Design & Living / Quotes of Note

Quotes from Five Famous People on the Future of Our Planet

Vivienne Westwood, Marina Abramović, Cher and more share their powerful reflections on climate change in a new documentary film

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Vivienne Westwood(Film still) Courtesy of In This Climate

What does the future hold for our planet? This is the question raised by Pablo Ganguli and Tomas Auksas’ documentary film In This Climate. Using the thoughts and voices of some of the world’s most eminent naturalists, conservationists and artists (to name just a few of their collective professions), In This Climate hones in on the potential consequences for our climate if we sit back and watch the trajectory of our own destruction; if the flooding, the pollution, the deforestation and the threat of nuclear war all continue to wreak havoc at the alarming rate they are currently. 

Featuring contributions from Sir David Attenborough and Noam Chomsky, Ian McEwan, Deepak Chopra and more, In This Climate airs but weeks following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. It is part of a global cultural programme which aims to engage people around the world, to encourage them to take an active interest in climate change, and will be screened in more than 30 countries this year alone. Here, we extract at quotes from some of its renowned contributors.

1. Marina Abramović, artist

 “We always think that we are so superior, so above everything. But it’s not about animals and human divide. We have to learn that we are connected to everything else. We are connected, not just to animals, we are connected to rocks and the plants, and the air, and the fire, and the earth itself. Everything is inter-related with everything else. And you take one thing out, the whole system can collapse.”

2. Vivienne Westwood, designer

“What I’m interested in is clarifying things. Give me the intellectuals, the ones who know what’s going on in this world, and let [them] clarify things. Because that clarification is power.”

3. Noam Chomsky, linguist and philosopher

“There are two threats that dominate everything else... One of these threats we’ve been living with ever since August 6th 1945, the threat of annihilation through nuclear war. It was obvious on the day of the first atomic bombing, to anyone who had their eyes open, that the threat of massive destruction in a single act was going to escalate the capacity to destroy, would rapidly escalate, and would diffuse to many hands, which would raise the likelihood of major catastrophe to a very high level. And in fact, if you look over the record of the past years, it’s kind of a miracle that we’ve survived.

“The other [threat] wasn’t recognised until the 1970s, when scientists began to understand that the effect of human use of fossil fuels – and other actions, including industrial meat production – is leading to a rapid increase in carbon dioxide in the environment, which is warming the environment at a rate not seen in historical records, leading to an impending catastrophe unless it’s terminated. And we’re coming close to a point where it may be impossible to reverse it.”

4. Cher, singer

“I can’t understand why there are a group of people who just discount [climate change] completely. I just think, where is your brain? How can our brains be so different? How can you not notice all the things that are changing, and just go, ‘No… nothing is happening, everything is the same’? … ‘Being online every waking minute – I have this thing where I feel that everyone is looking down all the time. And you can’t see anything looking down.”

5. Sir David Attenborough, broadcaster and naturalist

“If we don’t do something about [climate change], natural forces will take over and do something about it.”

In This Climate is out now. 

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