Greta Thunberg has made her musical debut on a single by the 1975. On a track called The 1975, a version of which traditionally opens each of the British band’s albums, the 16-year-old environmental activist restates her position on the need to act on the climate emergency.
Thunberg said: “I’m grateful to get the opportunity to get my message out to a broad new audience in a new way. I think it’s great that the 1975 is so strongly engaged in the climate crisis. We quickly need to get people in all branches of society to get involved. And this collaboration I think is something new.”
Over the 1975’s minimal orchestral backing, Thunberg says: “We have to acknowledge that the older generations have failed. All political movements in their present form have failed. But homo sapiens have not yet failed. Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around.”
She continues: “We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people. And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.”
Thunberg concludes: “So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.” Read the full text of her speech below.
The proceeds from the track will go to Extinction Rebellion at Thunberg’s request. The environmental group released a statement welcoming the collaboration: “Music has the power to break through barriers, and right now we really need to break through some barriers if we are to face this emergency.”
Thunberg is the first outside party to feature on a recording by the band. The track was recorded in Stockholm in late June and is the first song to be released from the 1975’s forthcoming album, Notes on a Conditional Form.
The band manager and founder of the label Dirty Hit, Jamie Oborne, said the group and the label were making efforts to minimise their environmental impact. Dirty Hit’s office has phased out all single-use plastic, will no longer produce plastic products including CD jewel cases and is working to minimise the impact of vinyl production.
“Rather than ignoring that it’s a pollutant, we’re minimising it by only doing lightweight vinyl from now on,” Oborne said. “That isn’t very trendy, but one heavyweight LP is the equivalent of making two or three [standard thickness LPs].”
Dirty Hit’s CDs and vinyl are contained in paper packaging and not wrapped in non-degradable shrink wrap. Oborne said they had sourced a biodegradable shrink wrap which they would integrate fully once their production plants had full access to it. The 1975’s next merchandise line will also be environmentally friendly, repurposing unsold merchandise into new garments.
Oborne dismissed peers’ suggestions that the organisation could be labelled hypocritical for taking a stance on the climate crisis before becoming 100% carbon efficient. “That’s why we’re in this situation where everyone’s standing around and it takes a child to point out that we can make these changes,” he said, referring to Thunberg.
“We’re not going to have touring worked out in six weeks because everything’s working against you, but we are going to have it sorted out in a period of time, and 50% is better than nothing. If everyone pushes responsibility onto other people because they can’t completely solve [the issue], we’re already fucked.”
The track release follows Thunberg’s address to French politicians on 23 July, in which she urged them to “unite behind the science” of climate change. After rightwing legislators said they would not attend her appearance at the National Assembly, she said youth climate activists have become “the bad guys” for stating “uncomfortable things”.
“Just for quoting or acting on these numbers, these scientific facts, we receive unimaginable amounts of hate and threats,” she said. “We are being mocked and lied about by members of parliament and journalists.” On 20 September, Thunberg and other young environmental activists will lead a climate strike around the world.
The 1975’s new album is the second in their Music for Cars series, which began in November 2018 with A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. The group will headline this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals in August.
The full text of Thunberg’s speech.
We are right now in the beginning of a climate and ecological crisis.
And we need to call it what it is. An emergency.
We must acknowledge that we do not have the situation under control and that we don’t have all the solutions yet. Unless those solutions mean that we simply stop doing certain things.
We admit that we are losing this battle.
We have to acknowledge that the older generations have failed. All political movements in their present form have failed.
But homo sapiens have not yet failed.
Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around. We can still fix this. We still have everything in our own hands.
But unless we recognise the overall failures of our current systems, we most probably don’t stand a chance.
We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people. And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.
Solving the climate crisis is the greatest and most complex challenge that homo sapiens have ever faced. The main solution, however, is so simple that even a small child can understand it. We have to stop our emissions of greenhouse gases.
And either we do that, or we don’t.
You say that nothing in life is black or white.
But that is a lie. A very dangerous lie.
Either we prevent a 1.5 degree of warming, or we don’t.
Either we avoid setting off that irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, or we don’t.
Either we choose to go on as a civilisation or we don’t.
That is as black or white as it gets.
Because there are no grey areas when it comes to survival.
Now we all have a choice.
We can create transformational action that will safeguard the living conditions for future generations.
Or we can continue with our business as usual and fail.
That is up to you and me.
And yes, we need a system change rather than individual change. But you cannot have one without the other.
If you look through history, all the big changes in society have been started by people at the grassroots level. People like you and me.
So, I ask you to please wake up and make the changes required possible. To do your best is no longer good enough. We must all do the seemingly impossible.
Today, we use about 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground.
So, we can no longer save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed.
Everything needs to change. And it has to start today.
So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.
Source: The Guardian
14 Feb 2023
3 Feb 2023