Deniz Tekiner, Ph.D., is author of The Degenerate Society: Postmodernism and How You Can Oppose It and Modern Art and the Romantic Vision.
As I see it, the current burning issues of global warming and climate change are used by the state-corporate mass media propaganda apparatus as a divide and conquer tactic to keep the political “left” and “right” fighting. These issues have at the same time been used, starting as early as the late 1960s perhaps, as distractive red herrings to redefine environmental pollution issues in overly complicated terms that often cannot be understood by average people so that these concepts can be used more as wedge issues to divide people than as issues to motivate people to take constructive actions to address them.
Elites in charge of the major media must be savvy enough to know by now that average people composing most of the masses cannot easily relate to or get their heads around global warming and climate change intellectually. If the media really wanted the general public to become more aroused to address these issues, it would use the terms of "pollution" instead. Average people tend to be often able to relate to immediate problems of pollution in their water, air, and food, but often cannot relate to climate change. Well-intentioned people including environment activists continue to emphasize climate change rather than pollution because they've integrated the established propaganda language into their vocabulary. But if they changed their emphasis to pollution, better practical results might be more likely.
Even many highly educated people, let alone the uneducated, often cannot think well or clearly in terms of long time ranges, which is a big part of why the US Social Security system was set up to compensate for people's lack of ability to save for their senior years. Global warming and climate change are long-range concepts that entail long-term thinking, such as their demands that people should alter their present actions, in terms of their “carbon footprint,” for long term climate goals.
Most busy working people who have to worry about their monthly bills can’t be reasonably expected to spend their days worrying about their carbon footprints. For best results, issues should be framed in terms of more immediate problems to engage the general public interest. While global warming and human-caused climate change may well be realities, the political facts on the ground have shown that while most people may only be confused or not engaged to be concerned very much about global warming, if they find out that a dangerous toxin is in their drinking water, for example, watch out, here they may come screaming! We saw this in the recent Flint water pollution disaster.
Elites in charge of mass news venues must know this very well, which is why I think they tend to deliberately emphasize global warming and climate change over the urgency of immediate pollution issues, which if they are addressed effectively, also tend to address the broader natural systems that cause them. Media elites in my view mainly want climate and environment issues as wedge issues to divide the public, as part of a divide and conquer strategy, and really don't want any mass drives by publics to rock the boats of continued processes of the industrial pollution and destruction of our natural resources that many corporations depend on being able to continue doing in order to sustain their profits.
Concerns of environmental activists may be well-intentioned but I also wonder about how true many are to their convictions. I wonder how many such activists conscientiously limit their own use of plastics, minimize their travels on jets, keep using appliances as long as possible without throwing them out, etc. so as to have truly environmentalist habits. Maybe some do.
How many academic environmentalists, I further wonder, regularly take fuel-guzzling jets thousands of miles to attend environmental conferences where they mainly virtue signal and hobnob with academic environmentalist poohbahs over elaborate buffet and dinner tables while staying at luxury hotels, then jet back to their lives of conspicuous overconsumption? If they were really so environmentally conscientious and sincere, wouldn’t they prefer to have the conferences by Skype instead? Some of their expenses to travel to these conferences must be tax-deductible as employment-related. Do these academics also use the conferences as ways to take discounted vacations? Undoubtedly, many take in and enjoy the sights and tourist spots while there.
Many academic environmentalists seem to think that by having their conferences, they pile up ever more evidence for global warming and climate change, and if only they can pile up enough evidence, the opposition will relent. Do they really believe that people who are fine with turning our world’s oceans into toxic dumps for ever more plastics, chemicals, oil spills, radioactive wastes, and other pollutants while killing off wildlife wholesale will be moved by evidence of global warming or any other ethical arguments?
Speaking of environmental ethics, if anyone is interested in what the Bible seems to say about the present environmental predicament, by the way, I recommend reading the terrifying forecast in Isaiah 24. According to other Bible passages, nature is God’s beloved handiwork. Those in touch with God and Spirit would know this and would not want to rape and ravage it just for some more corporate profits. Those who think nothing of pillaging nature to line their pockets can’t be expected to be moved either by long-term climate change evidence or by ethical arguments.
But if anyone knows their own food and water is significantly contaminated, they usually can be counted on to be concerned, whatever their morals. So the propaganda should focus on pollution of air, food, and water, not global warming and climate change. That major media don’t make pollution more the focus makes me suspicious that they really just want environmentalism more as a political wedge issue than to motivate mass public concern and action.
Environmental activists like to blame the problems on governments and corporations. But what can governments and corporations really do about ever-increasing populations of insatiably concupiscent consumers who buy the things that leave carbon footprints? Deprive them of consumer goods? Governments can mandate pollution controls and conservation of wilderness areas. If governments became even more conscientious, they could sponsor massive cleanup operations. What else? Many I know with ostensible environmental concerns exercise minimal constraints on their own consumer behaviors but seem to prefer to transfer most or all blame to governments and corporations. They I think could more constructively alter their own consumer behaviors and focus on curtailing ideologies valuing perpetual unsustainable economic and population growth in favor of a paradigm of natural homeostatic sustenance.
By the early 1970s and the first Earth Days, we basically knew what the environmental problems were and had all the best ideas to address them, such as in the ideas of Deep Ecology, Zero Population Growth (max of two children per family), conservation of wilderness areas, and strict legal controls of emissions, dumping of trash, and corporate pollution of our air and water. From that point on, we knew the basic problems and solutions and we could either act on the solutions or not. How much has academic environmentalism really added substantially to this knowledge and what has it actually accomplished in terms of significantly improving our natural environments? Maybe what academic environmentalism mainly does is spew more hot air into the environments. And what both media environmentalist propaganda and academic environmentalism seem to mainly accomplish is they give public impressions of great conflict, activity, and busy-ness around environmental concerns while really doing little to actually improve God’s green earth.
© 2019 Deniz Tekiner
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on December 12, 2019:
Thought provoking article. Interesting. Thanks.
Deniz Tekiner (author) on November 10, 2019:
Yes, thanks very much for your comment, Neha.
Neha Rohra on November 10, 2019:
Realistic. Ethical arguments and evidences cannot make thoughtless greed consumed people aware.
What affects them personally at most bears that chance.
Couldn't agree more that those working in hectic jobs cannot delve into the matter in first place, let alone relating to it. Connecting at ground level stands some chance.