Planet Gore

The Clamor for Calamity

If a climate-change sceptic suggests that the Sun, rather than man, is responsible for climatic variations he is denounced as evil, a heretic, someone whose words are so foul and twisted that they will be “partially but directly responsible for millions of deaths from starvation, famine and disease in decades ahead.” In other words, question the environmentalist consensus, and you are endangering life itself — your words are literally poisonous.
Yet when a climate-change activist openly calls for calamitous events and the deaths of thousands of people as a way of focusing our leaders’ minds on the problem of climate change, no one bats an eye. You can fantasize about the outbreak of disease as a means of “reducing the population” or dream about natural disasters (which should be as “traumatic as possible” in order to wake people from their consumerist-induced stupor), and your fellow activists will nod along in agreement. So warped is environmentalist morality that those who raise legitimate questions about politics and science are accused of killing people with their words, while those who actually talk about the need for people to die are patted on the back.
Environmentalists are so colossally angry at the public’s refusal to heed their every word that they have kickstarted what we might call a Clamor for Calamity, publicly arguing that disaster is the only way to bring people to their senses. Last month, Jonathon Porritt — the former green adviser to the U.K. government and close buddy of Eco-Prince Charles — said that there will have to “traumatic shocks to the system” in order to “jolt” politicians on climate change. What kind of traumatic shocks would Mr Porritt like to see? Well, something like Hurricane Katrina or the recent Australian bush fires — only worse.
Porritt says the shocks “need to come as rapidly as possible” and they must be “as traumatic as possible” — “otherwise, politicians and their electorates will rapidly revert to the current mix of non-specific anxiety and inertia.” If you don’t believe that rapid, traumatic disasters are a good thing, then just look at Hurricance Katrina, says Porritt — after that, Americans “started to think that it really might be time for the U.S. to get stuck in on climate change.”
He also sings the praises of recent disasters in Australia. A country that has had “more than its fair share of traumatic shocks” in recent years, including the deaths of 173 people and the destruction of 2,000 homes in the worst bush fires of modern times, Australia has thankfully become a bit more serious about tackling climate change, says Porritt. For example, the green-leaning Kevin Rudd beat the conservative John Howard in the last general election. But, Australia is still not doing enough; it “still pursues its dream of unbridled affluence, California style,” he says. “Clearly the shocks to their systems just haven’t been bad enough — which gives us some sense of just how bad future climate shocks are going to have to be to drive any serious transformation.”
So the bush fires weren’t sufficiently hellish to cure Australians of their alleged addiction to “unbridled affluence.” Just what does Porritt have in mind for Australia? Worse fires? Earthquakes, perhaps? The deaths of 1,730 people rather than a mere 173? That should do the job.
Sounding like an angry Old Testament God surveying sinful communities around the globe, and deciding which of them deserves locusts, which plagues, and which fire, Porritt reveals the deeply intolerant, misanthropic streak in modern environmentalism. And he isn’t the only green indulging in Peril Porn and having wet nightmares about future destruction. In a recent BBC radio debate, a green-leaning commentator complained that there are “too many people,” and, “for the planet’s sake, I hope we have bird flu or some other thing that will reduce the population, because otherwise we’re doomed.”
A few years ago, when Britain was hit by a series of floods, a Guardian columnist prayed for more. “Apathetic about climate change and out of touch with the environment, Britain needs a short sharp shock,” she said. “The best chance Britain has is a course of environmental ECT: lots of small, nasty shocks where it really hurts. So roll on floods, they’ve got a lot to teach us. The more floods, the merrier.” In the early 1990s, Earth First! welcomed the spread of AIDS because it might “bring the human population back to sanity.” Because “just as the plague contributed to the demise of feudalism, AIDS has the potential to end industrialism,” they reasoned.
These fantasies of human-decimating disaster expose how many environmentalists really view nature: not as something polluted by mankind (who now must find practical ways to clean it up), but as a sentient, God-like force which should punish humans for their wanton ways or shock them into changing their lifestyles. Mother Nature becomes the imagined corrector of human depravity. The Clamor for Calamity also reveals how irrational environmentalists consider the rest of us to be. We are so spectacularly stupid, so brain-addled by consumerism — with eyes that do not see, and ears that do not hear — that the only possible solution is not debate, but disaster. That alone will demonstrate at last that their god is God. As they wait for that rapturous day, environmentalists will continue to censor infidels and heretics, and pray for Gaia’s judgment to be visited upon us all.
Brendan O’Neill is the editor of spiked and the author of Can I Recycle My Granny? And 39 Other Eco-Dilemmas.

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