Thom Yorke, lead singer of the iconic band Radiohead, has added his voice to the 350 EARTH project. Yesterday, he posted a link to the project on the Radiohead website with the succint explanation, "The plan is to make images from the skies // to remind those in Cancun that we're running out of time // we can't keep putting this off."
Along with inspiring millions with his music, Yorke has been a longtime advocate of climate action. When he released his solo album, The Eraser, in 2006, Yorke explained:
In the paper one day, [Friends of the Earth activist] Jonathan Porritt was basically dismissing any commitment that the working government has toward addressing global warming, saying that their gestures were like King Canute trying to stop the tide. And that just went "kaching" in my head. It's not political, but that's what I feel is happening. We're all King Canutes, holding our hands out, saying, "It'll go away. I can make it stop." No, you can't.
An image of King Canute — a Norse king who futilely attempted to control the waves — drawn by Yorke's friend Stanley Donwood became the album cover of The Eraser and is a potent image as world leaders continue to try to ignore the disasters brought on by the climate crisis.
Yorke hopes that the 350 EARTH project will be one way to wake politicians from their slumber. He sent over the following quote to our team here at 350.org:
Our Leaders and much of the lobby groups for oil and energy companies are arriving in Cancun at the end of the month, still under the illusion that we can carry on burning energy to feed a global financial model that now no longer represents the needs of the rest of us and the dire situation we face.
They are still labouring under the assumption that they can turn the tide of mother nature.
The future of the planet and all living creatures is secondary to their own system of belief.
They hide behind meaningless procedure.
False science and smear campaigns are paid for and quoted to undermine the overwhelming evidence of global warming.
Enough of this. There is no more time.
Yorke is right: it's time to turn the tide. It's our hope that the art coming over the next week can play some small role in building the movement that can stand up to the fossil fuel companies and powerful interests that continue to block progress. And we look forward to continuing to see what role music can play in this growing movement. From the spirituals of the American Civil Rights Movement to the songs and dances of the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, music has always played a key role in social change.
Many thanks Thom Yorke and the whole Radiohead band and fans — let's get to work turning the tide.