Just Stop Oil activist Louise Harris’s new climate crisis single We Tried has hit number one in the UK iTunes singles chart one week after its release, overtaking the likes of Dua Lipa and the Beatles. Now, Louise is aiming for Christmas Number one – with the likes of Chris Packham backing her:
Louise Harris: rising up the charts
The climate anthem, backed by Packham, Brian Eno, and Christiana Figueres (Chief Negotiator of the 2015 Paris Agreement), immediately entered the Big Top 40 Chart from Global – announced number 27 on Sunday 26 November and number 26 on Sunday 3 December. This is the first time a song about the climate crisis has achieved such popularity. Louise will be donating all proceeds to climate causes.
Up until now, Louise was only known for being the Just Stop Oil protestor who filmed herself crying on top of a gantry over the M25, her emotional testimony going internationally viral this time last year. This protest led to Louise’s arrest, and she was remanded to prison for eight days. She has now re-entered the public eye, however, with a powerful song and music video “about the climate crisis and what will happen if we don’t act”.
She recently sang the song outside of Rishi Sunak’s house as part of a Just Stop Oil protest and was unexpectedly arrested. As she posted on X, the implication is the cops won’t let her perform We Tried live:
Now facing a suspended sentence, Louise has turned to music to express her grief, despair and anger at the escalating climate crisis and lack of appropriate action from governments.
We Tried is deliberately written from the perspective of our currently projected future of irreversible climate catastrophe (“We ran out of time…oh well, we tried”). Louise hopes this song will allow people to feel how they would feel if this future happened – and then use that feeling to spur themselves into the only hopeful solution left: collective climate action.
The powerful music video centres on a tear-stricken Louise and is interspersed with childhood videos, footage of politicians, climate victims and activist movements past and present. The emotive lyrics talk of an avoidable defeat: “Well, maybe we were meant to win… but not enough good drowned out the sin… they watched the world cave in”.
The video fades to footage of Louise’s famous gantry action where she pleads through tears: “I’m here because I don’t have a future…Why does it take young people like me, up on a fucking gantry on the M25, for you to listen?”.
It ends with the message: “It’s not too late to avoid irreversible climate catastrophe. “There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all” [IPCC Report, March 2023]. We have time – but not for long. Join collective action today”:
“No-one is exempt” from the climate crisis
I wrote “We Tried” back in July 2022, three days after my 24th birthday, an age which children born today may never reach. The song expresses feelings of grief, anger, a longing to be taken somewhere else, and exhaustion at living in a world where you are constantly being gaslit – by the media, politicians, and, hardest of all, by people you love.
The message of my song and video is this: The climate crisis affects me and my family, you and yours. No-one is exempt. It has been created by a few handfuls of people in power who, I’ve concluded, must not know what love is. But what matters is – I know what love is. You know what love is. We know. And together, we outnumber the people in power 8 billion times over. So what are we waiting for? We must come together, and act – not as individuals, but as a collective – through civil disobedience; protest; a mass movement. Can we truthfully say ‘we tried’?
Where are all the songs and films and plays about this life-threatening emergency? Music and art have a unique power to move people emotionally, and empower them into action. Historically, they have been instrumental in bringing about social change, in sparking revolutions. It’s time to do it again. After all – if art can’t change the world, what can?
We Tried is not ‘lovely’. It’s fucking horrific.
This climate anthem is just the beginning of Louise’s music activism journey, with plans to release an entire climate album in 2024, if she reaches her goal of £20,000. You can donate to her crowdfunder here.
Packham said of We Tried:
It’s a beautiful song. It’s melodic. It’s ‘catchy’, it’s ’pop’, it’s ’sing-along’. It’s lovely, isn’t it…?
No, it isn’t.
It’s fucking horrific, terrifying, and tragic. Listen to it, hear every desperate note, each lingering plea. Don’t just look at, see the pictures. Read the music, read the room, our planet’s youth in abject distress. This is their voice, their cry, their tears laid bare. So ask yourself: do you want this to be the ultimate anthem for doomed youth, a threnody for their funeral? It’s beautiful, beautiful for its razor sharp honesty, beautiful for its truth, beautiful for its purity of frightened heart.
Please listen, please learn, please act.
Former UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Figueres said:
I often talk about facing the climate and ecological crises head on: not shying away from the pain and in fact using it to generate the clarity of what needs to be done. Here’s a young woman doing just that with this song: musician and activist Louise Harris. A powerful song. Thank you Louise.
Download or stream We Tried on your preferred platform here and donate to Louise Harris’s crowdfunder here.
Featured image via Louise Harris/Just Stop Oil