If we’ve learned anything from the Huffington Post, it’s that celebrity’ attempts at political eloquence almost always ends in disaster. A recent op-ed by Canadian singer Raffi was no exception; while God dumped enough snow on America to collapse the Superdome and Floridians tried to make sense of their temperatures dipping into the low 20s for a few weeks, the man had the tone-deaf gall to say we really need to refocus on this global warming thing. And, attempting eloquence, he quickly made it the most embarrassing statement about global warming since… well…
Quoth the Raffi:
In a well known Greek myth, the very rich King Midas, who loves gold above all else, is granted his singular wish that everything he touches turn into gold. The gift becomes a curse when his golden touch kills plants, food, and even his daughter, who is turned into a statue. Bereft and repentant, forsaking greed, the king begs for deliverance. His curse is lifted by a wash in the river. All he holds truly precious is restored.
The modern version of the story is about a gold rush called globalization, a monetized world order that commodifies everything and poisons all that it touches: air, water, soil, whales, indigenous cultures, mothers’ milk, and babies, now born with a body burden of toxic chemicals. Money, as symbolic reward for goods and services, when elevated above all else, becomes a curse. The symbol turns tyrant and casts a plague on the living. We’re currently in the atonement chapter of the tragedy, praying we have time to write a happier ending.
Just… where does one begin?
Short answer: penguins. They’re not worried about global warming. Just take a look at this little guy…!
Longer answer: poor Raffi is feeling victory slip through his fingers. It’s 2011, and if he hasn’t heard of Climategate by now (which puts to rest the lie that climate scientists are impartial and objective), he’s probably noticed how many more people are becoming skeptics puppets of Big Oil as more and more information comes out about climate change, the bullying and apocalyptic exaggeration of its prominent researchers, and the massive profits that cap and trade proponents stand to gain if they get their way. As the number of studies contesting the conclusions of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) alarmists increases, true believers like Raffi see the vindication for their vain self-righteousness slipping away, and with their backs against the wall, their true colors begin to show.
We need a new lens and lexicon for conveying climate change as the greatest threat on Earth, a tragedy of epic proportions, especially for the world’s young. … It’s best addressed with systems change, beginning with belief systems learned very early. To cut pollution and GHG emissions for good, change personal belief systems. Start young. To grow Earth stewards, steward the children and youth. This is where the restoration must focus–strategically and morally. Not only do kids get sustainability, they have the most to lose or gain. [emphasis mine]
So it’s pretty obvious that he’s watched “Barack Hussein Obama! Mmm mmm mmm,” then. What’s most disturbing about this is that he’s not necessarily calling for parents to teach their children to care about global warming. It would make sense that if they’re concerned for their and their children’s futures, they’ve already taught their children, even at an early age, the long-term benefits of not using electricity or water and not driving in cars that can actually protect them in a crash.
So if it stands to reason that parents who believe in AGW will teach their children about AGW, who else but the children of climate skeptics or agnostics is he talking about reaching? And if these children won’t be reached by their thick-headed carbon-guzzling parents, how else can we teach them but through their education and the media they consume? The real goal here is to get to the parents through the children, not vice-versa:
It’s the same principle as what I call the Disney Pop Star Combine. The only way to get a mass audience in music these days is to target kids; there is no “alternative media” nor a demand for one in the children’s entertainment market. Thus, by holding a monopoly on children’s attention, Disney can convince the kids that so-and-so is cool and awesome and attractive, and those kids will get their parents to shell out money that they otherwise would not have spent on absolute dreck. This is the last, desperate gasp of AGW alarmism; we can’t reason with adults, so we must indoctrinate the youth so they can manipulate adults into doing what we want.
There’s just one problem. With the Disney business model, since there’s such a short shelf life for these poor kids who get thrown into showbiz way too early, they’re constantly replaced by new “stars” to make the next wave of elementary schoolers think they’re getting something new and fresh when it’s just a repackaging of what their big brothers and sisters have already wised up to. I was a child of the late ’80s, and I remember seeing all sorts of PSAs on PBS about saving the environment. Heck, we received a magazine at school called Time for Kids that showed Planet Earth frying like an egg on a skillet. Scaring kids about AGW is nothing new. The youngest generation of climate skeptics are the very children who were targeted by the likes of Raffi over the past two decades; any receptiveness we had to his message died the moment we discovered we could research these issues for ourselves. His “new lens and lexicon” can only have a short-term effect, while our side is gaining permanent ground by sticking with conclusions reached through the actual scientific method (evidence, not conclusions, first).
It saddens me more than anything to see aging celebrities try to create a positive legacy for themselves by jumping on the eco-awareness bandwagon, thinking they’re virtuous crusaders for a cleaner planet. It saddens me even more that when they implicitly admit that they don’t have convincing proof for their pet cause, instead of reevaluating which side of history they want to be on, they decide to grasp for vindication even harder by preying on the one demographic that can’t challenge them. When you’re ready to talk to us adults, Raffi, we’ll still be here… especially if those cold weather ever lets up.