There are other approaches to sober second thought. For instance if reality disappoints, retreat into fantasy. Hence Flipboard tells us “Scientists Hit the Streets, Demand Action on Climate Change”. No they didn’t, and no they don’t. Extinction Rebellion tried to overthrow the establishment back on April 1, or at least blockaded a truck carrying oil though regrettably it was cooking oil. But nobody noticed that one either, except a few people who got really annoyed.
This piece was “Curated by Flipboard Science” which is a bad start at least with us. We prefer things that are just selected for us to those that with oleaginous flattery are curated for our august selves. But the original source of this delusion about a massive, influential labcoat-to-street movement was evidently Smithsonian Magazine, which trumpeted that “Over 1,000 scientists from 25 countries took part in the Scientist Rebellion’s demonstrations last week”. And while math am hard, we managed with the help of the built-in calculator in our computer to figure out that 1,000 spread among 25 countries is 40 per. So apparently in about one out of eight countries around the world 40 people “hit the streets”, something you would not notice except in, say, locked-down Shanghai.
The story added that this massive lack of action took place “last week following the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s new report. The report warned that rapid and deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions are necessary by 2025 to avoid catastrophic climate effects.” A warning we can add to the list that appeared in media stories but not in the report itself. And by 2025? Talk about going all in with a pair of fours. Nobody has the faintest idea how to cut emissions dramatically by 2050, let alone 2030, so you give us three years or… what? Your canola oil gets it? Dexter raises his nasally voice in reproach?
No. Social change. Flipboard hallucinates a wave of protest from Washington to London, Paris and L.A. Basically the West. Although it throws in “Youth climate strike sees crowds in 750 cities around the world” which turns out to come from the ultra-reputable “Grist” (whose fundraising message is from board member Bill McKibben, in case you were curious about its orientation even after encountering “Climate. Justice. Solutions.” at the top of the page) and announces “‘We are unstoppable’: Youth climate strikes return in full force/ Students march for their future in 750 cities across the globe” above signs of children with brilliantly original and constructive slogans like “People not profit” and “System change not climate change”. So all we need in the next three years is to revamp our economy and government totally.
Yes, like totally, man. As the piece notes, “Fridays for Future, the youth-led organization that coordinated the strike, wrote, ‘The catastrophic climate scenario that we are living in is the result of centuries of exploitation and oppression through colonialism, extractivism and capitalism,’ and called for climate reparations.” Which sure sounded easy in that undergraduate seminar. And in print.
Why, it’s practically in the organic fibre bag. Thus Flipboard also brings us a piece from Vice (and who would look skeptically at proposals from a publication bearing that name?) on “Just Stop Oil: The Young Climate Activists Shutting Down Fossil Fuels” in case you didn’t realize fossil fuels were being shut down. And the Grist piece announces that “Friday’s protests, the largest mass youth climate strike since 2019, show that the movement is rebounding from the setbacks posed by the pandemic, which forced young people to do most of their organizing remotely.” So now we get such compelling practical measures as “In Feni, Bangladesh, young people stood waist deep in water and one boy held a sign that read: ‘Like the sea, we are rising.’ In Nairobi, Kenya, activists marched through the street, accompanied by blaring music and car horns. Even in Antarctica, researchers posed on the snow with signs urging the world to stop climate change.” Thus bringing traffic there to a halt, we have no doubt.
It’s all good clean fun, of course. But until you have something practical to say that will interest anyone outside the choir, like the sea, you’re all wet and not rising any time soon.