Climate Change: Moving from Fear to Shame

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

It’s apparent that fear of impending doom caused by climate change hasn’t moved the public-opinion needle.  Pollsters tell us the issue is not viewed as a great problem or isn’t troubling most Americans.  In fact, according to the Gallup organization, global climate change doesn’t even make the top 10 of matters vexing national voters – well behind healthcare, the economy and immigration.

So, for the climate-change activists, sadly, using fear as a motivator apparently hasn’t worked.  That is, advocates of Americans making lifestyle alterations – to deal with the perils of a warming planet – have tried for years to scare people into compliance.  They’ve regaled us with imminent threats of rapidly melting ice caps; dangerously rising sea levels; changing Earth temperatures; and disappearing species, like polar bears, all happening now.  They even have recently blamed wildfires, hurricanes and winter storms on global warming.

To drive home their point, activists have trotted out noted academicians and scientists to present evidence of their dire predictions.  But, as the polling tells us, that effort has been for naught – a wasteful, unproductive use of time, as both sides wrangle back and forth, shooting down one another’s arguments.

Now, activists have resorted to shaming Americans for their alleged complicity in bringing about the Earth’s demise.  The latest ridicule comes in the form of a magazine article, appearing in The Atlantic last month.  The author, Jedediah Britton-Purdy, is a professor at Columbia Law School and a self-styled naturalist, having written two books on the environment.  He worries, in the Atlantic piece, about the dangers of people having more babies (after having one of his own) and subjecting them to survival on a dying planet.

The article isn’t meant to inform – it doesn’t present anything Earth-shattering, or even notable.  There’s no new literature on the causes of climate change or even more global-warming atrocities.  And, although the story appears in the “Science” section of the periodical, there’s nothing scientific about it at all.

Instead, the purpose of the article is to make mothers and fathers feel guilty for having kids.  It’s a lecture about the Earth’s excessive population and how we’re to blame for bearing and birthing children.  It’s reminiscent of 1968 all over again, with Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb warning.

What’s more, Britton-Purdy predicts the worst is going to happen to the globe  anyway – all the bad things that the climate-change lemmings have been saying for years – and it’s too late for Earth-dwellers like us to do anything about it.  In other words, previous generations – including yours – have already damaged the planet enough to screw future ones, and we’ve past the point of no return.  How, the author frets, will he be able to explain this to his newborn son, James (who he concludes will be helpless to do anything about the planet’s demise)?

“Unless he’s a saintly hermit, he’ll have little personal choice about (his) carbon load,” he says, falling back on the fear-mongering of the past.

If Britton-Purdy is right, one wonders why humans today are being asked to stop doing all this stuff to combat global warming – including having kids.  Why bother eliminating coal?  Or internal combustion?  Or cheeseburgers?  Or, why are inhabitants of coastal areas being urged to seek higher ground?

Indeed, Britton-Purdy in his published rant endorses climate-change legislation like the Green New Deal (a California version of which was recently introduced by a chagrined Assembly Member Rob Bonta, Democrat from Oakland which, in part, says “the state (will) adopt a policy framework . . . to reduce severe climate change impacts . . . to overcome systemic racial injustice and to ensure all California residents enjoy a 21st century standard of living without regard to their wealth or income.”  Why, Bonta must think, did California not think of it first?)

“I hope (James) and his classmates will assume that the Green New Deal is only the beginning of what we need to make peace with the planet, and with one another,” remarks Britton-Purdy in the Atlantic article.

Finally, Britton-Purdy shames the reader into believing that the commercial center the Harlem neighborhood has become is not a measure of social progress over the New York City slum it once was.  He thinks people ought to be removed and it should revert back to a rippling stream.  And that wolves and elk ought to be running free on Manhattan Island.  And that native plants – not humans – should flourish.

So, the ultimate message of climate-change activists to you is:  “Forget that the polar caps didn’t melt when we said they would, or that renewable energy won’t power the country – ever, or that killing all cows won’t save the planet, global warming is still the existential threat we said it was.  And, you’re to blame.”

Thinking about what I just read, and climate-change activists in general, I’m reminded of something H.L. Mencken once said:  “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it.”  Hmm, I wonder . . .

To read the article in full, visit https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2020/01/becoming-parent-age-climate-crisis/604372/.

 

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