Moby's call for urgent action to tackle the climate 'apocalypse'

·News and Video Producer
·5-min read

"Frustrated" doesn't begin to explain how US musician Moby feels about the lack of meaningful action by world leaders to tackle the climate crisis. 

Instead he believes he's reacting with "catastrophic existential despair", or even worse, "tragic acceptance".  

The Grammy nominated artist wants politicians to cease using "optimistic inclusive language" when discussing the fight against global heating, and instead be more blunt and say, “unless we fix this in the next minute we’re doomed”.

Left - Moby at home speaking with Yahoo. Right - cattle grazing in a green polluted water body.
Moby is calling on world leaders to combat emissions heavy industries including animal agriculture. Source: Yahoo / Getty

He argues it's time for our leaders to be honest about the danger we face and start treating us like adults, adding "you can't sugarcoat apocalypse". 

We’re looking at a catastrophe that is going to destroy the only home we have.Moby

“If someone covers you in petrol and sets you on fire, you don't want to be reasonable, you want to put out the fire," Moby told Yahoo News.

"You want to scream at the top of your lungs and say: I’m on fire, please put me out!

“You don't want to necessarily say: Oh, if we swap out our light bulbs everything will be fine. What we're confronting is so enormous and so unprecedented.”

Animal agriculture sidelined from COP negotiations critics say

Moby has sold more than 20 million records worldwide, with his 1999 album Play receiving both critical and commercial success. 

A well know vegan and animal rights advocate, Moby is working alongside Humane Society International (HSI), ahead of COP26, to call on leaders to help transition the world towards a plant-based future. 

Over 88 billion land animals are raised and slaughtered every year and this contributes between 14.5 and 16.5 per cent of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, a figure on par with the transport sector, according to figures from the NGO.

Land clearing to create farmland to feed and raise animals remains one of the livestock industry's biggest impacts, along with methane from cattle. 

HSI’s Stefanie McNerney argues that historically animal agriculture has been “sidelined” during previous intergovernmental climate change negotiations and needs more attention at this month’s COP26 talks.

“(We’re) calling upon world leaders to address animal agriculture at COP 26, and to to really… include it in the mitigation policies and measures that are discussed at the conference,” she told Yahoo News from Washington DC.

G20 leaders fail to commit to net zero by 2050 target

The UN has singled out agriculture, along with fossil fuels and waste, as key areas to address, and while the United States and European Union have pledged to cut methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, Australia has rejected committing, with its Prime Minister Scott Morrison citing concerns the measure will impact farmers.

Animal agriculture is responsible for large amounts of deforestation, including much of the Amazon rainforest. Source: Getty
Animal agriculture is responsible for large amounts of deforestation, including much of the Amazon rainforest. Source: Getty

Responding to Australia's rejection of the methane reduction target, Moby said while he empathises with cattle farmers, "no one will have a job on a planet (if it can no longer) support human life".

"They're worthy of our concern, but (they're a small portion) of the human population that we're worried about at the risk of destroying life for the 99.999 per cent of the rest of us," he said.

"Future generations, if there are future generations, they will look back and just simply be like: what were you thinking?

"There was a clear solution and (you) chose not to take it because of short-term political expediency."

Call for governments to support plant-based foods

While the fossil fuel industry has come under pressure from the general public, Ms McNerney believes animal agriculture is yet to receive the same amount of global pressure.

The prospect of changing our diets to reduce emissions, appears to be a harder sell than switching to electric vehicles or installing solar panels.

“It's not easy to change. People don't necessarily want to change what they're eating or change their diets,” Ms McNerney said.

“Particularly with meat consumption, it's been a very fraught topic.”

HSI want to see governments shift from encouraging meat consumption and embrace plant-based foods. Source: Getty
HSI want to see governments shift from encouraging meat consumption and embrace plant-based foods. Source: Getty

Acknowledging the public's sensitivity around diet, Ms McNerney said HSI are not asking governments to dictate what people eat, but instead simply shift their support from the agriculture to plant based industries.

With growing acceptance in plant-based foods in several world markets including the US and Australia, and investment in the products coming from, among others, beef production giants Tysons and Cargill, she would like to see governments make it easier for consumers to access plant based foods.

“This is not a trend, this is here to stay,” she said.

“This is where the world is shifting to and I think we just need to push that shift along.”

Moby accepting 'impermanence" of life amid crisis

Living in fire-prone California, Moby has witnessed the worsening impact of climate change up close and is preparing what he predicts will be an "overwhelming" future.

With individuals unable to the world's current trajectory, he argues there is no point "driving yourself insane" and instead encourages people to enjoy life.

"So in the meantime, do what you can and hug your family and read your favourite books and drink a cup of tea, and just accept that things are impermanent," he said.

"And unfortunately, that impermanence is on an accelerated scale."

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