The panic over climate change is part of a larger problem
Concerns about climate change are so rampant and amplified that the American Psychological Association recently published guidelines to help mental health professionals deal with their patients who are suffering from increased anxiety in the face of it. Feelings of terror and helplessness when dealing with climate change have led politicians and civilians alike to proclaim the pointlessness of human reproduction, and to advocate for drastic, interventionist measures, in an attempt to delay the apocalypse. It makes one wonder if it’s climate change specifically that’s at issue or our broader penchant to look forward with fear and trembling to our own destruction. These guidelines are a symptom of a larger culture of panic as opposed to a cure.
To illustrate this fact, here’s an Associated Press article from 1989 warning of apocalyptic doom and destruction, claiming that we had ten years to act before entire nations would be underwater. The expert, Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program, claimed that we had “…a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.” That turned out to not be super true. It’s not like we shouldn’t have concerns about the environment, it’s just that we shouldn’t lose our freaking minds over it and glue our breasts and butts to the ground. It’s this kind of batshittery that we need get as far away from as possible.
While of course there is scientific evidence to support the reality of climate change and the need for increased reliance on sustainable energy technologies, that truth doesn’t support the drastic emotional miasma that is being experienced by so many people. Positioning yourself to be impacted by a belief in impending global doom does not help either alleviate the doom, or enhance your own ability to deal with life. To elevate ourselves to the level of global problems being a direct influence for our private life choices is to internalize the self-aggrandizing importance of the Anthropocene Era, where we are convinced that our own impact is the driving force in everything from ecological to geological conditions. It’s not always entirely our fault.
In a new CNN article describing the new 69-page Guidelines, Penn State Psychology Professor Janet Swim told CNN that “anxiety is something people feel more and more when they get closer to an anti-goal, meaning a negative result, like the destruction of the planet.” A few years ago, we were freaked out by the singularity, before that, the anti-climactic Y2K thing, all the while, cults obsessed with imminent mortality brought it on themselves. Jonestown, Aum Shinriko, and Heaven’s Gate couldn’t take the suspense, and aimed for apocalypse before the natural conclusion.
Human beings have a penchant for anticipating their own destruction with a combination of relish and fear. We lick our lips and tremble with the certainty of our own miserable fate. Will it be sudden? Will it be prolonged? Will it be at our own hands, as in the case of nuclear war, or the impact of anthropocentric climate change? Or will we meet our end at the hands of an angry God? Noah and the flood? Sodom and Gomorrah? The apocalypse in both of these stories had people to blame. We were negligent, amoral, woeful humans, who brought devastation upon our own heads. Scripture tells us that Christ came to save us from ourselves. Now that we’ve killed all our gods, who will come? A cyclist, traversing Pennsylvania, raising awareness about our doom: will he be our saviour?
It seems like society right now is on the verge of becoming one big doomsday cult. The west is self-injurious, desperate to alleviate its own pain by bleeding. We tear ourselves down, belittle our achievements, proclaim the good work we’ve done to be meaningless, grovel at the feet of woke scolds, and declare that despite our best efforts, we are nothing but trash. Accepting that we do not suck is the way to move forward, not with hair shirts and self hatred. We can do better without damning all our accomplishments and prognosticating disaster at every turn.
Politicians go on CNN or MSNBC and confidently proclaim that we have 12 years left on the planet, and if you happen to express any uncertainty about that claim, then you are committing heresy and are cast out of the community. Zombified children are trotted out in front of cameras to murmur the exact same political talking points as their grown-up pundit counterparts. Their sweet, sad little faces are meant to elicit guilt and shame from us who simply haven’t managed to perfect the earth yet. It isn’t enough that we’ve stopped sending them off to mine for coal, stopped hunting whales for their oil, and found a fuel source that managed to increase the standard of living worldwide for millions of people.
We were supposed to do it sustainably, too, even though we didn’t know what that meant until sometime in the 1980s, by which time the next energy advancement, nuclear technology, had been successfully protested and pushed back in public consciousness. We need to focus on what we are capable of and shun all of this “The End is Nigh” nonsense. Alarmism never leads to progress.
