The Guardian's Duncan Clark reports:
The giant sash windows of Oxford's spectacular Radcliffe Observatory were designed to provide astronomers the best possible view of the starry heavens. But on Monday I found myself using them to scour the skies for something altogether less likely: a helicopter carrying rap superstar Will.i.am to the university to discuss, of all things, distributed climate change modelling.
Despite Clark's efforts to bring up the chopper conundrum, Will.i.am. dodged the question and talked about the influence of social media on the global warming awareness instead. In the end, it made the journalist just a little uncomfortable.
Before I could ask any more questions, Will.i.am had to dash off for a date with the Olympic torch. As the crew piled into a car to go back to the airfield, he left me with a line about the relationship of plastic bottles to plasticity of the mind. I wasn't sure exactly what he meant but it sounded good.
While I strolled back to train station, I looked up him up on Twitter and read that he was "about to leave Oxford in the hip.hop.copter". I found myself feeling a bit torn. On the one hand, it's hard to believe that we can make much progress if our green stars travel around in vehicles that get as little as one mile to the gallon . And I'm not sure I share his optimism about solving the problem in a bottom up way.
You know, it's not easy to live by green principles. Even the most extreme composters compromise at some level. But farting around in a helicopter and then showing up to a climate change talk? That shit don't fly.