Calling more public attention to climate change, Europe is running a series of concerts (in partnership with MTV) under the heading ‘Play to Stop’. The DJ, singer-songwriter and musician Moby took to the stage in Stockholm. He took time out to talk to Euronews.
Euronews: “Why are you taking part in the “play to stop” campaign?” Moby: “I have been an environmental activist for quite a long time. I was raised by hippies who were very environmentally concerned, and there are a lot of different causes I am involved in. But the one cause that is to me the most important, above all else, is climate change, because it is the only issue that will potentially very drastically affect the life of every person on the planet. Not to be overly melodramatic, but: it also has the potential to alter the course of human history, in potentially very very negative ways, but in potentially positive ways as well.” Euronews: “Do you think that governments are doing enough to fight climate change?” Moby: “I don’t… (I hate to say this), I don’t think the governments are really doing anything to fight climate change right now. Governments are still subsidising old industries, governments are still subsidising oil production, and one of the most compelling aspects of climate change for me in terms of getting people to deal with it is appealing to their own self interest. “It is very simple: When someone in France or someone in Belgium, or someone in Germany, buys heating oil, or they put gasoline in their car, they are sending money outside of their country. They are sending money to Venezuela, they are sending money to United Arab Emirates, they are sending money to Iran. “Whenever someone develops local energy sources, whether it is hydro, whether it is geothermal, whether it is wind or solar, they are keeping money in their country. And they are supporting local industries. And to me that’s the best way to get people interested in climate change… saying: “keep your money at home”. You know, support local industries, support industries that don’t pollute… Otherwise it is very difficult for governments to legislate for climate change, you know, to combat climate change. Because seemingly it is an issue that is not going to affect us for 40 years or 50 years, so why should governments deal with it? But if you can present it to governments as a way of creating jobs, and dealing with economic uncertainty at home, I think that is a much more compelling way for governments to legislate regarding climate change.” Euronews: “On a personnal level, do you lead a ‘green’ life?” Moby: “Well… not to tell my own environmental credentials… but I don’t know how I could live a more green life. I don’t drive a car, I take public transportation, I am a vegan, I try whenever possible to eat locally organically-grown produce. I live in an apartment building, which is so much more environmentally responsible than living in a house. I try very hard to be as environmentally responsible as possible. But the only way that environmentally responsible actions have any sort of like meaningful impact is the cumulative aspect of it. Me being environmentally responsible means nothing if I am the only one doing it. Me being environmentally responsible is very very meaningful if a hundred million people are doing it. So I will never brag about my environmental credentials, because I am just one person. If I can get a hundred million people to do similar things, then I can say that I have been a good force for change. “When I tour, I try to tour in a carbon neutral way, which is basically by offsetting carbon emissions and trying to tour in as environmentally responsible a way as possible, but again it will be great if every musician on the planet agrees to tour in a carbon neutral way. “The carbon emissions for every musician on the planet is less than 0.001% of the carbon emissions from China in one day. So I think it is important to look at issues like carbon neutral touring, (but) it is more important to look at industrial output from the European Union, from the United States, from China, from India. You know, we only have so much time and we only have so much energy. I think we really need to focus on the most egregious examples of environmental irresponsibility.” Euronews: “Are you surprised by the attacks against Obama’s health care plan?” Moby: “Well, the attacks on Obama’s health care plan… it is almost like a surrealist farce. It is like an Ionesco play, you know the playwrite…it is an absurdist, dadaist farce, because people… I mean unfortunately, there is a long tradition of arrogance and ignorance and unequal measures in the United States. But the attacks on Obama’s health care plan are so ignorant and are funded by the health care industry. So my favourite story about the attacks on Obama’s health care plan in the United States is: a member of the House of Representatives was having a town hall meeting with a bunch of rightwing senior citizens, and he asked a simple question : “Who here is opposed to socialised medicine?” Everybody raised their hand. And now his next question: “Who here is on Medicaid and Medicare?” And everybody raised their hand. Medicare and Medicaid is socialised medicine. So, what I am surprised by is just how intense the attacks are on Obama and health care. What I am not surprised by is how ignorant Americans are, once again. Americans will never surprised me in their capacity to be angry and ignorant at the same time.” Euronews: “Are lobbyists responsible for these attacks?” Moby: “Well there are a lot of vested special interests who will lobby to protect their own business. So, right now health care in the United States is lobbying to protect health care the way it is. The insurance companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to protect the health care situation the way it exists, because that is very lucrative for the health care industry. The same thing with climate change: the oil companies, who are huge — I mean BP, Shell, Exxon Mobile — they are the biggest corporations on the planet. They are spending hundred of millions of dollars to keep things the way they are. Unfortunately, the way things are is terrible. (laughs) The status quo for health care in the United states is a disaster, the status quo for — environmentally speaking in terms of petroleum production, energy production in general — … it’s a disaster, but it is a very lucrative disaster for companies, for the health care industry in the United States and for the petroleum companies in the rest of the world.”