Sunday, 1 July 2012

The lopsided media war on climate change

My aippakuluk bought me a subscription to Popular Science magazine a few months ago. The July edition is a very interesting issue that features articles on the current (and future) state of the environment. In these series of articles focussing on the various aspects of climate change (political, ideological, technological and scientific).

The first article written by Tom Clynes titled, The Battle, is an informative if sad and familiar recounting of intellectual and moral devastation wrought by big business when it reacts to what it perceives as a threat to its economic interests. Now, after having watched a slew of documentaries and interviews on PBS and CBC and other printed media on unchecked corporate greed, I wasn't surprised by the intensity of vitriol and intellectual poison unleashed by big corporations but I'm always dismayed by the lengths big money is willing to go to get what it wants.

After reading the articles in Popular Science (and knowing a bit of the history), I have come to realize that corporate canada is succeeding and reaping the unjust and usurped rewards of a favourable regulatory environment (the gutting of environment protections) unlike any before it anywhere in the world. We've effectively been corralled and cordoned off like a gated community from the rest of the world. I'm pretty sure we've been politically hijacked as a society of consumers whose worth is not measured by the contributions (real and potential) we can make to the advancement of humanity (remember our lofty, noble ideals as a rational country) but by the worth of rights to natural resources.

The vicious attack ads that a Heartland Institute came up with, though were too much to continue, suggest that thoughtful people and honourable scientists are akin to the likes of Ted Kaczynski (whose mugshot figures prominently in the giant billboard that was actually shown), Charles Manson, Osama bin Laden and other mass murders, whose text reads: I Still Believe in Global Warming. Do You? In tactics reminiscent of the Conservative Party in last few federal elections in Canada ugly things are done by the corporate interests in a language that is at once clinical and mean. The fact that crazy people can be unleashed to threaten and intimidate its "enemies" is in tandem with their labelling campaigns:

"The people who believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren't scientists. They are murderers, tyrants and madmen." (a Heartland Institute press release)

-as if global warming is an article of faith rather than a demonstrable scientific reality; the tactics by Heartland itself manufactured the reality that mass murderers and monsters "believe in global warming" and this messaging is reinforced by the kamakazi billboards is classic extreme right-wing.

I'm just wondering now if the dark money that funds the likes of Heartland Institute is also funding the Fraser Institute and Ethical Oil, or for that matter the Harper government. How many anonymous donors and whole rosters of shift workers who all decided enmass to support the conservatives are there?

Jay

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