Climate crisis and the urgent need for a news media that isn’t beholden to carbon-profiteers

In the last post I was planning on going through all the major stories of 2019 on a month by month basis. However it became apparent quite quickly that to do that would take a while. And I do understand the irony implicit in that last statement, in light of the theme of the last post. Anyway, in order to avoid dragging this out for too long I thought that rather than unpicking each story individually it would be better to begin by looking for relationships across several of the stories at once.

Prioritised in no order other than existential importance, I thought it would be best to look at the news stories in relation to the climate crisis threatening all life on earth, and more specifically the responses by the establishment to what are clear patterns of increased extreme weather patterns. In March a Cyclone killed hundreds while destroying towns and cities across multiple countries in Africa. In July the President of the most polluting and unsustainable ‘national economy’ on the planet once again got himself tangled up in an intellectual quagmire as he tried to make a 360 degree turn look like a 180 degree turn, while at the same time continuing to deny what nearly everyone else could see.

And to put that in context, this is the same President who has received tens of millions of dollars in donations from the same corporations who are both profiting from the climate crisis, and constructing the various denials of it. One of which is to use contradicting and complicated explanations in order to raise doubt, promote feelings of ignorance and confound the public. This is most keenly obvious when the person attempting to confuse and confound is patently confused and confounded themselves.

In August Hurricane Dorian destroyed families, homes and communities across multiple countries in the Americas, including the USA. However this time the President of the USA not only denied climate change, but actually denied being aware of category 5 hurricanes having ever occurred previously. This is the same President that has now responded to four different category 5 Hurricanes during his presidency saying that he has never seen one before. And of course, the late-night talk shows are having a field day over it. But this is more than just chuckle-fodder for the overpaid ivy-leaguers that populate some of the highest paid jobs in television. In reality, this is an existential crises and really needs to be recognised as such. And in some news outlets defence, there are those who are recognising it as exactly that.

And it is not just the weather stories that are part of the wider context of the climate crisis. In March a second Boeing 737 crashed killing everyone on board. Now before getting into the whys and wherefores of consumer safety and regulating multinationals, have a little think about what the Boeing 737 Max 8 is, and what the longer term implications of air travel are for the billions of people that will not fly on those planes. Scrutiny, regulation and legal recourse against for-profit entities that harm and/or kill in the process of making money are all absolutely paramount in a political system that even pretends to care about people. But first and foremost must be the level of complicity of those products and services in the climate crisis. Not only should the Boeing 737’s be grounded, but the majority of air travel needs to stop. We, as a species can’t continue burning fossil fuels the way we have been.

With out going over old ground, the profits and the power maintaining our civilisation’s current direction of travel are concentrated among a very small group of the 1%ers, but the impacts of their actions and decisions don’t recognise international or class borders. It is our families and our communities that are being destroyed, as they make our planet unliveable. Is it any wonder that organisations like Extinction Rebellion come into being? Is it any wonder that the children and teenagers who are being condemned to a future of suffering and pain are calling ‘bullshit’ on our inaction. We should be grateful that someone has called us all out, and we should reciprocate by getting out in front of them to protect them from the worst excesses of the powerful.

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