If you have a sad tale of climate calamity, you might already be a winner. “Do you have a climate disaster story to tell?” asks the “Climate Disaster Project” which is “coordinated” at that renowned home of hard science, “the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Fine Arts in its Department of Writing.” It couldn’t be more woke, from its “trauma-informed process for sharing survivor stories… developed in consultation with trauma experts” to, of course, a land acknowledgement that grovels “We also acknowledge that colonialism has contributed to climate change and resulted in Indigenous peoples being among the first and worst impacted by climate change. In making this acknowledgement, we commit to Indigenizing our practices and addressing the past, present, and future wrongs of colonialism.” And they hand out money too, an average of $500 per charismatic “survivor”. Not that they’re buying coverage exactly. Just in case. But where do they get all this money?
Memo to all our oil company backers: Send more cash. Because we were fascinated by this project to the point of looking at their “Our Team” tab. Under “Project Members” it says:
“Our team includes climate scientists, journalists, psychologists, social workers, public administration scholars, and climate disaster survivors.”
As Moose Malloy once asked, “How many people is that?” And it turns out it’s “Sean Holman Trish Audette-Longo Paola Banchero Dale Bass Tim Black Erica Bulman Aldyn Chwelos Terra Ciolfe Jennifer Chrumka Tom Doig Patricia Elliott Sandra Engstrom Sonya Fatah Francesca Fionda Damien Gillis Caroline Graham Olivia Grandy Julia Kidder Lara King David Leach Mark Leiren-Young Steve Lillebuen Edith Loring-Kuhanga Phil McLachlan” and… what’s that? Are we done? Heck no. That was just the first half of the alphabet. Also “Bala Nikku Pippa Norman Jen Osborne Neil Ever Osborne Janice Paskey Darren Schuettler Tracy Sherlock Patti Sonntag Michelle Superle Terra Tailleur Lisa Taylor Jimmy Thompson Jhesset Thrina Enano Andrew Weaver Sarah Marie Wiebe Meg Wilcox.”
Who are these people? Not just ones the wind blew in. Wiebe, for instance, is “an Assistant Professor of Public Administration at the University of Victoria in Canada and co-founder of the Feminist Environmental Research Network Collaborative”. Sonntag is “an Adjunct Associate Professor of Writing at the University of Victoria in Canada. An award-winning investigative journalist and producer, she founded the Institute for Investigative Journalism at Concordia University. Prior, she was a managing editor in The New York Times’ News Services division for 10 years.” Lillebuen is “is an Assistant Professor of Journalism at MacEwan University in Canada.” And so on.
Who pays for all these high-powered people? The website isn’t exactly forthcoming about annual reports, financial statements and that rubbish. But it does say “The Climate Disaster Project was founded thanks to a generous donation from philanthropist and businessman Wayne Crookes. Our work is inspired by his deep and abiding humanitarian concern for the impacts of climate change around the world.” And lists as “Our Valued Supporters” Carleton University, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Langara College, Overstory Media Group, University of King’s College and the University of Victoria. Then it lists “News Media Partnerships” and “Arts & Culture Partnerships” and the usual list of “Post-secondary Partnerships” (including the “UBC Centre for Climate Justice”) so basically a giant flood of government money to reinforce the idea of a huge crisis only government can fix.
Still, we deniers have all the money. Why, our staff consists of… hey. Where is everybody?