Ellie Goulding gives her tips on fighting climate change, from what documentaries to watch to how to reduce our carbon footprint...
Ellie Goulding has always been a climate change advocate, and whether it’s holding global warming documentary screenings or promoting the benefits of vegetarianism, she is not afraid to get her voice out there and use her platform for good.
She sat down to talk to us about the collaboration and inform us where to go from here…
Why isn’t there enough of a discussion about climate change?
‘There are such big problems in the world – there are people on the streets, people without housing, people without jobs and a lot of anger at the government. Climate change just doesn’t seem to be a priority. But actually if you think about it, everything we do – the air we breathe, the food we eat, our survival – is dependent on this planet being healthy, and more importantly existing. If we carry on being this destructive, there won’t be a planet – we will be nothing – so that’s why I feel that it’s the biggest priority.’
Are there any documentaries that you would recommend to better understand climate change?
‘I think that it’s important to see what we would lose so obviously David Attenborough is a good place to start. I can understand why people would much sooner go for a Netflix series than a David Attenborough series, but it just really fills you with gratitude about the planet you’ve been born onto and the things around you – the things that you can go and see, the things that you can experience – and that makes you really want to do something to preserve that. To see all those creatures that could become extinct and massively suffer because of what we’re doing to the planet – it’s a very harsh reality.
There are documentaries like Al Gor’s new Inconvenient Truth, Leo DiCaprio’s Before The Flood (it’s really good and also, it’s Leo!) and then there are countless Netflix documentaries about connecting your health and diet with the environment. Racing Extinction is a really good one too.’
When did you first get into sustainability?
‘I was always conscious of it when I was young and I was very conscious early on of recycling and just having an instinct that throwing out water bottles day after day probably wasn’t the right thing to do. I didn’t know anything about it – we definitely weren’t taught it in school – but I just had this feeling that something wasn’t right and there’s no way that you can throw away this amount of stuff and that it not be having some kind of effect on the planet.’
Does your fame make it hard for you to reduce your carbon footprint?
‘Through my job I very occasionally have to fly smaller planes with my band and crew and people say to me, “How can you be a climate change activist when you take so many flights?” I have to fly for my job and it’s just something that I have to accept. However, not eating meat brings your carbon footprint down to barely nothing – that’s how important it is to not eat meat if you’re conscious about the environment. It makes up for about 14% of all carbon emissions – which is huge actually – and it’s as big as what transport does negatively. So with that in mind, I could fly jets forever and still have a lower carbon footprint than the average person because I don’t eat meat.’
Has the last year in politics opened more conversations about climate change?
‘The idea of climate change being a hoax is to me just bonkers – it’s like when smoking was supposed to be good for you and then people realised that it wasn’t but it was covered up because there’s such a profit in it. It’s the same as that. I do feel positive that people are waking up though – people are really galvanising and coming together and protesting. It makes me so proud that people aren’t just passive anymore and think “oh that’s sad” and then move on. I’m really appreciative of that but it’s not enough and I think it’s all very well protesting but you have to make sacrifices in your own life.’
What is a simple change anyone can make to their lives to reduce their carbon footprint?
‘Cutting down on eating meat is the first thing you can do in yourself for sustainability and saving the environment. I’ve always been aware of it and that’s why I became a vegetarian when I was 14 – I didn’t actually know the environmental impact of the meat industry then but I just understood that eating animals was in some way wrong. I’ll never eat fish or meat again and I’m always an aspiring vegan. I hope that the world will catch up with veganism and it’s not that I don’t want to be fully vegan – I just empathise with people that find it hard. There’s no excuse for not being vegetarian anymore – it’s easy as anything, but being vegan is much more difficult.
I think the world is catching up with the idea that things need to be now much more thought out – sustainability needs to be much more considered. There needs to be more electric charge points for cars, more recycling points and much better ways to be vegan. We need vegan idols and a lot more vegan chefs – Jamie Oliver is really good with that stuff but it needs to be on the increase – I’m feeling really positive about it.’
Tell us about your bracelet…
‘We were trying to think of a way to reach out to young people and make it fashionable to be interested in climate change – collaborating with Daisy and the WWF seemed like the perfect way to open a conversation about it. A bracelet seemed like the most universal piece of jewellery to spread our message and we chose the polar bear as our symbol because it will be the animal to suffer the most out of climate change. We just wanted to remind people how beautiful the planet is – and the creatures on the planet in particular. Animals are suffering and dying out because of human action and that outraged me’
Where will the proceeds go?
‘We’re always learning about climate change so the money will go towards research. Climate change sceptics will say there’s not much evidence to prove that climate change is man made but I know that it is. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that we use the earth’s resources an insane amount and it’s not that hard to put two and two together. There are so many projects out there that all do their bit towards protecting the environment so the money will go to them.’
Do you have any expeditions in the pipeline?
‘We’re planning on going to Northern Canada, to see how they experience the effects of climate change first hand in their everyday life. But we’re also going to go to warmer places like South America that are having the other extremes. But I do also have to remember that I’m a musician and my priority is making a record and bringing that out next year so whatever I can do I’ll do.