Turn off your faucet to fight climate change, rock icon Patti Smith says

by Ellen Wulfhorst | @EJWulfhorst | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 15 September 2017 21:38 GMT

Singer Patti Smith performs at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen August 13, 2015. REUTERS/Erik Refner/Scanpix Denmark

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"It's important not to be drawn into a state of pessimism or a state of paralysis" - rock star Patti Smith

By Ellen Wulfhorst

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Fighting global warming in a hostile political environment starts with small acts like "turning off the faucet when you're brushing your teeth," musician Patti Smith said on Friday while promoting a concert against climate change.

The concert at New York's Carnegie Hall in November will feature Smith, folk singer Joan Baez and other artists and activists supporting an international pact against global warming reached two years ago.

Under the climate deal reached in Paris, nearly 200 nations agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, to help protect from droughts, extreme weather and rising seas associated with global warming.

President Donald Trump has decided to pull the United States out of the accord, saying it would cost the nation trillions of dollars, kill jobs and hinder industry.

"It's important not to be drawn into a state of pessimism or a state of paralysis. One has to take a breath and rise above it," Smith said at a news conference at the United Nations headquarters.

"One has to do it every single day, from picking up a little bit of litter to turning off the faucet when you're brushing your teeth."

Considered an icon of rock'n'roll and punk music, Smith, 70, is known for her album "Horses" and songs "Gloria" and "Because the Night." She has written several books including a memoir "Just Kids" and "Devotion," released this week.

The "Pathway to Paris" concert on Nov. 5 comes on the eve of a U.N. Convention on Climate Change being held in Bonn, Germany, where world leaders are meeting to advance the aims of the Paris agreement.

"To have these celebrations, a concert like this, where you're able to reach a few thousand people that can speak to a few thousand other people, it's a way to keep things moving from hand to hand and from voice to voice," Smith said.

Others slated to appear are musicians Flea, Cat Power and Michael Stipe. The concert is being organized by Pathway to Paris, a group of artists and activists co-founded by Smith's daughter, Jesse Paris Smith.

"It's everyone's fight," the younger Smith said at the news conference.

"When musicians or artists say 'I don't know the facts. I don't know what to do,' I want to say, 'Excuse me, you've got a microphone, a stage, an audience and a following. You have a responsibility to communicate these important messages to people,'" she said. (Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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