We speak to Ellie Goulding about WWF's Earth Hour and her role in the fight against global warming and climate change
Words by Victoria Fell
Ellie Goulding is best known as the double BRIT-winning, Grammy-nominated star who reduced us to tears with her version of Elton John’s Your Song for the 2010 John Lewis Christmas advert and brought the fire to the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack. However, one thing you might not know about Ellie Goulding is the amount of charity work that she does: Ellie has worked extensively with the homeless charity Shelter and is vocal on social media and in person about the effects of global warming and climate change.
As a result of her work in the fight to save the planet’s future, Ellie was appointed UN Environment Global Goodwill Ambassador in 2017 and has fronted the WWF’s Earth Hour campaign since 2017.
Earth Hour sees people all over the world make a symbolic show of solidarity for the planet, with most choosing to go ‘lights out’ for 60 minutes. Last year, around 9 million people took part in the UK and the event has taken place in more than 180 countries, with Big Ben, the Sydney Opera House and even then Eiffel Tower joining in with the switch-off. This year, WWF is asking everyone who cares about our planet to make a promise to protect it.
We spoke to Ellie about Earth Hour, the small changes she has made to help the planet and the eco-friendly products that she cannot live without.
How did you become involved with the WWF?
I’ve been interested in wildlife since I was a kid – I grew up in the countryside, immersed in nature. I’ve also travelled the world a few times and you get a good perspective of not only the climate, but of what is going on. I really respect everything that the WWF do and they contacted me when I started to increase my posts on social media about climate change and how it affects the planet.
The statistics behind Earth Hour are shocking. Were there any that stood out to you in particular?
The fact that one in six of the planet’s species are currently at risk of extinction from climate change really got to me. I also attended an environmental summit in Nairobi last December and spoke to Clean Seas about plastics in the ocean. If we carry on the way we are, thirty years from now, we are going to get a to a point of no return.
Tell me about your recent trip to Greenland and the Arctic
It was a really eye-opening trip. I got to see the Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland (widely believed to have produced the iceberg that sunk the Titanic in 1912), which was incredibly beautiful and awe-inspiring, but rapidly shrinking. I saw the whole glacier from a helicopter with a glaciologist and got the low-down on how glaciers move and melt. The bottom line is that I could see how Greenland is one of the places at the forefront of climate change. Big ships and ferries are now able to pass through areas that were previously impossible to cross because the ice was so thick. As much as that’s great for tourism, it is a sign that things aren’t right.
What small changes have you adopted?
I think it’s quite fun to take a flask, I have one and take it round every where with me. I would also say cutting down meat is really, really important. I became vegetarian six years ago and I don’t eat any meat or fish. The way we farm meet is not sustainable; once I learned the implications and the effect that meat had on the planet, I didn’t see any reason to eat it any more.
What ethical brands do you recommend?
Oh I use absolutely loads – I think its’ so awesome when brands are eco-friendly and eco-conscious! Tata Harper’s skincare range is fantastic – it isn’t cheap, but the results are really worth it.
I also use Neom, which is an organic candle brand. I need as much relaxation as I can get! I absolutely love these things called Mindful Bites, too. I took a whole backpack of them to Kenya because I wasn’t sure what I would be able to eat out there. I’ve actually made Whole Foods sell out of them a few times because I buy them in bulk – they really are heavenly.
How will you spend Earth Hour?
I think I’ll be in the studio to be honest, but there’s so much going on there with the lights and electricity… I will one hundred per cent persuade people to take an hour out!
Can you sum up the importance of Earth Hour for us?
It’s a symbolic thing – nine million people in the UK got involved last year and it’s a sign that people want to do something to help. Earth Hour is about creating a global movement to show local and global leaders around the world that things need to change. I don’t think people understand how much power they have!
Earth Hour 2018 takes place on 24th March from 8.30 t0 9.30pm