Whose responsibility is climate change?
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: Whose responsibility is climate change?
Copeland: At least the process of change requires three components. Obviously there needs to be leadership at the political level, and leadership at the business level as well. We need business leaders to invest in renewable energies and sustainable developments. We need elected officials to be supporting those programs by subsidizing them and by creating incentives for investors to capitalize on those investments. And ultimately it necessitates individuals through advocacy and through this sense that they are demanding both from the business leaders by creating a market and a demand for this type of industry; as well as that asking their elected officials to properly represent them and their concerns. Because ultimately this is . . . This is the future that we’re discussing here. We may be saving all our monies for our children’s education, and to ensure that they have a great quality of life. And all the while we’re sacrificing of all of this money and investing that into their future financially; by the same token literally sabotaging those chances by being inactive with a future that will require more and more of a financial input in order to backtrack from the detrimental effects that we’re having on our environment. So you know . . . But between those three components, the one common denominator are individuals, business because leaders and politicians are individuals. And so my personal approach to the environmental advocacy is really to engage individuals and say it’s not a matter of pointing the finger to one set of individual or the other. We can always say we need the politicians to (01:00:22) be proactive. Or we need the business leaders to have vision. But at the end of the day we need to take responsibility. We need to be accountable. We need to examine what our daily footprint is onto this planet, because we have been conditioned for the last multiples of generations into behaving in a way that is unaccounted . . . unaccountable. And it is not something that you can blame a society for, you know . . . for not being responsible for. It’s something that you can blame a society for not taking action today now that we understand what is going on and what the onus of responsibility is on . . . on the future of our generation . . . for the future of our planet and of our societies. So ultimately really what it comes down to is individuals. And the only way that you can demand something out of your business leaders and demand something out of your elected officials is by fully understanding and digesting what it is that you’re actually doing yourself. What is your contribution, and how do you want that contribution to be reduced, or changed, or affected; and thereby inciting and engaging those different entities and help you in facilitating this? But as long as we have the cars . . . the SUVs polluting unnecessarily by consuming too much; and as long as we’ve got governments subsidizing those programs, we don’t have a shot. So it really takes those three elements, but the ground zero of it all is individuals. Recorded on: 12/3/07
We need business, government and individuals to cooperate actively, Copeland says.
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