I found this clip interesting. It’s about a woman who’s seen the film ‘Chasing Ice’ and been convinced that global warming is real, having apparently previously been such a ferocious climate change denier that when people talked about it she ordered them out of her home.
Two things struck me in particular.
First of all the bit where she feels the need to say ‘I’m proud to be an American but…’ You wonder what on Earth patriotism has to do with it, and then you realise that no one’s belief system really works as a set of separate propositions. She’d subscribed to a cluster of values, climate change denial came as part of the package along with patriotism, and now she was experiencing some dissonance.
The second thing that struck me, and I found it touching, is that she spoke of ‘undoing the harm’ that she’d done. I’m not sure everyone really gets the fact that, if you deny something that’s a real threat, or make fun of it, then you’re actually doing harm, because we are actually in the world, and what we say spreads out like ripples in a pond.
God knows how much harm a figure like Jeremy Clarkson has done, for instance, with his jokes that imply that this sort of thing isn’t really for red-blooded males to concern themselves with.
I saw him chairing Have I Got News For You, the other night, and the not-very-macho Will Gomperts was on the panel, having to deal with Clarkson’s challenges to his manhood. Sure enough when wind power came up as a subject, Gomperts saw his chance and promptly rubbished wind turbines, saying they were absolutely hideous things and he much prefered (big macho) powerstations. He got a raised eyebrow of mildly surprised approval from Clarkson and looked very pleased with himself.
After all what’s more important than your manhood?