This is an environmental publication, so I can really only write this piece if I ask the following things: Did you know David Bowie was the headliner at the 1972 Friends of the Earth “Save the Whale” concert? Did you know the poster for that concert featured him perched on a harpoon? Did you know he donated (OK, deeply discounted the fee for) his song “Heroes” for use in “The Cove,” the 2009 documentary about dolphin hunting? Did you know he signed a petition urging climate action just this November? Used public transportation? Was compared to cicadas in a fabulously bizarre article in The Guardian? And did you know some creative individual manages a lyrics-powered Climate David Bowie account on Twitter?

There you have it: David Bowie, ersatz environmentalist.

Now that that’s out of the way, I can get to the other thing I’ve been thinking about. It was weird that his death inspired such an outpouring of grief from millions of (middle-aged, white) people this week, right? The pain was palpable. Unexpectedly so. And a lot of it has to do, I think, with how swiftly our planet and our personal environments have changed in recent years.