Thursday, May 26, 2005

dear thom

Last night Channel 4 News ran an extensive interview involving minister for the Environment Margaret Beckett, Friends of the Earth Director Tony Juniper and Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke. It followed a report on the launch of a new Friends of the Earth campaign to raise the publics awareness of the amount of Carbon that is being released by us all when we do things like for example go out and buy Radiohead CDs.

The use of these 'concerned rock stars' is positive, I think. Chris Martin and Michael Stipe for example have unselfishly raised the profile of Oxfam campaigns on Poverty and Trade. I don't doubt Thom Yorke's convictions or beliefs, but unfortunately last night he failed to show any passion and didn't display much knowledge on the subject. He was left floundering at one stage blurting out "oh alright I haven't started yet...." when Jon Snow quite correctly asked him about the changes he's made to his own lifestyle. It was funny, but as there was a Minister of state present whose government has achieved little in real terms (missing many of its own targets) on Climate change I felt it was a missed opportunity. Mrs Beckett looked relieved and exonerated as the only flak she took was from Jon Snow and she was able for much of the interview to use the old Blair tactic of acknowledging there was still much to do.

Whilst by its nature Climate Change has to be tackled internationally we can only lecture others (the largest growing pollutants India and China and especially the United States) if we lead by example. At the moment we have little to show for all the recent (excuse the pun) hot air. Pointing this out was left to the man in the middle Mr Snow, whilst Mr Juniper prevaricated and Mr Yorke looked ill at ease. More research and conviction next time please Thom!


The growing importance of pressure groups both here and overseas demonstrates the detachment many feel towards politics. More and more of us are getting involved in some sort of direct action in response to the inequalities faced by the majority of the worlds population and the ongoing destruction of the worlds environment. These are weighty, complex, big and scary issues that have to be tackled by all currently enjoying the power and the wealth (that's us) now before irreparable damage is done. The political establishment is deliberately dragging its feet because the solutions to all this are unlikely to win any elections. It means fundamental grass roots change in our lifestyles and societies and who wants to do that after a hard day at the office? The myth that we can carry on getting ever wealthier is about to be exploded. We can't. We, after all live on an increasingly polluted planet of finite recourses and space. This does not fit into the equation of ever increasing economic growth.

So what to do? Well, read up on the situation, find out those who are campaigning for what you think is right, buy the wrist band if necessary and at the risk of sounding like a 1970's student radical, organise and campaign!

[blogging by Dan]


Mark Holland said...

Good post Dan.

However, an increasingly polluted planet?

Compare the London of 1952 and before to today?

Karen said...

Generous of you to describe pop stars' involvement as unselfish; it's not like they don't get anything out of contributing to these movements, even if it's only an easy conscience.

jonathan said...

I have a kind of allergic reaction to earnestness, which makes me a bit squeamish when it comes to the behaviour of Yorke, Albarn, Martin et al, but despite this I generally think that they do a good job of keeping these things in the public eye - and so they do a good job, even if they sometimes fail to offer constructive debate on the subject.

Keith said...

there's a great photo of a kid with about twenty bracelets on in the guardian today

Laban said...

I wonder how much Co2 is produced by a flight to the Eastern Med and back ?

As Thom would say, "oh alright I haven't started yet...."

I'm looking forward to a gala festival of hypocrisy as July 8th approaches !

jonathan said...

I know! It gets worse as well, I've got work trips coming up which I'm travelling by air to, too. I dread to think what my small contribution will amount to by the end of the year.