Turn off your faucet to fight climate change, rock icon Patti Smith says

Patti Smith performs on the Pyramid stage at Worthy Farm in Somerset during the Glastonbury Festival June 28, 2015. — Reuters pic
Patti Smith performs on the Pyramid stage at Worthy Farm in Somerset during the Glastonbury Festival June 28, 2015. — Reuters pic

GENEVA, Sept 16 — Fighting global warming in a hostile political environment starts with small acts like “turning off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth,” musician Patti Smith said yesterday while promoting a concert against climate change.

The concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall in November will feature Smith, folk singer Joan Baez and other artists and activists supporting an international pact against global warming reached two years ago.

Under the climate deal reached in Paris, nearly 200 nations agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, to help protect from droughts, extreme weather and rising seas associated with global warming.

President Donald Trump has decided to pull the United States out of the accord, saying it would cost the nation trillions of dollars, kill jobs and hinder industry.

“It’s important not to be drawn into a state of pessimism or a state of paralysis. One has to take a breath and rise above it,” Smith said at a news conference at the United Nations headquarters.

“One has to do it every single day, from picking up a little bit of litter to turning off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth.”

Considered an icon of rock’n’roll and punk music, Smith, 70, is known for her album Horses and songs Gloria and Because the Night. She has written several books including a memoir Just Kids and Devotion, released this week.

The “Pathway to Paris” concert on Nov 5 comes on the eve of a UN Convention on Climate Change being held in Bonn, Germany, where world leaders are meeting to advance the aims of the Paris agreement.

“To have these celebrations, a concert like this, where you’re able to reach a few thousand people that can speak to a few thousand other people, it’s a way to keep things moving from hand to hand and from voice to voice,” Smith said.

Others slated to appear are musicians Flea, Cat Power and Michael Stipe. The concert is being organised by Pathway to Paris, a group of artists and activists co-founded by Smith’s daughter, Jesse Paris Smith.

“It’s everyone’s fight,” the younger Smith said at the news conference.

“When musicians or artists say ‘I don’t know the facts. I don’t know what to do,’ I want to say, ‘Excuse me, you’ve got a microphone, a stage, an audience and a following. You have a responsibility to communicate these important messages to people,’” she said. — Thomson Reuters Foundation

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