Sometimes, we get climate culture in all the wrong ways. This week was one of those times.
I’ve never been a fan of the morning shows. Unless they have a favorite actor or musician on, I’m not too interested in listening to the sunny rendition of what often feels more like advertising than the news. This past week only cemented my opinion, as Good Morning Britain downplayed the climate crisis in epic fashion.
They had Miranda Whelehan, a Just Stop Oil activist, on and the interviewers and felow guest proceeded to question her methods, her motives, and the moral authority of young people to fight for their futures. I saw the segment once the activists hit Twitter to call out how reminiscent it was of Don’t Look Up. MSNBC even covered it. Watch the video below to see real life and the movie side by side. The interviewers continually undercut and disrespect the activist as she more and more passionately defends her right to a future.
While the interviewers & other guest maintained that they understood climate science (I remain skeptical), they said they took issue with the disruptions Just Stop Oil caused for everyday people. Just Stop Oil has recently become famous for blockades and the interruption of soccer games.
Questioning people’s tactics is something that must happen within movements — it’s how we improve. It is true that there must be a balance between how disruptive an action is and how much sympathy there is for you and your cause. This helps movements to grow! If there is no disruption, you go unnoticed, and you haven’t caused problems for leaders. If you don’t have any public sympathy your numbers won’t grow. However, good-faith, inside the movement questioning was not what was happening in this interview. Miranda Whelehan was gaslit, interrupted, asked demeaning questions, called “childish,” and ridiculed for defending the science. It was not a constructive conversation in the least.
You can learn more about it in Miranda’s great op-ed response — https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/apr/13/just-stop-oil-climate-crisis-good-morning-britain.
I am incredibly disappointed to see the way that the media continues to undercut those calling for a better future. As Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations (not exactly a radical youth), said,
Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 5, 2022
But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels.
Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness.
Now is the moment for change; there is so much that needs to be saved. Why are we tearing down the clear-eyed people trying to save it? This interview will go down in history, and I have a strong feeling about who the future will see as right. What will a small inconvenience be in the scale of climate catastrophe? How many will wish we had acted earlier?