by William Teach | June 3, 2013 8:24 am
Over the years I and other Climate Realists have consistently pointed out that Warmists rarely practice what they preach, and, at best, only take token measures within their own lives, such as replacing a bulb or two with CFLs. When you read my posts on “climate change” or comments around the web that theme will be included more often than not. Warmists are often very upset with me for calling out their blatant hypocrisy. Fortunately, James Turner, the head of communications for Greenpeace International’s Save the Arctic Campaign, is here to say “don’t feel guilty”
The climate change guilt trip
A friend recently returned from a camping trip in the Sierra Nevada. His eyes shone as he described the opalescent sky, the vitality of wildlife in spring and the fun he’d had playing with his two young daughters during the mellow evenings. It had been a really good trip, an experience to treasure, he said.
I casually asked how long it took to get there. “Oh, it wasn’t too bad,” he said, and then caught himself, as if he’d said something wrong. “But we took the minivan this time, which I suppose means we weren’t so in tune with nature after all.”
I felt slightly hurt. I am an environmentalist – I work for Greenpeace. Did he think that makes me some moral arbiter of fun, sternly passing judgment on those who ignore the perils of climate change to enjoy a weekend in the mountains?
Of course, it wasn’t really about me. What my friend expressed was climate guilt, a feeling that many of us who care about environmental issues experience every day. I am not immune. We feel guilty about driving cars and watching TV and turning on lights, as if that makes us personally responsible for this gigantic threat that looms over us.
But, you know who’s at fault for making Warmists feel guilty for being hypocrites?
Whether this “guilt barrier” is deliberately constructed or just innate to our psyches, it’s being exploited by the fossil fuel cartel. Its members are content to have us feel guilty, particularly if it contributes to a sense of helplessness. Where once companies such as Exxon Mobil denied that their products were causing dangerous levels of pollution, now they claim it is impossible to switch from them. “Look at your life,” this thinking goes. “You’re up to your neck in it. You really want us to turn off the tap?”
See? It’s the fault of Big Oil for pointing out that Warmists are hypocrites (hey, remember the 2005 UN IPCC in the exotic vacation spot of Bali, where so many private jets brought that they had to deadhead (fly without passengers) them to other islands to park them?), apparently hurting Warmist feelings and making them feel bad.
This accusation is based on a false premise: that all alternatives are equally accessible to consumers, and we’re all happily choosing fossil fuels. That’s simply not true, and nowhere is this more evident than in the case of the oil industry’s greatest threat: the electric car.
Despite encouraging news that the Toyota Prius has become the No. 1 selling car in California, fully electric vehicles remain out of financial reach for all but the most affluent families. And like most of America, our state lacks the charging infrastructure to support many such cars anyway. More barriers to entry.
Hey, you could ride a bike. Live close to work. Walk. Take the bus. If you really believe that fossil fuels are evil, you’d find a way.
Whatever my friend might personally think about climate change and air pollution, he has to stick to a budget that will support his whole family. Nor will he risk stranding them all along I-5. His “choice” of a minivan is in fact no choice at all. He’s left feeling disempowered, implicated and hypocritical. Any desire to act is supplanted by resignation. But whose fault is it?
Well, if he really believes, he wouldn’t take that fossil fueled trip in the first place. He could, at least, purchase a small, fuel efficient car, or even take the bus. And, yeah, Mr. Turner continues to blame Big Oil in the next paragraph.
Maybe it’s time for us to remove the guilt. Yes, I drive a car that runs on gasoline. I fly for work when necessary and occasionally for vacation. But doing these things is not the same as admitting they are inevitable. Five years ago I flew more; now I use Skype. Bike lanes have been newly painted in my neighborhood, so I cycle to the store. In a couple of years, electric cars might come into my price range. In the meantime, I refuse to feel guilty.
In the battle against climate change, we should not be waging guilt trips on one another. Rather, we should take the fight to those who use our sense of personal responsibility against us. Climate change is a problem, and we must fix it. But it’s certainly not our fault.
See? It’s that easy, Warmists. It’s Someone Else’s fault, so, buck up little campers, don’t feel guilty…do any actually feel guilty? I’ve yet to run across any Warmist who feels guilty about being a climahypocrite. They also seem to have lots of excuses handy as to why they barely take even token measures within their own lives. Anyhow, I really find amusement in the notion that Warmists are supposed to fight back against those who attempt to make them feel guilty, because that’s apparently more important than practicing what they preach.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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