Av Emilia Amper, 6 januari 2020
This year has brought me to some important decisions. The biggest one, I think, is that due to the climate crisis I have stopped flying. My last flight was getting home from the US in April, and now I only tour staying on the ground. People ask me how it’s going, but it feels like I don’t really know yet… I mean, so far I’ve turned down tours in the US, Egypt and Algeria, and the rest of my concerts have been quite close to Sweden so that has been fine. It has sometimes taken me longer to get to the concerts, but that has been fine… It feels good to tour on the ground and also for the stressed body and mind: to travel slower! I’m looking forward to starting taking the train down to continental Europe to see what that is like!
I realize that in some way it is a privilege to “be able” to make this decision. I don’t have family in countries on the other side of the world, I have my main scene + “home” genre (Swedish folk/world music) + most of my colleagues in Sweden and the other Nordic countries, there are ok train connections here. I am established enough to not stress about getting enough gigs. I also have already travelled so much! To lots of wonderful places all around the world. I really miss my friends in countries far away and it makes me sad to think that I won’t be seeing them, at least for quite a long while, and all the missed musical moments and artistic possibilities that just won’t happen now, and all the places I won’t see. But, when you think about it, how privileged isn’t that, to even feel sorry for yourself for this? The majority of people on Earth never travel anywhere. Sometimes it really makes me sick to think about how privileged we are (in the rich Western world for example) and how natural it is for us to feel we can and should have exactly everything we want… “Know your privilege” is a super important motto that I try to remember always, and think a lot about.
In history, musicians always travelled on the ground, slowly. What artistic inspirations and possibilities and situations will this decision CREATE, that would not have happened otherwise? I’m curious to see! And who could take on this challenge of essential urgent transition in the world with more power, love and creativity than artists? Probably no one!
To sum this up: who should stop flying if not me? I can’t NOT make this decision. Also, people talk about “thinking of the future of our children”. What do you mean “future” of “our” children? I don’t need to think about the future of my daughter, who happens to be a rich (globally compared), middle class, white Swedish child of parents with a high education, and will not be the first to be affected by all this, to realize that this is URGENT! The climate crisis is already here! It IS already taking lives and affecting the lives of children and people all around the world, except they happen to be mostly black or brown people and very often indigenous people… Animals are already going extinct, and eco systems are already being totally destroyed. It really is high time to act, act as much as you can, on as many levels as you can. What can you do? DO it!
So if you turn it around: What does all the experiences, cultural meetings, art that you create, wonderful moments for you right now, matter, if this destroys our environment and unique eco systems and animal species are lost forever, if it creates extreme draughts, forest fires out of control, floodings, storms and ill-growth that leads to famine, mass migration and war? Then we can’t see it as a “privilege” to “be able to stop flying”, being able to act, to make this transition in our lives. We all just have to do this.