Stop Proselytizing About Climate Change And Start Fixing It
By Maria Fotopoulos
Type in “climate change” in Google, and about 1,730,000,000 results are delivered in 0.72 seconds. Probably the only people on the planet who don’t know the term (in English or their native languages) from changement climatique (France) to cambiamento climatico (Italy) and изменение климата (Russia) are probably … well, is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t know the term at this point?
Climate change messaging is at mass saturation. Those who believe that burning coal, oil and gas for energy are changing weather patterns and temperatures, and causing wildfires in California, are convinced – too many, cultists and true believers – to the point of practicing climate change as a religion. And those who don’t hold that position likely never will. So the time for nonproductive stunts to draw attention to the issue is well past. The lines are drawn; minds committed one way or the other. Climate change activists who vandalize pipelines; glue themselves to famous works of art – a Botticelli, a da Vinci or McCulloch – and to roads and tankers; take over Trafalgar Square or vandalize in other “creative” ways (often using oil-based products in their stunts, an irony perhaps lost on them) need to just stop. Fortunately, on the “stolen childhood” end, the Friday climate change protests of Greta Thunberg and the entire Greta phenomenon seem to have faded, as has, on the octogenarian end, Jane Fonda’s “Fire Drill Fridays” to “stop the climate crisis.”
These new iterations of pseudo environmental activists are the successors to eco-terrorist groups such as ELF and ALF, who thought setting SUVs on fire at dealerships and burning down new construction were good ways to stop environmental destruction, and destroying university labs was a way to save animals, respectively. If today’s faux green activists continue on their path, if they’re not already, they will be today’s eco-terrorists. Of course, they’ve been useful tools in a political agenda, so, like the ANTIFA and BLM radicals, probably nothing will happen to them, even if they ramp up their terrorism, uh, activism.
A less polarizing and destructive path, and a more productive one, would be to actually do something positive that contributes to a sustainable world. What a concept!
In the documentary, “8 Billion Angels,” Terry Spahr, filmmaker and founder of Earth Overshoot, explores a multitude of problems created by humanity, problems mostly a result of there being too many of us. The “8 billion” is the number of humans on the planet now – a number expected to grow to 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100, according to the United Nations. Looking at oceans, land, air and rivers, and population, a wide range of thoughtful people from academics to those working on the issues via the nonprofit world to businesspeople who care deeply about environmental issues and the kind of planet we will leave for future generations are featured in the film.
“One of the things my mother always taught me, when you borrow something, you give it back in better condition, and we’re not doing that,” says Bill Mook, who tells his story in the film. His Mook Sea Farm in Maine produces about 125 million “oysters on land” each year. The oyster hatchery of Mook, who has been in business for more than 30 years, grew out of seeing increasing water quality degradation and resultant diseases that wiped out oyster populations. With the devastation of oyster beds, Mook says oystermen started to see the value of figuring out “how to do the early stages of oysters on land” and then seeding the natural environment for the oysters to develop. Mook’s oyster hatchery sells to growers from North Carolina to Maine. The small business owner calls this providing environmental services.
Bill Mook with worker at his oyster hatchery.
Not just a tasty treat with a bit of lemon and horseradish, “Oysters in the wild take up a lot of excess nitrogen,” says Mook. “And we’re putting more and more nitrogen in our water; oysters combat the degradation of the water.”
In his free time, Mook works to educate his friends and neighbors to understand the issues. “What I’d like to see are other businesses, whose livelihoods depend on a healthy environment, make the case that having a healthy environment and a thriving, vibrant economy are not mutually exclusive; they are vital to each other.”
Mook’s story is a great example of a direct and positive response to address an environmental issue that helps people, biodiversity and the planet. We need more people like Mook. To have real change, a majority of individuals and businesses will have to work together to have the best practices for living and working to tread lightly on our planet, and ensure the safety and security of biodiversity, ultimately leading to lifestyles and work processes that don’t infringe on individual rights but provide a good quality of life for all.
It’s essential to know what the core problem is as well. Climate change is a symptom. Underpinning our environmental problems are too many people on the planet. We know our numbers can be reduced over the next generations in noncoercive ways by educating and empowering youth, creating better economic opportunities and by ensuring there is contraception education and availability, including in the many areas where there currently are unmet needs.
The pipeline vandals, “just stop oil” folks and other so-called environmental activists who want to destroy the village to save it might take a pause to watch “8 Billion Angels” as a starting point to charting a better path forward. We need solutions, not destructive PR stunts.
Maria Fotopoulos writes about the connection between overpopulation and biodiversity loss, and from time to time other topics that confound her. On FB @BetheChangeforAnimals.