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David Horton Headshot

Like a Diamond in the Sky

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The position of climate change denialists these days is roughly the same as that of Flat Earthers from the day that Yuri Gargarin circled the Earth in a capsule. That is a continual denial of something which it is no longer tenable to deny, and being something of a student of human nature in all its aberrations, I ask myself, as many have before me, "Why are they so?".

There are many answers: a deep faith in unregulated market forces; a deep faith in big energy companies; a deep faith that a god created the world in a perfect form 6000 years ago, and humans are too puny to damage that creation; a hatred of those dirty hippies who should all have been shot in the Sixties. But there is another thread running through all of those -- a belief that no environmental issue, no conservation cause, no piece of the natural world, must ever be allowed to get in the way of big profits for big business or of the ever accelerating human population.

Everywhere you look around the world, forests are being smashed and burned, species hunted to extinction, ocean floors ravaged, rivers polluted, sand dunes paved over, coral reefs bombed, mountain tops blasted. And everywhere a new problem becomes evident, and people concerned for our world mobilize to try to protect some vestige of creation, the forces of big business bring to bear financial and legal and lobbyist and union and media and political pressure and ensure that no conservation cause can ever succeed.

And they get away with this because they convince Joe Public that it is "jobs or the environment" and because "saving spotted owls" can be made to seem of concern only to tree huggers, and because there is always the impression, promoted by the media and the tourism industry, that there are plenty of wild places left, just over the hill, just around the river bend, just on the next island. The world can be made to seem inexhaustible.

But along come scientists, not those soft girly greenie sympathizer biologists, but hard real male physicists in white coats, to tell us that the actual planet as a whole is in trouble. Not just piece meal battles for a patch of forest here, a beach there, but an invisible gas permeating the atmosphere, rising inexorably in concentration, and warming the planet towards a tipping point or two which could make the planet unlivable for humans in the sense that we have understood living in the last 100,000 years or so. And suddenly big business, and the politicians they have nurtured, and the peasants hoping for crumbs from the rich man's table, one day, and their enablers on talk back radio and Murdoch Media, are faced with the prospect that having won every battle in their drive to totally exploit the planet they may, finally, lose the war.

And so the chorus of anti-global warming propaganda, already high enough to prevent action these long ten years, is suddenly ratcheted up to a new level, as the destroyers of worlds fear that the public will, finally, like 6 billion Yuri Gargarins, see for themselves the reality of the world around them.

Too much reality on the Watermelon Blog.

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