Confessions of an Angry, Bitter, Old Fart Activist, Or Not?


by Danny Heim

Oh sure yeah this could be considered a confession, kind of. I mean I put it in the title didn’t I? Well yeah I’ll confess a few things here. Um, I confess that I’m an angry and bitter activist. And the only reason I confessed is because as you read this you will see that this is very much true. OK, confession’s over. So, this article is going to be about activism, strictly about activism and climate change activism to be specific.

Yeah, I have a ton of issues about 21st century activism. Actually it started back in the 20th century but it’s bad enough here in the 21st century so let’s just stick to that. I said bad enough, yeah it’s bad, 21st century activism that is. I’ll do a little list here so you’ll know why it’s bad.

  1. Reality
  2. Information addiction
  3. Elitism

Reality

I intend to be talking to climate activists here so if you’re not one then go watch TV or something. Ask yourself, do you really think you’re in reality? Well if you’re the typical activist then you’re not in reality, sorry. Yeah see that’s because of the climate science that’s right in front of you but you simply don’t want to look at it. Let me demonstrate. Go to the link below and look at the graphs there.

https://www.ipcc.unibe.ch/publications/wg1-ar4/faq/wg1_faq-10.3.html  (hit back button to return)

The graphs at this link are from the IPCC AR4 Working Group 1. The question is asked:  “If emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced, how quickly do their concentrations in the atmosphere decrease?” Well the answer is in these graphs. Here’s what you need to know about what it is saying so we can get you into reality. It deals with many different GHG’s but let’s just consider CO2 (graph A). It says that if we reduced emissions immediately by 50% then we would more or less only manage to level off CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. Here’s an important quote to note from the IPCC report:

A 50% reduction would stabilize atmospheric CO2, but only for less than a decade. After that, atmospheric CO2 would be expected to rise again as the land and ocean sinks decline owing to well-known chemical and biological adjustments. Complete elimination of CO2 emissions is estimated to lead to a slow decrease in atmospheric CO2 of about 40 ppm over the 21st century.

Also note this quote:

“only in the case of essentially complete elimination of emissions can the atmospheric concentration of CO2 ultimately be stabilized at a constant level. All other cases of moderate CO2 emission reductions show increasing concentrations because of the characteristic exchange processes associated with the cycling of carbon in the climate system.”

And also note this quote that demonstrates the IPCC is talking about an “immediate” need in reductions in emissions:

“For each gas, five illustrative cases of future emissions are presented: stabilization of emissions at present-day levels, and immediate emission reduction by 10%, 30%, 50% and 100%.”

Are you getting the reality of this? See they are saying that an “immediate” 50% reduction in CO2 emissions will only give us less than 10 years of a stable level of 400 ppm (where we are now) and then the god damn CO2 things will start rising again. Now 350.org, Bill McKibbens group, says we need to be at 350 ppm to keep things safe and relatively livable. So by the IPCC findings we’d need a 100% reduction to decrease the current levels by 40 ppm in about 80 years and then have it stay there. That means we’d never be able to put human induced CO2 into the air and we’d need to get on that right now. Bill and the gang say we need to get to 350 ppm and stay there and the 40 ppm that the 100% reduction gives us will get us close, and maybe with carbon sequestration we’d get the extra 10 ppm needed to be at 350 ppm . Well then the IPCC scenario of a 100% is what we need. Of course we’d need to do that right now, that means immediately, see?

Now hey, do you really think that putting a price on carbon, practicing efficiency efforts and switching to renewables is going to get us to that 350 steady state? Now remember we gotta get on it immediately according to the IPCC. So if that is so, how immediate do you think getting a price on carbon is going to be, how immediate is getting the world adjusting to efficiency efforts going to be, and especially you gotta ask yourself how immediate are we going to get switched over to renewables? Please realize that by doing these slow and low level emissions reduction of 10 to 30 percent means we’ll still be increasing in CO2 concentrations.

Let’s pretend “immediately” means about 15 years or let’s just say 2025. The best and most bold proposals out there today don’t get us to an 80% reduction in emissions until about 2050. I think we safely can estimate that according to what the IPCC is saying in AR4 at that link above, I don’t think they are calling 2050 immediate, do you? I kinda doubt they are calling 2025 all that immediate either, but let’s say they are just to be safe. And really an 80% reduction ain’t the deal we actually need; it really needs to be 100% immediate reductions right now. Face the reality folks, today’s typical proposals don’t even come close to meeting the suggestions of the IPCC, not even close. Believe it, it’s is the science and most likely it is the conservative science as it doesn’t even include many of the feedbacks such as permafrost melt. I’m thinking that reality is a bitch, ain’t it?

