Climate Denial on the Left?

October 4, 2018

Well, not quite – anymore – it was once true that there were a hard core group of lefties that who said climate change was some kind of globalist power grab, but you only hear that from the right wing now.  The lefty magazine “CounterPunch” was a hotbed of that shit, especially when Alexander Cockburn was writing for them.

Today, the sin is often one of omission.
Ted Glick is a long time peace and environmental activist.

Ted Glick’s Blog:

Michael Moore’s “molotov cocktail to the system” movie, Fahrenheit 11/9, has a number of good things to say and good sections. I was particularly appreciative of the sections on lead poisoning criminality in Flint, Michigan, recent progressive electoral victories and campaigns within the Democratic Party, and the West Virginia teachers strike. His critique of the Clinton/corporate/dominant wing of the Democratic Party was also on target.

However, I was appalled that there was virtually nothing about the climate crisis. Out of the two hours, there might have been a literal total of 10 seconds of footage about something related to that huge, world-overarching issue.

For example, the struggle at Standing Rock was nowhere to be found in this progressive movie about US politics and progressive activism since 2016.

15 years ago I began my transformation from a progressive activist and organizer primarily working in the arena of independent politics into someone primarily working on the climate crisis. The impetus for that life-change was a disastrous heat wave in western Europe in August of 2003. 35,000 or more people died as a result of it. This unprecedented, massive human tragedy caused me to spend the next several months studying the reality of global heating, how bad it is, how relatively close we are to climate tipping points, and who was working against this looming world catastrophe.

I was disturbed to learn that almost no one on the left and not that many within the environmental community were doing so, at least on a consistent basis. And so, in January of 2004, I started doing work in this area, co-founding with Fr. Paul Mayer the Climate Crisis Coalition and staying active ever since.

It has been encouraging to see the growth of an activist climate movement, an anti-racist climate justice movement and an inclusion of the climate issue as a major one on the part of many groups within the progressive movement. It was very significant that in his history-making Presidential campaign in 2016 Bernie Sanders spoke about this issue consistently and strongly. And there could be other positive examples.

So is Michael Moore’s climate blindspot in this movie an exception to the prevailing reality on the left?

I think it’s more complicated. Moore does get it on the climate crisis on some level. In a tweet from him on March 28 last year he wrote, “Historians in the near future will mark today, March 28, 2017, as the day the extinction of human life on earth began, thanks 2 Donald Trump. Trump has signed orders killing all of Obama’s climate change regulations. The EPA is prohibited henceforth from focusing on climate change.”

Actually, the threat of “the extinction of human life on earth” began gathering steam (via coal burning on a mass scale) long before Donald Trump. And though Obama did things to move us in the right direction, they were in no way commensurate with the seriousness of our situation.

On a human level, I don’t understand how someone who appreciates this extinction threat, who understands how dire our situation is, how profoundly this is a societal and ecological crisis of the highest and most immediate magnitude, could “forget” to  incorporate this issue into a movie like Fahrenheit 11/9.

But in addition, the fact is that a huge majority of the U.S. American people, 80-85% consistently for many years, Democrats, Independents and Republicans, support wind and solar. Conservative landowners have joined forces with enviros, progressives and Indigenous people to oppose the taking of their and others’ land for oil and gas pipelines and infrastructure. And with all of the fires and storms and floods, extreme weather events, that just keep coming and will be doing so for a long, long time, there is a realistic basis for making political inroads among even conservatives if we are there with them to help them deal with these fossil fuel industry-fueled, destructive disasters.

There really is no excuse, and many good reasons, for this issue always being part of our work and our strategic and political thinking and action.

Maybe Michael Moore’s next movie could be on the climate crisis? Michael?

I saw Moore’s movie last week, and I recommend it, with reservations.

The Good: Coverage of the Flint water crisis, West Virginia Teacher’s strike, Misogynist, Greed driven Media Mafia that torpedoed Hillary, Parkland kids gun-sense actions.

The Bad: Kind of forgot that the George Bush of “Fahrenheit 911” is largely responsible for the ugly mood of the US electorate, having lied us into a tremendously expensive war that sucked up money that should have been spent on education, infrastructure, and job creation, while degrading trust in institutions still further when the scam inevitably came to light. Oh, plus global economic collapse and acceleration of income disparity.
One could come away from Moore’s movie (despite his praise of a new generation of largely female Democratic candidates..) that this whole mess is that fault of the evil “Establishment Dems”.
Moore urges people to vote, but a strong undercurrent and subtext is “They’re all the same, so why vote?”

