Thom Yorke's new album, The Eraser, contains a song called “The Clock” that suggests, among other things, political non-action regarding environmental policy. It's not new territory. I first became aware of Yorke’s concern for global warming in the deluxe packaging of Radiohead’s Kid A. The CD is housed in a stylized “board book” filled with paintings of icy landscapes and cartoon bears floating on glaciers. The end page lists “Selected Examples of Ice Melt around the World,” and cites World Watch. Recently he’s been involved in a number of high profile, social activist activities for Friends of the Earth and Oxfam. Not quite Bono, but still an inaccessible star… I thought.
So I was intrigued and encouraged when I ran across an interview today from an Australian newspaper. His honesty resonated with me:
He's worried about being a spokesman for Friends of the Earth when he doesn't even put bricks in his dunny or recycle properly. "I have no integrity in these things, I haven't done enough," he laments. "I don't have solar panels on my house yet. I haven't sorted out the heating, my car's not a Prius, I f---ing fly all the time for my job and I hate it but at the moment I haven't really got a choice, you know, and all these things. The job I'm in is a job that wastes energy left, right and centre. It's madness."…and then this clarification from the Guardian:
This is what Thom Yorke, conscious rocker, is like. He's more confused student than celebrity spokesman. More pub ranter than soundbite-spewing talking head. He's more like most of us, in fact.It echoed something Holley Henderson, chair of LEED-CI, said in our book Reverb. After recounting a failed project scenario she said,"Not enough people talk about mistakes; nobody learns unless we are willing to reveal them… telling others about what you are doing — the successes and mistakes — is what multiplies your hands." We can easily get discouraged by our inability to change the world in a day. It’s a good reminder that “the sum of the parts makes the whole”. Every small action we take for climate improvement is significant, whether rock & roll or interior design. It's OK, Thom. You're multiplying hands.