Thom Yorke Discusses Climate Change With Writer George Monbiot

Thom Yorke is performing at the Paris venue Le Trianon in December as a part of the Pathway To Paris climate change concert, which coincides with the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference, also in Paris. Yorke is a professed fan of writer and environmental activist George Monbiot, and as Pitchfork reports, the French magazine Télérama just facilitated and published a conversation between Yorke and Monbiot on the subject of climate change.

In the interview, both men discuss how climate change has affected their daily lives and the changes they’ve made to be more environmentally friendly, including becoming vegetarian and, in Yorke’s case, organizing “carbon neutral world tours” for Radiohead. Yorke says that he became obsessed with trying to reduce his carbon footprint: “I mean, initially, it kept me awake at night — which sounds really stupid — especially when my second child arrived, in 2004, I got unhealthily obsessed with it. But when I started to get involved in doing something about it, that helped me a lot. But I always have the impression that I am not doing enough at all.”

When asked to compare his commitment as an artist to artists’ activism during the Vietnam War, Yorke says that “In the 60’s, you could write songs that were like calls to arms, and it would work … It’s much harder to do that now. If I was going to write a protest song about climate change in 2015, it would be shit. It’s not like one song or one piece of art or one book is going to change someone’s mind. However, things happen gradually and accusatively and that is when it snowballs.”

Yorke also discusses the “really bleak” climate change summit that he crashed in 2009, the way that climate change and his politics are reflected in his music, and how he and his friends “try, every year, to go and live in the woods for three or four days.” You can read the whole piece here.

Tags: Thom Yorke