Our planet is in crisis. The Arctic is burning. The ten hottest years in history have taken place since 2002. Humanity needs to act now if it’s going to stave off disaster. Fortunately, Google is doing exactly that.
As we speak, Google is hosting its annual top-secret Google Camp summit in Sicily. The camp exists to push the boundaries of this puny species and is filled with cerebral discussions informed by the climate emergency: how to design better cities, how to extend human life, how to continue the march of human rights in the face of almost insurmountable opposition. And because this is a summit of the greatest possible importance, Google has chosen to invite only the greatest possible minds.
By which I mean Katy Perry, obviously. And Bradley Cooper. And Stella McCartney and Nick Jonas and Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Cruise. And, if reports are to be believed, Google Camp may also be graced by the presence of noted genius Harry Styles from One Direction. Basically, we’re all saved and everything is OK.
It’s reported that this year’s event will focus on climate change, but some argue that it’s a great big knees-up, an excuse for Google to blow through $20 million of its profits luring the biggest names in all of entertainment to the seaside for a jolly. And, well, they probably make a really good point.
Katy Perry, obviously. And Bradley Cooper. And Stella McCartney and Nick Jonas and Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Cruise.
Because, of all the ways to combat climate change, inviting a tonne of movie stars to Sicily doesn’t exactly sound like the most efficient. Local Italian press reports have calculated that Google Camp attendees will arrive in 114 private jets, clogging the skies with a total of 100,000 kg of carbon dioxide in the process. Perry has been photographed pootling around the island in a Maserati SUV that can get only about 15 miles on a gallon of petrol. At a time when Greta Thunberg is hitching a ride on a boat across the Atlantic to minimise her carbon footprint, this isn’t exactly great optics. After all, Skype exists.
There was a time when this sort of thing would have been redundant. In the old days, celebrities could simply linger in the VIP section of Glastonbury or Coachella if they wanted to feel important. But Google Camp is a clear step up from this. It is the dictionary definition of exclusive luxury. Social media is banned. Security is tighter than tight. There’s even the opportunity to rub shoulders with Barack Obama, who is rumoured to be making an appearance. It’s what people thought the Fyre Festival was going to be, until they arrived at the Fyre Festival, got handed a bap in a styrofoam box and found their accommodation was a Fema tent. To be invited to Google Camp is a clear sign that you have absolutely made it. Or, likely in the case of Nick Jonas, someone more important dropped out at the last minute.
And it’s all given the sheen of legitimacy by Google. Had all these A-listers landed in St Barts for a big party, it would have looked like empty jet-set opulence. But this is Google Camp. You don’t just attend to have a good time; you attend to save the world. At least you do in the mornings. The afternoons are for golf and Jacuzzis and other fun stuff like that.
You don’t just attend to have a good time; you attend to save the world.
What sets Google Camp apart from other secret high-powered gatherings is its sense of identity. Bilderberg is too fusty. Davos is too authoritarian. Bohemian Grove — where it’s thought that a high priest burns a human effigy beneath a 40ft owl statue — is too off-the-scale bonkers. Google Camp is cool. It’s bring-a-yacht cool. It’s spa-trips-and-winery-visits cool. It’s Sting-will-sing-while-you-eat-your-dinner-in-a-ruined-temple cool.
Perhaps this is why there are no wild conspiracy theories about Google Camp yet. All the other summits have come to be seen as shadowy organisations where secret power brokers get to dictate the future direction of the planet away from prying eyes. Google Camp has avoided this fate so far. This may be because it really is a sincere, altruistic attempt to solve the world’s ills. Or it may be because there’s really no point. After all, if the best name that Google could think of to save the world is Harry Styles, we’re all screwed.