* Posts by Jon

1 post • joined 23 Jul 2008

The Guardian's excellent Web 2.0 blog-up


Depressing response to environmentalism

I'm in agreement with Alan Paul here - sure The Reg takes a sideways look at things from time to time, and as we know mixes a laugh in with stories - but the environmentalism-bashing that goes on in the comments - not just on this story - is frustrating. At least environmentalists are trying to make a difference to the world - yet many a time the Jeremy Clarkson brigade are sitting on their behinds doing b*gger-all unless it serves their own selfish selves.

Perhaps it is a valid criticism that environmentalism is something that is repeated ad nauseum - but this comes about I think because of peoples' fundamental resistance to change (people don't like to think they are causing climate damage, thus leading to "cognitive dissonance" - they reject the argument in spite of the evidence). The science as we know it concludes almost unanimously that increased CO2 levels that have come about from man-made sources are changing the climate. This means increased levels of large-scale weather events such as flooding, drought and typhoons (depending on where in the world you live). What's worse is that people in the Europe and the US will not have to suffer from the initial effects of climate change, and yet they are substantial causes of it.

The naysayers are welcome to be skeptical - but should read thoroughly on the topic, rather than accepting the messages of the corporate press before rejecting it (we must remember that the corporate press have a bias towards anti-environmentalism - they are relying on the status quo for their income, as I mention later). He's somewhat biased, I admit, but one of the best journos on the topic is George Monbiot, who has an excellent grasp of how to proceed against environmental collapse. I'm not into product endorsement, but his recent book "Heat" is a must-read on both sides of the argument. It really is thorough and collects a large number of disparate facts needed to understand the issues.

Where we have seen "science" to the contrary - put forward by people wanting a "balanced argument" - it has usually been by front groups such as the (happily now defunkt) Global Climate Coalition, who were funded by (guess who) Chevron, Chrysler, Shell (and many others).

So, let's not bash the Guardian for a effort that may have failed, or call them "hippies" and "sandal-wearers" as we sneer at them. However, they *do* deserve criticism for the fact that around 75% of their revenue comes from advertising, which is primarily made up of - umm - selling new cars and flights (two major causes of global warming). We shouldn't forget also that they own the Autotrader brand too. With all that in mind, it should be a bit difficult to call them tree-huggers.

I'm ending here, and selecting the jacket - I'm getting mine if the spitefulness against people wanting to achieve positive change doesn't let up in the comments.