Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am has been criticised for travelling to a climate change meeting in Oxford in a private helicopter.
The 37 year old pop star’s 286 mile round trip is estimated to have used about 72 gallons of fuel, emitting three quarters of a tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The judge on ‘The Voice’ tweeted pictures of his “hip.hop.copter” upon landing in Oxford University Parks.
The Black Eyed Peas star later spoke at the Radcliffe Observatory Weather Centre as a guest speaker alongside Dr Myles Allen, Professor of Geosystem Science at Oxford University’s School of Geography and Environment and the Department of Physics. The talk focused on the use of creative technology to understand climate change.
Will.i.am called for clarity during the hour long event, slamming public confusion over environmental issues.
The star argued, “[Climate change] should be the thing that we all should be worried and concerned about as humans on this planet – how we affect the planet, our consumption, and how we treat the place that we live in.’
“So you would think that it would be the most important thing. But it is confusing that it is not. If you ask a random person walking down the street how important climate change [is], they have been given five different versions of why it is not even an issue. That’s confusing. Who is causing the confusion and why isn’t it a priority?’
Will.i.am, who is Director of Creative Technology at Intel, came to Oxford to promote the computer giant’s ‘Progress Thru Processors’ initiative, which enables computer users to donate their processing power while their computers are idle. In talks with Dr Allen, the musician discussed ‘weatherathome’, an initiative examining the effects of climate change around the world.
Dr Allen defended Will.i.am against accusations of hypocrisy, praising the singer’s environmental knowledge. He said, “It was inspiring to see that Will was so enthusiastic and well informed about how we are trying to use computer technology to improve our understanding about our climate futures.”
“A better understanding of the problems is probably more important than whether Will flies a helicopter from London to Oxford.”
Will.i.am has previously voiced his support for environmental causes, encouraging the use of technology to slow climate change. In his 2009 song ‘Take our Planet Back’, he asked, “If we’re so technological / Why’re we still burnin’ oil? / Cause I got a car you plug into the wall.”
Vicky Clayton, New College’s Environment and Ethics Rep-Elect said, ‘Of course arriving in a helicopter (and tweeting pictures of the ‘hip.hop.copter’) does not send the right message at all and Will.i.am should practise what he preaches but it’s a shame that all that will be remembered about such a great discussion of the role of technology in climate change is a guest speaker’s hypocrisy.’
The star later flew to Taunton to carry the Olympic torch as it travels around Britain before the Games. He tweeted, ‘It’s nuts here in taurnton [sic]…so much excitement…’