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Climate Activists can Overcome Greed by Shouting Louder • Watts Up With That?

Essay by Eric Worrall

“… If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell”?

As heat records break, the climate movement has the right answers – but the words are all wrong

Jonathan Freedland
Sat 15 Jul 2023 05.36 AEST

The fossil fuel industry has spent billions on winning over the public. Green activists must learn from its tactics

It’s happening all over – biblical downpours in New York state, unquenchable fires in Canada – and yet humanity is not acting as if it is confronting a planetary emergency. Extreme weather is fast becoming the norm in the US, and yet Americans tell pollsters it is a low priority, ranking it 17th out of 21 national issues in a recent Pew survey. Even when the impact is personal, as it was for many Australians when bushfires raged through the country in 2019, opinions prove stubbornly hard to shift: one study found that among those “directly impacted” by the fires, around a third saw no connection to the climate. They were “unmoved.”

How can this be? How can we, like Nero, fiddle while the Earth burns? …

This specific problem, like the climate crisis itself, is made by human beings – which is simultaneously enraging and encouraging. Enraging, because it is born of a greed that puts gargantuan profit ahead of a habitable planet. Encouraging, because most problems made by human beings can be fixed by them. Enter the climate movement – the scientists, the activists, the campaigners who have done so much for so long to combat this threat. Except, it turns out, they are part of the problem too.

The trouble is, they have not been communicating the threat loudly enough or in the right way. …

Yet “climate change” doesn’t work either. Mere “change” is too gentle: it doesn’t indicate whether the change will be negative or positive. It is not immediate: it hints that its consequences will be felt only in the future, when we are feeling them right now. Which is why this newspaper is right to speak of a climate crisis or emergency.

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“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell”  ― Carl Sandburg

Jonathan, please stop wasting our time. At least try to be original.

Climate activists have already tried changing the words multiple times, and have failed utterly.

In the wake of all the mistruths told during the height of the Covid outbreak, the blatant manipulations, abuses of power, and panic mongering, a growing number of people just don’t believe wild claims of imminent catastrophe anymore, no matter what spin you put on it.

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