Large swathes of the British media chose to dig their heads into the sand once again this week by criticizing the supposed “hypocrisy” of celebrities who back Extinction Rebellion despite leading high carbon lives.
Several luminaries felt the wrath of the tabloid media after backing climate change marches, with Thom Yorke, Jude Law and Benedict Cumberbatch among them.
It mirrors similar treatment given to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex who were chastised for taking trips on private jets as they spoke out about the effects of global warming.
The Express wrote that Meghan’s “aloof climate change lecturing” had backfired following the trip, even though the carbon emissions had been offset by their host, Elton John.
But in a bid to hit back more than 100 high-profile celebrities have put their name to an open letter in which they admit to being hypocrites.
As Sarah Lunnon of Extinction Rebellion said, “it’s easy to call people out for being hypocrites but that’s really a distraction from the much bigger, and perhaps more confronting conversation we need to have about the unworkable system in which we live.
“None of us is perfect. What matters is that more and more people are ready to talk about transforming how we relate to the planet, and we are prepared to put our liberty on the line to do so.”
Dear journalists who have called us hypocrites
The letter starts:
‘Dear journalists who have called us hypocrites,
‘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.’
Despite the criticism they face, the signatories say that they are resolute in still speaking out on the issue of the climate and ecological emergency. The letter also urges the media to do more to support the cause. The letter goes on to say: ‘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.’
Top of the agenda
Steve Coogan said:“Extinction Rebellion is a grassroots movement that should be applauded for putting this issue at the top of the agenda where it belongs.
“I stand in full support of these brave, determined activists who are making a statement on behalf of us all.”
Actor Jamie Winstone said: “I will continue to change my life for the greater good for the planet.
“I will continue to push for climate justice…we all need to change the way we live our lives for a healthier living planet and stop living in denial that climate crisis isn’t real.
“It’s happening. We all need to make changes if we want to survive and our children to thrive.”
6th mass extinction
The full text of the letter reads:
Dear journalists who have called us hypocrites,
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.
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. For those who still doubt the severity of our situation, here is the International Monetary Fund on 10th October 2019 :
“Global warming causes major damage to the global economy and the natural world and engenders risks of catastrophic and irreversible outcomes”
And here is Sir David Attenborough on 3rd December 2018 :
“Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate change. If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”
Faster and more furiously than was predicted
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 fuelled 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.