Rock legend David Gilmour of Pink Floyd has auctioned off his guitars including the iconic “black strat” used to record much of Dark Side of the Moon, and donated the $21 million to fighting climate change. As a donation to the climate cause it’s on the small side—a mere drop in the bucket compared to the revenues typical of the green movement. But it’s a helpful reminder of where the money in this business is.
Gilmour also did an up-tempo version of “Time”, claiming “the global climate crisis is the greatest challenge that humanity will ever face, and we are within a few years of the effects of global warming being irreversible.” Does he really believe these things or does he just like the way they sound? As a historian I know a thing or two about the challenges humanity has faced, but honestly anyone who has even a grade school education must have heard of the Black Plague that killed half of Europe in the 1340s, or World War I that killed 15 million over five years, followed by the Spanish flu in 1919 that killed 50 million more; followed by World War II that killed 60 million.
And we are within a few years of events on this scale? Given how much climate has changed in the past, and the fact that people have not only survived global warming up to this point but have prospered magnificently, aren’t you selling both Gaia’s resilience and the ingenuity of the human race a bit short here?
Gilmour’s willingness to spend his own money not someone else’s remains welcome. Maybe when the planet doesn’t end by 2025 or 2030 or whenever “a few years” is he will demand some of it back. It’s just too bad that before taking this stand he didn’t listen one more time to Dark Side of the Moon, particularly the lyric (from Time) that “you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking” and you never do, because we seem to be heading into a solar minimum likely to produce a chilling effect.