The Copenhagen Mash: Could a Dreadful Music Video Help Climate Change Talks?
As you must know by now, the world will gather in Copenhagen, Denmark in December to try to hash out a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. Given recent reports that climate change is accelerating at an even faster rate than anticipated, it is essential that world leaders come together to find real solutions to a genuine crisis.
Which, of course, means that somebody thought it would make an awesome music video (h/t).
This dreadful mess is the product of “Time for Climate Justice” and its “Tck Tck Tck” campaign, which seeks to “help bring about a global revolution, make governments take climate change seriously and actually tackle it.”
TCJ seeks to bring the voice of those most affected by climate change — the voiceless millions who “die every year because of climate change, for those whose communities and economies are ruined by cyclones, floods, droughts and crop failures. It is justice for the young and future generations who will face greater catastrophes if something isn’t done today. Ultimately, everyone deserves Climate Justice, because everyone will be affected, some day sooner rather than later.“
It’s an important and worthy goal. But TCJ’s approach doesn’t really have any chance of influencing world leaders (or giving voice to those for whom they claim to speak). “Beds are Burning” is little more than a slick Madison Avenue-style publicity campaign that will make a few musicians (and impossibly hot actresses) feel better about themselves.
But wait! You can feel good about yourself too! Simply upload a clip of you saying “tck” to their website!
I swear I’m not making this up.
TCJ’s campaign is but the latest example of what I like to call activist narcissism, the impossibly naive belief that getting a bunch of beautiful people together to preen and act outraged is an adequate substitute for real change. If these musicians (and impossibly hot actresses) really want to effect change, perhaps they can stop flying around the world on private jets and living in 10,000 sq. ft mansions.
I blame Will.I.Am, the patron saint of the inspiring-multiple-trendy-musicians-and-impossibly-hot-actresses-who-think-they can-sing-mash-up. And as inspiring as “Yes We Can” may have been, can we agree to an immediate United Nations-brokered moratorium on such nonsense?
It’s telling that Peter Garrett, the lead singer of Midnight Oil — and current Australian Minister for Environment — declined to participate. The irony, of course, is that Garrett is now doing more to address climate change than Mila Jovovich and her beautiful friends could ever hope to do.
Oh, one other little thing.
This song isn’t about global warming. It’s about returning land to native Australians. In 2000, Midnight Oil performed it at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympics while wearing all-black tracksuits that said “sorry” on them — a reference to then-Prime Minister John Howard‘s refusal to apologize to Aborigines for the theft of their land and destruction of their culture.
Given that inconvenient truth, you’d think that those who decided to adopt it as an anthem for climate change just might have wanted to, oh I don’t know, kinda sorta of maybe included someone from that community in the remake?
Here’s a suggestion. Let’s treat the danger of climate change with the respect and the seriousness it deserves. Demand that our leaders (including President Obama) do what is necessary to make the Copenhagen summit a success.
But whatever you do, please don’t show them this godawful puddle of well-meaning poo — unless you’re looking to give Hu Jintao a good laugh.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/perfectoinsecto/ / CC BY 2.0
Charles J. Brown is Senior Fellow and Washington Director at the Institute for International Law and Human Rights and the host of Undiplomatic, a blog on the intersection of foreign policy, politics, and pop culture. You also can follow him on Twitter.