There is hope, but slim hope. I’ll get into that later, right now I’d just like for you to think about what is being proposed in the climate advocacy movement today, and when you’ve given it some good thought and after you’ve studied that link I gave you above, then maybe you can think some more about the proposals we have now and say, “screw that, we need something way more dramatic”.

Information Addiction

Yeah see as activist promoting solutions to climate change the information we need to do that is not all that much really. I mean the IPCC is the premier source, ain’t it? And it’s safe because of how conservative they are; well, maybe too conservative but at least an activist wouldn’t be overstating things when they are convincing dumbshits about climate change. So really, the information I just gave you in that last section is one of only a few things you’d need; maybe all you’d need. If some dumbshit doesn’t believe you then fuck‘em; move on.

But no, we don’t do that, most of us don’t anyway. No, we seem to like to get our rocks off by staying with these dumbshits and argue till we are blue in the face. It’s like the favorite past time for climate activists and what kills me is they actually think they are doing some good by debunking the dumbshits. But the truth is once a debunk has been done, then there’s another lie gonna be coming right back at you to debunk. What a bunch of happy debunkers we activists are. And oh boy are we happy to debunk because we are fighting the good fight and staving off denial and all…that. The truth is we are in a spin cycle that never stops and all the while climate change gets worse and the possibility of resolving the matter gets ever further away.

Then there’s the obsession to do links. My god within the average thread in a comment section on the net of say 30 comments a guy could spend all day just to get the link sources read and not eat meals in the process. And here’s what I am seeing happening with this, or why it is happening I should say. I think maybe it’s an addiction. Yeah I think many people doing activist work wind up getting addicted to information, after all it’s the age of information is it not?

I remember when I worked with an environmental group in Missouri, and this was back in the early and late 90’s when the net was still getting introduced to society; the same thing then only without the internet so much. After a few years working there I began to see a pattern. I saw that what was actually happening in the environmental movement was really nothing more than an exchange of information. Yeah it was one study after another being traded around like commodities on the stock market or something, and the paper involved, whoa!  I mean this comprised at lest half or more of the work being done. One activist would send a study to another activist to read and said activist would send another back to the sender to read and so on. I’d get 10 to 20 emails and handouts a week asking me to read some new study or an article or some god damn thing. I quit reading the fucking things after awhile; it was bullshit as far as I was concerned.

See, I realized that for most issues I had just about all the info I needed to make a case with one or two studies and maybe a couple articles. And with science papers the abstracts and executive summaries were enough; I wasn’t a scientist and therefore did not need to understand the complicated computations within the papers, but I can tell you, there are activist a plenty out there who try. It became clear to me, the activist’s association with information that I was witnessing, and still do now with the net, is none other than an addiction. See, go to the airport or get in a crowd out in public and you’ll see at least 60% of them with their face in some kinda information injection device, it drives me fucking crazy. Oh by the way,  sorry for the vulgarity, I told you I was angry and bitter, and that’s no shit. Anyway, get help people.

Elitism

Now you’re gonna have to open you minds on this one, but you won’t like it. First let me get something clear, by the elite in this case I am talking about the liberal elite, and more specifically I am referring to the elites in the climate change movement and even more specific the activists in that movement. OK, now that we have our perimeters right let me ask you this. Do you think I am talking about the elite being those who are rich, who connect with senators and CEO’s and the like? And who also while being all that take trips to Europe and have large homes with swimming pools and a Mercedes Benz, an Audi and a Land Rover in their three car garages? And then these assholes have the audacity to be activists for climate change? You think I’m talking about them? Well…no, I’m not talking about “just” them. Yeah they’re included of course, but it doesn’t stop with them, no, it goes all the way down to the lower middle class school teacher who gets to every public hearing she can to do her part to speak out against those god awful elitist fossil fuels executives making those billions while she and her family are lucky to take a small vacation to the Rocky Mountain National Park once every few years; yeah her…that elitist bitch.

OK now let me define this group I am talking about just a little bit more. For the most part, not exclusively though, this group is comprised of mostly white, economically secure, educated and liberal citizens. Yes, even lower middle class people can be economically secure and usually are in the group I am talking about. This is probably about 85% of all climate activists. And if you add non-whites to the group it would go up to about 90% of all climate activists. Yeah, 90% of all climate activists have elitist issues. You say, “Go to hell, asshole.” Yeah, I get that a lot. But, give me a minute, OK?

