Extinction Rebellion, while Radiohead sold a legitimate download of their leaked OK Computer MiniDiscs to benefit the U.K.-founded activism group.