When they are not being whipped up into panicked frenzies, humans are actually pretty good at adapting and making advances. And we will do that, but we have to believe that we can, and not predict certain failure. There is a great line in a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode said by Guinan, a character played by Whoopi Goldberg: “When a man is convinced he’s going to die tomorrow, he’ll probably find a way to make it happen.” But here’s the thing, we are smart and resourceful enough convince ourselves otherwise. The guidelines we need are not how to cope with climate change anxiety, but how to recognize our success, and trust that human ingenuity will out.
Quebec politician says that you should be able to commit suicide if you're worried about climate change
Quebec politician Luc Ferrandez has suggested that euthanasia could be extended to those who wish not to be a burden on society.
Writing in a Facebook post, the former mayor of Plateau Mont-Royal said, “Could we, for environmental, social and economic reasons, decide that we want to receive help to die so as not to be a burden for our family and society in general?”
When confronted about his comments, Ferrandez stated that he merely intended to “deepen the discussion” on assisted dying, according to Journal Metro. “Is it immoral to ask a question,” he added indignantly.
Currently, for assisted dying to be permitted, a patient must be suffering, and their death must be imminent. Ferrandez appeared upset as the law does not consider the possibility that a patient may want to die for environmental or economic reasons.
In 2016, several advocates requested that the government expanded euthanasia legislation so to fit Ferrandez’s definition, however, the provincial government is not ready to rethink the legislation in the immediate future
A group of young Ontarians is launching a lawsuit against Doug Ford due to the Progressive Conservative’s inaction on climate change. The youths are arguing that Ford has violated their charter rights by reducing their climate targets, according to the CBC.
The group is claiming that the Ford government’s climate policy will lead to widespread death, which if correct, would understandably violate section 7 of the charter: protection for life, liberty, and security of the person.
The group is also demanding that the Ontario government creates more ambitious legislation for tackling climate change, such as limiting global warming to 1.5 C.
The group is composed of young Ontarians, ranging from the age of 12 to 24. They are being represented by Stockwoods LLP and Ecojustice, which is a group dedicated to stopping climate change through legal action.
This form of climate action is becoming increasingly more common. Earlier this year, for example, another group of young people launched a lawsuit against Trudeau’s federal government. There have been similar lawsuits in the United States and the Netherlands.
Having said this, this is the first lawsuit filed against a provincial government for climate inaction.
America’s favourite Saturday afternoon activity, college football has now officially become a part of the culture wars. Today’s big match-up between Ivy League rivals Yale and Harvard has been disrupted by a large group of angry student protestors demanding action on the “climate crisis.”
The protestors unfurled large banners that read “NOBODY WINS: YALE & HARVARD ARE COMPLICIT IN CLIMATE INJUSTICE” in a surreal scene that Barstool Sports referred to as “peak 2019.”
Football fans all over social media were not pleased to say the least. But some saw the humour in the situation.
The protest lasted for 48 minutes. ESPN reports that many of the protestors asked to be arrested.
In April, 2014, the Globe and Mail published an article, “Climate change and health: Extreme heat a ‘silent killer.’” In it, the reporter cites the claim of an alleged expert from a non-profit, Clean Air Partnership (CAP), that maximum temperatures in Toronto could be expected to rise 7 C by 2045.
The reporter did not query the figure in her write-up, and her editor apparently didn’t take a good look at what she had written, or else he or she would have reared back and yelled, WTF? A predicted rise of 23 C in a single century? Get hold of that guy and check that you got the right figure.
Imagine if some alleged expert on health care had told the same Globe reporter that Ontario would require a budget of a trillion dollars to cover coming claims on the provincial health services. She would have gasped and challenged him. When it comes to climate alarmism, most media people have simply muted their powers of critical thinking, because they see themselves as conduits for alarmism Kool-Aid, not independent observers.
Thankfully, not all journalists march in lockstep on the issue. In an article for the American Thinker, Canadian researcher Sierra Rayne poured scorn on it: “To say [the 7 C theory] is insanely large would be an understatement.”
Rayne pointed out that a cursory perusal of the Environment Canada Adjusted and Homogenized Canadian Climate Data database would illustrate that the daily summer maximum temperatures in Toronto showed no upward trend whatsoever. She further noted that a database for the WMO-certified Pearson Airport site demonstrated there was “absolutely no temporal correlation” for extreme July or August maximum temperatures between 1938 (when the database was initiated) and 2012.