So now that the demographic perimeters are completely established of the liberal elitist climate activist (there are not enough conservative elitist climate activists to be statistically significant) we can now move on to why I have made the distinction that such a group even exists.

Yes, what makes this group elitist? There are three main reasons; actually it is three of the four I mentioned above: economically secure, educated and liberal. I wouldn’t include race, whites are just those who have dominated the advantage side of the modern era. Other races would have done the same thing had they the opportunity.

The Economically Secure

There is one main definitive answer to the question of what makes for this particular elitism. First understand that the failure of the economically secure to recognize and face the realities of climate change, as mentioned in the first section above, is something that has not occurred without reason. As a matter of fact, the primary culprit is that these activists are economically secure, see? And how that relates to their elitism is that they do not wish to actually address these realities because to do that would undermine their economic security. In other words, sacrifice would be involved, even for the poor school teacher and her family hoping to get to RockyMountainNational park this year. Or even for that guy working for a propulsion laboratory as an entry level hydrologist assistant. Or for the mom and dad who do contract work installing water filtering systems for some god damn corporation that gets 80% of the contract income. To actually do something meaningful these people would need to be willing to sacrifice their comforts, however large or small, in order to do their part in assisting the movement so that climate change impacts would be thwarted or at least greatly reduced. And these are the actual activists of this movement; forget about the casual advocate out there who by comparison makes the subjects here look like proletariat enthusiasts.

The Educated

What does being educated have to do with the make up of this brand of elitism I am accusing these activists of having? Well, it has much to do with the second section above, information addiction. Only in the context of elitism it’s not as clear as simple addiction to information. There is actually an outright prejudice on the information involved, or as in information addiction, the amount of information involved. In direct terms, climate elitist think they know best and they think that because they feel they are more informed and because they actually are, at least in amount, they feel they hold superiority over those who have “less” information, but not necessarily inferior information, get it?

But there is an even more glaring aspect to this prejudice: communicative ability; whatever the fuck that means…yeah, they think there is only one way to talk and communicate climate change awareness and activism. Yeah you gotta sound educated, professional, politically correct, all that. Otherwise they feel you are not properly representing climate change advocacy. There are those who have this prejudice so bad they will denounce you outright and many times ask that your input be removed from forums and discussions, especially if there is any sort of formal setting involved. You may have vital input to add, but hey, if your grammar is off or if you sound a little too street like, well, please do the right thing and excuse yourself. In other words, “get the fuck outa here you white trash piece-a-shit.” Oh yeah, I’ve see this believe me, many times.

The Liberal

The liberal elite are actually a wide spectrum of people. It certainly is not a title belonging exclusively to climate activists. It is however a title that belongs to most liberals that begin at the lower middle class income levels and rises all the way up to the super rich. Most people believe the liberal elite are only those who are rich, or at least well off and of course educated, most likely professionals of some sort, but definitely wealthy. But because of the education prejudice most liberals have, then the status range of the liberal elite winds up being pretty far reaching; like I said, all the way down to the lower middle class.

Most people in 21st century America who are below lower middle income status, particularly those at the poverty level and especially if they are white, are usually not liberals. They mostly will be more or less non-political as they don’t give two shits about it because they’re just trying to get food on the table and the utility bills paid. But if they do happen to get somewhat political, at lest in America, especially since the cultural influence of Ronald Reagan in the 80’s, they will tend to be conservative; supporting republican policies and being very “American” or at the very least free market, independent, self-interest and competition oriented. There are many explanations for this, but the root causes are based in the need to be emotive, it gives them the sense of power they lack. I like to call these folks dumbshits as they are supporting the very people who are keeping them poor and stupid…I digress.

So as for the liberal elitist who is a climate activist it really comes down to prejudice, political, issue oriented as well as information and communication/education oriented prejudice. Liberalism, from the perspective of what’s wrong with it, comes out the strongest in the climate activism arena. I believe it is why conservative deniers and skeptics get so disgusted with climate activism. It’s that uppity, better than thou liberal personality that turns them off as much as the issue. Face it, liberal climate activists are an uppity crowd.

