We at Cliscep have sometimes tended to become obsessed with the particular insanity of the Guardian and its Sunday counterpart the Observer. But there’s another serious British media source whose climate articles make the Graun’s coverage seem the epitome of moderation – namely the Independent – a moderate left-of-centre ex-newspaper which now exists on-line only.
August 24th they had an article by XR activist Niko Vorobyov titled “So What if Extinction Rebellion protesters are hypocrites – stop being petty and start thinking big” in which the author claims that “hypocrisy is a distraction, and a lazy way to delegitimise the movement,” and admits to having travelled round the world from Cuzco to Cape Town, and having “partaken in recreational drugs, whose environmental impact is well documented.”
“You can call me a jet-setting junkie” he boasts, “Hell, I wrote a whole book about it.” And there’s a link to his book in case you haven’t already ordered your copy. Niko boasts about having contacts with “drug lords, cartel leaders, and street dealers” all over the planet. Since recreational drugs are one of the few products that can be economically transported across the world without fossil fuels – in sailing boats or in the cadaver of an unfortunate “mule” whose cocaine-filled condom sometimes unfortunately explodes in her rectum en route – Goodreads is probably right in its assessment that Niko’s book is a “brilliant and enlightening” revelation of “how drug use is at the heart of our history, our lives, and our future.” This XR spokesman boasts of how he is in contact with the kind of people who will remove your members slice by slice and post them to your family if you get in their way. Climate sceptics be warned.
A week later, September 1st, the Independent had another attractive article by another XR activist – Nuala Gathercole Lam – titled: “So What if Extinction Rebellion isn’t popular? We’re protesting to bring about change and it’s working.”
[So what is it with “So What if XR…” as a title? Is it an invitation to despise and ridicule them? If so, congratulations for a successful marketing ploy.]
..in which she compares her movement to Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights Movement and the Suffragettes and Chartists whose protests led to the establishment of universal suffrage, rather avoiding the point that they protested in order to extend people’s freedom to do something (vote) while her protests aim to stop people from doing things (drive round the M25, travel abroad, eat meat.) It’s true, as she says, that Martin Luther King was unpopular with a large section of society at the time of his protests, but revered afterwards. Possibly because he gave people something they wanted, namely votes, political power and dignity. Whereas all XR is offering is blood, tears, toil, sweat, tofu, and unaffordable heat pumps.
Then, 4th September there was an interview by Harry Cockburn with “former XR strategist Rupert Read” titled: “Beyond XR: Could government failure at COP26 fire the starting gun on a brave green future?”
“Beyond XR.” I like it. Out with old fashioned chanting red-robed dervishes supergluing their bottoms to the roofs of tube trains in the rush hour. In with – what exactly?
In with a new movement launched by philosophy lecturer Rupert Read, who acknowledges that XR is “not on a growth trajectory” and “the numbers are clearly much lower than during the October 2019 rebellion.”
“We do have to notice that XR is not exponentially growing, and sometimes XR says ‘You need 3.5% of the population to be actively involved to actively succeed.’ Well, XR is orders of magnitude short of that…”
Really? “Orders of magnitude short of that” brings us down to less than 0.035%, or 350 parts per million, (which is uncannily close to the proportion of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere.) Which would be about 20,000 maximum in the British population. Apparently XR is also having its members removed slice by slice.
Rupert’s cunning scheme is to form a group to the left of the Green Party (of which he is an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate) but to the right of XR, which he hopes will be a “radical flank to the Green Party but a moderate flank to Extinction Rebellion, a little more careful than Extinction Rebellion is sometimes being, so as not to alienate people.” Rupert’s movement is called Greens CAN, for Climate Action Network.
Rupert doesn’t seem to realise that Climate Action Network already exists, claiming to be the world’s largest climate network, with a blog updated as recently as late July. (No comments.) When CAN was a solely British project (honorary president: George Monbiot) it claimed to have eight million supporters, (by totting up the 2 million membership of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, plus the National Trust, Women’s Institutes, etc.) British CAN died several years ago. Monbiot was presumably too busy wilding the woods of Wales with wolves to bother about leading his millions of followers in climate action. If Rupert thinks he can galvanise the twitchers of the RSPB and the lovely cream tea-serving ladies of the National Trust into gluing their bottoms to motorways I think he’s sorely mistaken. (And so would they be, if they tried.)
But let’s get back to the Independent and its multiple articles outlining plans to save the planet. Let’s leave aside for now the “9 best vegan cheeses for pizza, burgers, toasties and more,” the “8 best reusable straws for more sustainable sipping,” and the “8 best period pants than won’t cramp your style,” and let’s concentrate on the Science. Under the title: “If the IPCC’s climate report has you overwhelmed, it’s time to make these sustainable swaps,” the Independent recommends “choosing a toilet roll company that makes “eco-friendly rolls” in its “guide to becoming a more conscious consumer in response to the IPCC’s stark warnings.”
Did you know that an estimated 27,000 trees are cut down every day just to make toilet paper? And that that represents thousands of green jobs that could be gladdening the hearts of Boris and his Green voters, if only they were British trees? But (still according to the Independent) it takes approximately 160 litres of water to make a single roll. The Independent recommends a brand of bog roll recommended by Who Gives a Crap, at £36 for 48 rolls. But that’s nearly 8,000 litres of water and Gaia knows how many trees cut down. Can’t Independent readers control themselves and just Hold It In?
The same article goes on to recommend Nudie Jeans, Awake Organics Moon Goo Natural Deodorant, the Keepcup Thermal Reusable Stainless Steel Cup and the Anker Powersolar Three Port Solar Charger. And that’s just for their readers who have been overwhelmed by their reading of IPCC AR6 WG1. Wait to see what’s in store when they’ve read WGs 2 and 3.
But back to Nuala’s article: “So What if Extinction Rebellion isn’t Popular? The SchutzStaffel wasn’t Popular, but They Got Things Done” (or words to that effect) which begins:
How can it be that Extinction Rebellion was named the number one influencer on climate and just a few months later rated the most disliked disruptive protest group globally? Perhaps it’s less bizarre than it sounds…
This claim is backed up with a link to this document: “COP25 Key Topics and Influencers Shaping the Climate Change Debate” by Sam Jackson, Senior Insights Analyst at Onalytica.
Onalytica, as its name suggests, combines analysis and onanism in innovative ways in order to: “Improve Thought Leadership; Fast Track Perception Change; Increase Demand Generation, and Reach New Audiences.” (All worthy aims shared by us here at Cliscep.) But Nuala is mistaken in thinking that there’s something bizarre about XR’s unpopularity that requires Senior Insights Analyst Sam’s onalytical skills. The malaria-bearing Anopheles mosquito is the number one influencer of health in Africa, but widely disliked because of the 2 million deaths it provokes each year. Rupert and the prancing red-robed chanters of XR can console themselves that there’s always someone more disliked and despicable than oneself.