If we had a Supreme Court staffed with appointees from those Evil Establishment, we would not be in desperate danger of losing our democracy entirely. But that’s just me.

 

 

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10 Responses to “Climate Denial on the Left?”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    “If we had a Supreme Court staffed with appointees from those Evil Establishment, we would not be in desperate danger of losing our democracy entirely. But that’s just me”.

    That’s NOT just you—-many of us are losing sleep over Kavanaugh. Even though many good things are being done by many people, it’s looking more like too little, too late—-the powers that be are too entrenched. If there isn’t a huge blue wave in the midterms, we will be in even bigger trouble (more lost sleep there).

  2. Robert Nagle Says:

    Also, in a recent Beto O’rourke vs. Ted Cruz debate (very high profile, and substantive policy differences), climate change has really never come up. In Texas, it might almost seem that pollution and climate change don’t exist.

    On the nonstop anti-Beto TV commercials (mostly paid for by fossil fuel industries, I mean, the National Republican Congressional Committee) the issue is always immigration, immigration, immigration. And oh, yes, Beto didn’t support one bill to provide Hurricane Harvey relief — a really iffy charge btw.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      I’ve sent some bucks to Beto’s campaign, mostly because I pretty much despise Cruz, and they keep asking for more. From this far away, it seems like lots of dirty money from outside is being poured into TX to support Cruz. You’re closer to it—- Is there real hope for a Beto win? Should I send more?

  3. Sir Charles Says:

    Bill Maher 2009: “Democrats are the new Republicans”

  4. Sir Charles Says:

    Meanwhile,
    Climate scientists are struggling to find the right words for very bad news

    A much-awaited report from the U.N.’s top climate science panel will show an enormous gap between where we are and where we need to be to prevent dangerous levels of warming.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Excellent visualization, if not mostly irrelevant to this post. Even the blind and retarded squirrel occasionally finds a terrific nut.

  5. J4Zonian Says:

    There’s a lot of Whataboutery coming from the likes of Bjorn McBorgerson (not his real last name), the Breakthrough boys, and economists like Nordhaus and Schellenberger. Malaria, sometimes other pollution, etc. are pointed to; ultimately as a way to distract from climate, whatever their reasons for doing that. Besides straight whataboutery, it’s also the same Hydra tactic or frontrunner sniper fire used to kill Waxman-Markey.

    https://grist.org/article/2009-06-03-waxman-markey-bill-breakdown/

    That method: Viciously attack whatever is currently the most popular or effective answer to a problem, even if you have to point to other solutions equally hated by the attackers, because once this one is defeated, you can point to it as something that would be better than whatever takes over as the frontrunner. The tactic is used to play wind power against solar and hydro and vice versa, clean safe renewable energy against everything, against market responses, different varieties of a carbon price or cap and trade, and much more.

    Some of that whataboutery has been taken on by actual, rather the fake environmentalists mentioned, but there are ways to tell the real from the not. (When someone refuses to acknowledge that the 6 main solutions to Climate Götterdämmerung would also solve or greatly help with their problem—reduce air pollution to a tiny fraction of what it is now for example (and thus prevent the killing of 7 million people a year) I put them in the denial category, whatever they call themselves.)

    PS 70,000 people died in the 2003 European heat wave.
    Robine, Jean-Marie et al, Comptes Rendus Biologies. 331 (2): 171–178. doi:10.1016/j.crvi.2007.12.001. ISSN 1631-0691. PMID 18241810.

    It IS good to see Glick acknowledging that Obama’s actions were far from what’s needed.

    ”There really is no excuse, and many good reasons, for this issue always being part of our work and our strategic and political thinking and action.” Huh?

  6. lracine Says:

    I often sit back and wonder what it would have been like to live in Germany during the rise of the third Reich. What must they have been thinking… Maybe the same things our Senate Republican are??? Why Kavanaugh, lots of other very well qualified conservative Judges to pick from??

    I wonder what it must have been like to live though the lead up to the civil war in the USA.

    I know what the Vietnam era was like and I remember the Kent State Shooting.

    It is bad… and now we are going to live though not just a bad political era but there is going to be the added stress of Climate Change…

    William Strauss and Neil Howe wrote a book called The Fourth Turning, it is about generational cycles, I found it a interesting read. And if you are into lectures on you tube, there are several available from the authors.

    We are so very screwed.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      Why Kavanaugh? You missed the memo – he is on record that a sitting President can not be prosecuted.

  7. John Says:

    Reblogged this on jpratt27 and commented:
    Democracy is in deep trouble. We need to get rid of party politics.

    The correct Choice is rarely Red or Blue but often another colour altogether.


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