In honor of Rolling Stone’s Climate Crisis Issue, we asked artists to contribute messages about what they, their governments, and everyday people can do to stand up to the threat of climate change. From England to Jamaica to the United States, we are hearing from artists and activists around the world about what we can do locally, globally, and everything in between.
Natalie Mering, who performs as Weyes Blood, put out a record on Sub Pop last spring called Titanic Rising, about what she calls “the hubris of man and this sense of impending doom.” On the record, Mering grapples with the real, and yet to be realized, threats of climate change. “A lot’s gonna change, in your lifetime,” she croons.
But Mering argues that creating art, and inspiring and changing minds within her fanbase, is not enough. “I also try to do things that have a more direct result. I do feel like, as an artist, when you create and write songs about these issues,” Mering says, “you can get far, but I do find that we function within an echo chamber.”
Mering says she’s heard from fans that embrace her music but not her message. Feeling like she’s been unable to convert the masses solely through her art, she got involved in the (now-suspended) Bernie 2020 campaign. “I found that really supporting a candidate that believes in a Green New Deal, and a huge, sweeping federal response to this issue, is really our best hope,” says Mering.
The focus of her issue attention is the oceans. “Taking care of the ocean will certainly benefit us in the long run. It’s kind of like this very elemental force that if it acidifies, and gets to the point where it can’t sustain as much life, we’re looking at huge swaths of dead zone,” says Mering. She advocates for mangrove restoration and sensible fishing practices as a solution for our oceans.
When it comes to government action on climate change, Mering points to a carbon tax, the Green New Deal proposed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and strengthening the response to pandemics and natural disasters. “And especially if natural disasters become more prevalent, having an abundance of medical supplies, hazard pay for people supplying food, these things are going to keep coming up in different contexts. And right now we’re dealing with a little preview of what very-well could happen if we experience some major climate disasters,” says Mering.
Mering encourages people to use resources like Patagonia Action Works to find local environmental causes and organizations. She also stresses voting and campaigning for candidates working on climate change, limiting single-use plastics, and traveling sustainably. “And lastly what you can do is you can really join the movement,” she says. “Maybe it’s just a matter of finding out what you can solve locally.”