Conclusions

You may ask: “So what’s so important about this? Is it that big of a deal that climate activist are a little off on reality, they’re trying to do something ain’t they? Besides, to do much more than what they are proposing is most likely too much for the world to handle, the human species would not go for much more than what is currently being proposed and why should anyone be expected to sacrifice anyway, haven’t we been working to progress rather than regress? And who really cares that we like information so much, yeah maybe we’re a little overboard, but better to be over informed than under, right?  Yeah and so what about elitism too, so we get a little uppity sometimes, and hey, don’t we need people who are of higher mind, in fact, they should be our leaders shouldn’t they?”

Um, no, no, no, no…no to all accounts. Reality is reality, you can’t change it. And the reality is that we need a minimum 80% reduction in emissions by at lest 2025, and even with that we will still need to get ready to adapt to impacts, 80% by 2025 is “the” best we can do, we can’t do a 100%, therefore we’ll have some adaptation to deal with. But, anything less than an 80% reduction by 2025 is a recipe for calamity.

Over information is a problem. Why? Because we are spinning our wheels while we pass around information like candy, as if it’s going to make much difference how much more we know about this issue. For scientists yes, they need all the info they can get their hands on, but for us climate activists out here our addiction to information and information technology has become nothing more than a spin cycle to chew over and get into fancy debates with deniers that go nowhere. And as far as I can tell, these little debates that go on incessantly all day long on the net only serve to bolster the ego’s of those arguing, it’s a serious problem.

Yes it does matter if we get uppity and elitist. First off, it outcasts many people who may wish to be involved in climate activism but feel inadequate to do so and also fear repercussion from activists stuck on academia and the attitude of superiority that comes with it. Where in the history of the multiple millenniums of human experience did having the “proper form of communication and professionalism” be absolute criteria for being a leader or representative of any sort? Elitism is the greatest malfunction in climate activism to date, it must be thwarted.

I said earlier I would show that there is a slim hope. If you really are concerned about climate disruption, then you must be willing to change your advocacy message. We need governments to impose massive rationing programs, especially governments of the developed world. It is production of product as much as production of energy that has us using fossil fuels. We seek to have economic growth, and that is measured by our output of product and services. If we keep at that here in the immediate, we’ll never reduce emissions, not quick enough anyway. By the time we get all our energy ducks lined up in the way we are seeking at present, we will have most likely already passed the tipping points. Do we really want to take that chance just so we can keep these high standards of living? Are we willing to risk it all just for that?

To get the needed reduction of emissions in time and enough to thwart future catastrophic climate change we’ll need to back way off from economic growth; that means rationing. We won’t do that on our own, we’ll need to be forced, and therefore it is essential that climate activists promote government rationing. It’s not radical, it’s math.

Finally, in asking how all this matters, and very much in regard to facing reality, why should we care so much about correcting these problems in climate activism? More so, why should we care as activists so much that we would be willing to sacrifice our comforts and our standards of living for this issue; isn’t that asking a bit too much of 21st century humans? Isn’t it expecting people to behave beyond the scope of normal human compassion? Well no it is not. Why? Because this is not a normal human experience. This isn’t the case where your neighbor’s house has burned down and you get them a basket of food, or where your brother’s daughter has been found to have cancer and you offer to watch his house while he stays at the hospital. No, this is about the whole batch of life on earth! This is about whether or not there will be humans left on the planet in the next 100 years. This is about life itself, something that we have not found elsewhere in the known universe. Fuck you when you say, “well, humans deserve to die.” No we don’t, and nor does the many billions of other species that are threatened by this issue. Yes, it most definitely deserves your sacrifice of comfort and income. It deserves your very life.

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About dannyheim

I am a nut. But a good nut. Please note that all my blogs are continually in the process of being edited. You most likely would see changes if you visit back again more than once. Oh, I'm an artist by trade these days, so ahh anyway, um, ah well, my website is on here somewhere, um ah, wella anyway it's ah, http://dannyheim.com./. It's not a buying type site, don't worry, I don't market from there.
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3 Responses to Confessions of an Angry, Bitter, Old Fart Activist, Or Not?

  1. Danny, I really love this. And I confess, I’m seriously condemned in your text here, though not one of the worst. Thanks!

    • dannyheim says:

      Not only are you not one of the worst, it doesn’t even apply to you, I know that may seem not likely, but the biggest difference between you and those I am actually referring to in this article is ego, your’s is not involved with what “you” do; big, big, difference, all the difference.

  2. Terrific analysis. Thanks

    I might quibble with reality The new AR5 summary report really has nothing new, just more dire.

    So now global warming isn’t our problem – we know what we have to do there. Human intransigence is our problem. We are a species of obeisant supplicants.

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