In fact, there was no source in Canada then—and still isn’t—from which CAP could have plucked that ludicrous figure. University of Guelph economics professor Ross McKitrick had at that time just created his invaluable site, yourenvironment.ca, which sets out a complete temporal record of officially recorded air and pollution levels everywhere in Canada. The data for the site is culled from provincial environment and natural resources ministries, or from Environment Canada. Over many decades, no matter where you look in Canada, the graph trends remain resolutely horizontal with tiny upward and downward spikes indicating extreme weather blips.
Every layperson who identifies as an alarmism skeptic has his or her own pivotal moment, and that idiotic “news” story in the Globe was mine. When reporters and editors act like deer in the headlights in the reception and dissemination of demonstrably impossible “information,” it’s clear evidence that they have been gripped by a socially contagious virus. These are the people who in the 19th century would have believed tulip bulb prices were never going to peak, even if every single family on the planet had enough tulip bulbs to fill a half-acre garden.
The late writer Michael Crichton, author of the best-selling 2004 techno-thriller, “State of Fear,” was one of the first independent students of environmentalism to define environmentalism as a “religion,” and to observe that its principal characteristic was to cater to the state of alarm he believed is an inherent human need. Its dogmatists act as though they have been appointed Morals Police. And they do not take kindly to dissent.
Al Gore, whose 2006 documentary film An Inconvenient Truth was received with uncritical awe, (one of my friends, normally very brainy, described it as a “religious experience”) was later found by a UK court to contain “nine key scientific errors.” It was deemed rife with “serious scientific inaccuracies, political propaganda and sentimental mush” and the judge ruled that the “apocalyptic vision” presented made it not an impartial scientific analysis, but a “political film.” He continues to hector the world as though that never happened from the depths of a home whose electricity kilowatt hours exceed twenty times the national average.
In 2007, environmental guru David Suzuki stormed out of a Toronto radio station interview when the host suggested global warming was not yet a “totally settled issue.” The incident revealed the mindset of the enviro-ayatollahs. (We see its 16-year-old version in little Pied Piper leader of the Children’s Crusade Greta “how-dare-you” Thunberg.) Suzuki perceived the radio host as a blasphemer, unworthy of his rational rebuttal. Suzuki actually felt enviro-infidels should be literally suppressed, and even opined that politicians who aren’t on board with his views should go to prison. You’d think a guy that far down the rabbit hole would be minding his own enviro P’s and Q’s, but like Al Gore, his real estate portfolio is humongous and his carbon footprint immense.
Ordinary Canadians were afraid to criticize Suzuki, but he got his comeuppance in 2013 in Australia when, speaking to an audience of actual scientist who knew their stuff, he revealed his ignorance about actual climate data. I confess to a very satisfying hour of Schadenfreude in watching him make him a fool of himself on camera. Thankfully, hopefully feeling a bit chastened, he retired from the scene in 2014.
Hard to believe, but we’re now marking the tenth anniversary of what journalist James Delingpole dubbed Climategate. The astonishing truths of the climate-change religion’s seamy underbelly revealed in the masses of internal communications by supposedly authoritative and honest alpha climatologists might have acted as a therapeutic purgative to the credulous masses, but the collusive rush to exculpation by the usual suspects put paid to any such hopes.
Let me offer a word of advice to my fellow non-scientists who think they do not deserve to have a voice in this discussion for lack of credentials. Do not allow yourself to be intimidated by those who wield the scimitar of “authority” to speak on this issue because you are not a “peer-reviewed” PhD or because you don’t cite “primary sources.” You’ll notice they don’t scold Greta Thunberg for her reliance on others.
You have a working brain. You have the ability to read and assess the argumentation of those who have been researching climate change at the primary-source level for many years. You have a pretty good understanding of the difference between actual facts and “projections.” As time passes and prediction after prediction fails to come true, you have a right to question where scientific objectivity ends and ideology begins. It’s your tax dollars that are gushing forth in the service of a policy that is very likely based on false assumptions, and which could be better spent in fighting pollution and human misery. You have a right to interrogate the premises that are turning the spigot.
Keep reading. There are many excellent websites and books that lay out evidence-based skeptics’ position. For a one-stop enlightening, comprehensive, reader-friendly and entertaining overview, I recommend the above-mentioned journalist James Delingpole’s 2012 book “Watermelons: The Green Movement’s True Colours.” In the seven years since it was published, Delingpole told me, nothing has happened to change his mind. If anything, the passage of time has confirmed his challenges to alarmism.