Exclusive Vivienne Westwood essay: ‘It’s not too late.. we must act now for change’


The iconic fashion designer launches Salt’s #KeepItClean campaign against George Osborne’s energy cuts with a visceral essay on the stark dangers of climate change.

“Dear George… We are trapped on Earth by our own lies. We have abused our world for so long that we take it for granted that there is no other way to behave. We like things as they are and we learnt to love lies. Lies are good for you – they make you feel better.

Lie 1: “I love my new baby and my new trainers and I want to get back to work soon and carry on as normal. I thought things were getting a bit tough but we just sold our house in Chelsea for £10million and bought our house here in Clapham for £1.25million.”

Lie 2: “Well, I’m really worried about what’s going on in the world. We came home from Paris last night and we were really late. Migrants in the tunnel. I couldn’t help thinking, poor people, though my husband was really cheesed off. But he does worry. He funds really CO2-heavy industry at the bank. He does well. If he didn’t do it, somebody else would.”

Lie 3: Do you know the GAIA theory? I’ll tell you. The originator was scientist James Lovelock, he thought of it in the 1970s. Gaia is the name of the earth goddess and James Lovelock wanted us to get the idea that the earth was alive, that she behaves as if she is alive because she self-regulates, adjusts her temperature in relation to the life forms of her biosphere. The earth has never been so rich in biodiversity and is capable of the most subtle adjustments. Even though she’s nearer to the sun she can maintain her equilibrium. She keeps us cool. But we are polluting and killing and cutting her biodiversity. What can we do? I think it’s so important to talk.”

Lie 4: “My daughter would love to hear about what you’ve just said. She’s seven-years-old, she’s so passionate about wildlife; he wants to save all the animals. I’m very happy with her school.”

These women don’t realise the urgency of the danger we are in because it’s covered by lies. We are the last generation who can stop climate change and save the world from mass extinction.

Lies, lies, lies and more lies

Lies! We are paralysed by organised lying. By politicians, working for the central banks and the giant monopolies. The press, that is, the dominant mainstream media, not only repeat the lies but also provide the most effective propaganda of all: non-stop distraction.

The biggest lie is that nothing has changed.

It’s terrifying to think that the illusion of the reality is the norm; that it has pervaded one’s whole being. We have lived our lives by this propaganda and we have internalised it as the norm. The danger we face is so alien to our view that we cannot accept it. As an activist I feel like an alien talking to people.

How do we activists get through? Before the facts are on us and it is too late – how do we see through the lies?

People struggling to lead a normal life in the UK now realise that if George Osborne cuts their income by £1,000 they go below the poverty line.

What’s more, Osborne has launched an ideological war on the green energy industry – the way forward for cheaper, cleaner and more equitable energy. He’s proposed an 87 per cent reduction in government support to the Feed in Tariff (FiT), while maintaining subsidies to fossil fuels – which cuts out crowd investors and community projects. Investor confidence is low and prospects for future renewable energy projects is very uncertain.

These cuts are too deep and too quick for any but the biggest sites and biggest investors in renewables to survive. So we’re fighting the government on this. Please see my video below, and I urge you to create your own video and upload it to Twitter with the hash tags #KeepItClean #WeAreSalt


To all those who know what’s going on but do nothing I say, your knowledge is lies, your time is spent discussing lies; to these who think there is no alternative to our present financial system I say, you are living the lie; and you will die by the lie.

Now what response do I expect to get from people who take these statements as an attack on them? Spirited rejection, I expect; but I beg you to hesitate.

I don’t like to be rude but I am desperate to tell the truth. In that moment of hesitation you will realise: one is riddled with lies! There is a truth out there; the truth of a better world.

The ones who really do know what’s going on are the thousands of NGOs and charities. And they are doing a lot. My NGO is Climate Revolution. We are all working to stop the world governments from wrecking the world. So much is happening.

 I formed Climate Revolution with my friend Cynthia King – we simply named what was already happening. Throughout the world, in every walk of life people are changing their values. Save a plastic bag and you have already begun to think. We wanted to be a focus for that. And we link with other NGOs so that we all speak with the same voice.

My fashion and my activism support each other – they are driven by the same motor. “I want a better world.” I say, “Buy less, choose well, make it last.” It’s about quality not quantity.

I use my green politics for graphics on clothes and our shows have these themes. I use every opportunity to open my mouth for our activism. We will fuse our fashion website with Climate Revolution.

I try to select, analyse and concentrate the most important information so people can cut through the lies and face the reality.


Crimes against humanity

The People’s March for Climate, Justice and Jobs march will be very much against austerity and also will represent massive opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The TTIP is so inhuman.

I spoke at a rally for TTIP and I was in shock. How come we’re only just coming to understand what’s going on? How come we’re only just learning about these trade agreements, NAFTA, for example, which make use of Investment and State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)?

Politicians are criminals and I think they’re proud of being criminals; every one of their policies is a crime against humanity. The absolute proof is that they want to sign TTIP. They think it’s fine but TTIP lets the giants wreck your country and poison the water.

TTIP is a crime. Fracking, austerity, climate change and killing bees are CRIMES.

I think of the CRIMINALS as playing a game together with the monopolies and the banks – the revolving door. The monopolies are the GIANTS and the central banks are the faceless evil.

We have sold our soul, not for power, but for nothing – we’ve been tricked by the Joker. And who is the Joker? He’s Mephistopheles, the entertainer, the distractor, the illusionist and the liar: the mainstream media, the press. I think Marlowe’s play, Dr Faustus, could be reworked.

Is there a chance to save the world?

My friend Pamela Anderson helps me a lot. She made sure that Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd came to our fashion show in Paris. He has political asylum there and finally I met him. He was co-founder of Greenpeace. Sea Shepherd has been successful in preventing illegal shipping and protecting endangered species.

The first thing I asked Paul was, “Is there a chance to save the world?” He said, “We are not too late. We must regenerate the seas. The seas give us 80 per cent of everything we need: oxygen, waste disposal, and it sequesters 80 per cent of CO2.”

The game is up

I will join Paul at the COP21 mobilisation campaign and hopefully take part in the initiative which was launched by Nicolas Hulot, head of state for Dare.

I will pick out three essential propositions to show that we are talking about concrete implementation. It begins, “We, the citizens of the world, call on the politicians at the heads of the richest and highest greenhouse gas emitting countries to finally rise to the challenge of climate change.

You must:

1. Regulate finance at long last

2. Put an end to abuses by multinationals

3. Clean up public spending and stop the investment in fossil fuels

How can you help?

Get involved and write your own complaints to Mr Osborne and tweet #KeepItClean #WeAreSalt to @Salt_Now. Also follow us and comment on @Salt_Now and Salt Magazine on Facebook.

Why not join our celebrity columnists and post your own video or photo to Twitter with a card urging Mr Osborne to #KeepItClean? Click here for downloadable #KeepItClean cards.

Here’s some we made earlier…