July 15, 2002 – The sound of a mother crying, a scream of frustration, the sounds of clock ticking, a kookaburra calling, a beer bottle opening, the whirr of a chainsaw, a tiger’s roar, the sound of silence… noises reflecting our world under threat.

Thousands of people – including Radiohead singer Thom Yorke and writer Arundhati Roy – will be sending sound messages to this year’s Earth Summit, via a new audio web-site launched by Friends of the Earth today.

Friends of the Earth has created the site to provide people around the world with the chance to send a noise to the Summit, to show world leaders that they want action taken to protect the environment and people from exploitation by unaccountable global corporations. Individuals can choose a sound to send to the Summit, or record their own noise or message to show how their world is under threat.

Radio Earth Summit will also provide news, features and interviews with individuals from around the world in the run up to the Summit, which takes place in Johannesburg from 26th August to 4th September 2002.

Messages so far include a hard-hitting interview with the internationally-renowned anti-dam campaigner and Booker prize-winning author Arundhati Roy, a message of support from Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke, and Ricardo Navarro of Friends of the Earth International talking about the impact of corporations in El Salvador. Noises people have recorded and sent in include the sound of the Sumatran gibbon, under threat from logging activities in Indonesia, and the hissing sound of polluting gas, released by petrochemical plants in South Africa [1].

“As a writer, it’s not my home that’s going under water, under the dams in the Narmada, but it’s my world view and as a writer, my world view is more personal to me than my home.” Arundhati Roy, in an exclusive interview with Radio Earth Summit.

The sounds sent to the site will provide a soundscape for Friends of the Earth International’s (FOEI) giant art installation, on display outside the Earth Summit [2].

Friends of the Earth is calling on world leaders meeting at the Earth Summit to introduce a new treaty on global rules for big business [3], providing protection for local communities and the environment. The call has already received the support of NGOs and campaigners around the world – and the environmental organisation is calling on politicians at the Summit to listen to what communities and their representatives have to say.

Liana Stupples of Friends of the Earth, said: “This Summit will be crucial in determining the future of our planet. Either we choose to act and regulate our behaviour – and this means regulating the behaviour of international business – or we sit back and watch the gap between rich and poor widen, while our natural environment is destroyed. The noises and messages of support on Radio Earth Summit reflect the real issues at stake here. We are talking about the threat to people’s health from pollution; about communities’ livelihoods being destroyed by deforestation; about countries under threat from climatic change. We want people to send their messages to world leaders via Radio Earth Summit – but most of all, we want government leaders around the world to listen to what they have to say and take action to protect the planet.”

Radio Earth Summit will broadcast on-line throughout the Summit, providing news and comment – with updates and more interviews added to the site every day. All audio from the site is downloadable and can be broadcast copyright free.

[1]  A transcript of the interview with Arundhati Roy is available from the press office at Friends of the Earth.
[2] Friends of the Earth International is working with local artists and community centres in South Africa to build a giant art installation, representing the struggle of individuals against corporate power. The installation will be unveiled during the Earth Summit. Further information from the press office at Friends of the Earth.
[3] For more information about Friends of the Earth’s campaign for corporate accountability – and for more information about the Earth Summit, contact the press office.