Björk and Greta Thunberg in conversation: “We have to take turns in holding the torch”

Björk and Greta Thunberg have appeared in conversation on New Statesman’s World Review podcast – listen below.

  • READ MORE: Björk on the cover: “First you create a universe with sound, then you move into it”

Moderated by writer Kate Mossman, the latest episode of the podcast features a discussion between the artist and the activist, in which they speak about climate change, greenwashing, politics and more.

The pair had never met in person before, but they previously collaborated together on the environmental manifesto speech that played during Björk’s 2019 ‘Cornucopia tour’.

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Over the course of the chat, Björk and Thunberg spoke about their work (Thunberg’s new anthology The Climate Book and Björk’s new album ‘Fossora’), with Björk telling Thunberg: “I just read your book. And I’m inspired and sad, because the situation is worse even than we thought it was, but there are some hope-inspiring moments there, to encourage us to act.”

Later, Mossman asked: “Which is the more powerful approach for an artist or musician to take, localised action or communicating a global message?” to which Thunberg replied, “We have to act locally and think globally in everything we do. I focus mostly on the global things, but I do volunteer work here in Stockholm, anonymously.”

Björk added: “When I first got my platform in the 1990s, I agreed to do a few things and it frustrated me. Suddenly I was in this non-profit universe with a lot of hierarchy and politics. I felt that I could have the biggest impact on the environment at home, and give to one thing at a time; put all the eggs in the basket and follow it through.

“Obviously, it wasn’t me alone. There is a big group of environmentalists in Iceland; often, I’m the face of it, but it is a voluntary job, and it takes a lot of energy. We joke about it – we have to take turns in holding the torch, because people burn out. You get very exhausted.”

Last month, the Icelandic icon spoke to NME for the week’s Big Read cover story, where she described her enthusiasm for Gen-Z’s “radical” and evolving attitudes towards matters including the environment and gender equality.

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“I thought we’d be doing better with environmental things,” she said. “We reacted so strongly to the COVID pandemic; all governments worked and we invented the fucking vaccine in 10 months or something. It was a miracle for seven billion people. I would hope we would react as strongly to the environment.”

She continued: “Gen Z-ers are really radical, and I’m relieved that the environment is a priority for them – I’m up for it! When I read the news, most of it won’t matter in 20 years. The only thing that really matters is how we deal with the environment.”

Elsewhere in our Big Read cover story, Björk opened up about the making of ‘Fossora‘, dealing with the loss of her mother, having her children on the album, raving at home, politics in the US, her role in The Northman, and much more.