I just climbed off an airplane at Boston’s Logan Airport. The day began in Monterrey, Mexico — and though I was tired, I was also feeling pretty good. Our big day of action on Oct. 10 has been building to a crescendo: Yesterday we broke our record from last year, registering more than 5,500 actions for the big Global Work Party.
But I’d barely turned on my computer when that good feeling turned to a kind of nausea. There were emails from people all saying the same thing: Have you seen this? “This” was a gross video making its way around YouTube, purporting to show people being blown up for not believing in climate change. It’s been pulled down from the website of its creators, the British climate group 10:10, but it hasn’t been pulled down from YouTube.
Climate denier Marc Morano’s Climate Depot website is assailing it as the latest example of eco-fascism. Morano and other climate skeptics are right to crow. It’s the kind of stupidity that really hurts our side, reinforcing in people’s minds a series of preconceived notions, not the least of which is that we’re out-of-control elitists. Not to mention crazy, and also with a completely misplaced sense of humor.
We at 350.org are spreading the word that we had nothing to do with it. We didn’t see it till it had made its way around the web, and as soon as we did, we let people know we thought it was disgusting. We’ve known the creators for years — they put out a statement apologizing for their lapse. But it’s the kind of mistake that will haunt and hurt efforts.
What makes it so depressing is that it’s the precise opposite of what the people organizing around the world for Oct. 10 are all about. In the first place, they’re as responsible as possible: They’ll spend the day putting up windmills and solar panels, laying out bike paths, and digging community gardens. And in the second place, they’re doing it because they realize kids are already dying from climate change, and that many, many more are at risk as the century winds on. Killing people is, literally, the last thing we want.
There’s no question that crap like this will cast a long shadow over our efforts, and everyone else who’s working on global warming. We’re hard at work, as always, but we’re doing it today with a sunk and sad feeling.
Well Bill, I suppose I can grasp your feelings and position. And I have to say, I don’t think it matters.
Yes, it got all the usual suspects all steamed up and chasing after us all again. So what’s new about that? Compared to ClimateGate, and GlacierGate, this was NOTHING.
Some people felt it was over the top, grisly and horrible. I know you probably don’t have time to watch much TV, but have you looked at the programming most people consume these days? The mini-movie fit right in.
My first reaction to seeing the film was “this is exactly what would cause a buzz with my kids and grandkids!” I watched it again, and realized that it was perfect as British humour. And I think it’s the sort of message that is needed. Why?
Because us old curmudgeons are getting in the way.
The “No Pressure” video was perfect in many ways. It caused a buzz. It got people’s attention. It started conversations. And it started them in places that we haven’t been able to get them started for any length of time. We NEED those conversations. We must capture everyone’s attention.
The historic dimensions of the 10/10/10 work day, a symbolic global action, is needed and I would hope it would be welcomed by nearly everyone. Those sorts of actions are great, they’re epic. But without a hook, will be largely ignored. Again.
The situation has gotten well past desperate. We don’t need to convince the folks in the Maldives, or Tuvalu that we’re teetering on the edge of disaster. The people we’re trying to reach are the ones that influence the economies. The sound bite, change shocked masses that are looking for a diversion. Petitions and grand gestures have had limited effect. We have got to change the tone, and the rhythm of this discussion. 10:10 just did a great job of it, we should take advantage of it.
[Edit 03 Oct 2010: Based upon recommendations from people in the UK, I’ve pulled back down my copies of this video, and will desist from using the 10:10 No Pressure video as an example since it may do harm to 10:10’s activities, an outcome I very much wish to avoid.]