Sebastian Copeland is a photographer and environmental activist. Copeland grew up in France and Britain, and graduated from UCLA in 1987 with a major in film. Throughout the 1990’s, Copeland directed commercials – everything from soft drinks to sportswear – as well as music videos. He is also known for his celebrity portraiture; he’s taken pictures of Sandra Bullock, Kate Bosworth, and Orlando Bloom (who is also his cousin), among others. In recent years, Copeland has focused on environmental activism. He serves on the Board of Directors of Global Green USA and recently published Antarctica: The Global Warning
Question: Is it fair to ask developing countries to go green?
Copeland: Well of course developing countries do not have any more right to pollute than we do. What is difficult is to promote a message of environmental responsibility when our own activities are not specifically promoting such a sense of responsibility. And that is ultimately the cross roads that we are now facing, because as China grows and develops . . . And of course China has a tremendous potential need for energy, and a great amount of resources, specifically in coal, by virtue are the example that we have set. And by that I mean we have become wealthy as a . . . as an economy relying on hydrocarbon fuels. And much of it was . . . was coal as well. It is difficult to have a dialogue of conservation, and protection, and environmental awareness, and a message of sustainability when the present state of technology is such that to use renewable technologies is still at its infancy in some respects. Don’t get me wrong. It’s been around for some time, but the . . . to allocate the R&D money . . . the research and development programs to maximize and optimize those technologies is a type of commitment that requires monies that are not as, you know, readily . . . you know used or applied as using known technologies that are accessible immediately. And of course with that I’m referring to hydrocarbon fuel technologies. So the Third World . . . I mean sorry. The developing world . . . and I’m sorry for this mishap. But the developing world is faced with that level of responsibility in the same way that we are, except that they’re looking at us and going well five percent of the world’s population, 25 percent of it is greenhouse gases and pollution. Who are you to give us directives? And that’s really . . . that’s a problematic, especially when a developing world is using every resource that they have in order to promote their growth and their economic growth. Recorded on: 12/3/07