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Thom Yorke
Thom YorkePhotography Greg Williams

Thom Yorke and Brian Eno say they’re climate hypocrites in open letter

‘Dear journalists who have called us hypocrites, you’re right’

A number of celebrities and entertainers have signed an open letter penned by Extinction Rebellion addressed criticism that they are hypocrites over climate change.

“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 letter notes.

Some of the signees include Thom Yorke, Brian Eno, and Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja.

It’s been noted by many celebrity climate activists that their jobs are hard to do without making an environmental impact. Touring, for example, requites many flights across the world, but makes up a large bulk of income for professional musicians. Likewise, travel is a major component of the film industry.

Thom Yorke previously addressed similar accusations of hypocrisy, saying: “The thing I’ve always struggled somewhat with, is if I’m campaigning on climate change, I’m someone who has to fly for my work… I totally agree I’m a hypocrite but… what do you want to do about it?” He added: “You can do stuff but the real stuff has to happen in parliament and the UN, and has to happen now, we’re out of time.”

The open letter acknowledges this, but adds: “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 sixth 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.”

“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.”

“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.”

Other signees for the letter include Jarvis CockerTalking Heads frontman David Byrne, electronic duo DisclosureGlastonbury organiser Emily Eavis, and actors Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Benedict Cumberbatch, and more.

See the full list of signatories here.