If this proves anything, it’s that voices matter.
The conservative organization Heartland Institute pulled a billboard recently featuring a photo of “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, with his supposed voice saying in scary maroon letters: “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” (Two other billboards featured Fidel Castro and Charles Manson. Of course they did.)
I had a few thoughts upon reading about this event:
1. Boy, those conservatives sure like to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
Just like the McCain/Palin “We-don’t-care-how-we-get-elected” trainwreck of a campaign—which appealed to many sectors of conservatives—showed us, many right-wing groups don’t focus on one’s intellect or ability to think critically. They just want to win, and they will appeal to your surface-level, shallow-thinking gut reactions to do so. LET’S JUST WIN JUST SAY ANYTHING, LIKE LIKENING GLOBAL WARMING TO TED KACZYNSKI CUZ NO ONE LIKES HIM, RIGHT?
2. Wait, this really works?
Even those who are “undecided” can’t possibly be swayed by such fatuous tactics, can they? I’m confused as to how this is intended to get anyone to even dismiss climate change. (Do you dislike homemade bombs and men with unkempt beards? Well, then don’t believe in global warming!) Maybe I am just bewildered by climate change’s nonbelievers in general, but this strategy seems particularly fruitless. Heartland’s website even makes the absurd claim that, “The most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.” Well, actually, the most prominent advocates are indeed scientists, as well as Nobel Prize winners, well-respected academics, etc., etc.
3. Climate Change exists, and it is a crucial ecofeminist issue.
Considering the extravagant and mega-polluting lifestyles we (Americans primarily) are encouraged to lead, climate change makes sense. It even seems obvious: We are using up the planet. For those who have read and understood some of the science behind it, it is understood that climate change is a worldwide crisis, affecting people everywhere—and it is much more frightening for those in developing countries, especially women. A 2007 UN report on gender and climate change talks about how, because of their roles in society as well as the discrimination and severe poverty they suffer, women are more gravely affected by the effects of climate change. The consequences of climate change are many. Can we get a billboard about that, please?
4. Speaking up works.
People got mad. This billboard was taken down in less than a day. Of course, that’s not the end of the story, as this group has just gotten started. Visit Forecast the Facts to sign now and tell the corporations that fund the Heartland Institute that their “persuasion tactics” aren’t okay.
Climate change has already wreaked havoc on the planet, and it’s going to get worse. We need conscious people in this world, and we need them now. Our voices were heard to put a stop to something; now we need them to put a start to something.