The “Russian Front” of Climatic Change
Columnist Lisa Hymas recently posted the following article on Grist that places the question of birth rate in a climatic change context: “What should climatic hawks do next? Fight for free birth control.
I agree with Lisa completely that birth rate needs to be incorporated into the larger question of Man’s impact on the environment. Given our resource consumption and Man’s impact on the environment through pollution, deforestation and urban sprawl, too many humans already inhabit the globe. Mankind cannot afford to grow from six billion to nine billion people in coming decades. However, as a former “pro-cures” activist who worked closely with Conservatives between 2001 and 2006, I’m concerned that linking climatic change to traditionally ‘moral’ issues (such as birth control) will further entrench environmental battle lines between the worldview left and right. This was precisely the case regarding stem cells and human cloning.
Regarding stem cells, the vast majority of the public didn’t care about their actual medical worth; both sides believed whatever they wanted to believe. For many Liberals, stem cells were about Christian and Pro-Life morals blocking cures. For Conservatives, stem cells were about Liberals sanctioning the killing of embryos and fetuses by science and industry. Thus BIO/Pharma slipped an economic agenda under the radar that fortified status quo relationships between disease, disability, basic research funding, and pharmaceutical profits.
This winning strategy—portray an issue as part of the worldview war to divert attention from its actual truth and stymie change—was enacted with the full support of national GOP leaders, including Bush. Consider: In 2003, the top ten pharmaceuticals in Fortune 500 made more profits than the other 490 corporations combined. How could anyone have thought Bush and the GOP would in reality oppose long range goals crucial to the financial health of Pharma? Nonetheless, America embraced the stem cells charade because it fulfilled the first requirement of any successful fraud: It presented illusions that appealed to its victims. In Climatic Change, Big Oil and the GOP hope to re-enact this age-old ploy.
Shrinking Ratios Between Workers and Non-Workers.
Currently, three adult Americans earn wages for every retiree or disabled American. Experts project this ratio to drop to two-to-one over the next forty years. Keenly aware of this forecast, our State Department (under GW Bush) took part in international talks with nations who face similar concerns (Europe, Great Britain, and Russia) to search for viable solutions to this demographic spectre. In the coming decades, industries and politicians primarily concerned with economic stability, growth, and social control will play on the public’s economic fears by casting efforts to curb birth rates as symptoms of a Pro-Choice worldview plot. This coalition—the GOP, Conservatives, Big Oil, and its satellites—would be overjoyed to tag climatic hawks as just another foe in their ‘moral’ war.
In my opinion, climate hawks need to be very clear (publicly) that overpopulation, over-consumption, and pollution are crucial issues that need to be addressed immediately. At the same time, pro-green strategists would be wise to consider the past in choosing how best to raise public awareness re the dangers posed by overpopulation. For example:
In WWII, Germany had the world’s strongest army, and yet Germany lost the war because Hitler insisted on fighting too many fronts at once: Europe, Africa, and Russia. A century and a half earlier, the same was true of France and Napoleon (ditto for the Roman Empire). Climate Hawks are already hard put to refute propaganda that portrays climatic change as an economic issue and environmentalists as anti-prosperity. Should Conservatives succeed in casting climatic change as part of a Liberal plot to undermine Christian values (and believe me, the religious right will definitely try to do this if given the chance), their success could prove to be the “Russian Front” for climatic change and disastrous for Man and Earth.
Twice a surrogate ‘stem cells’ spokesperson for the GW Bush White House, James ended his biotech activism over the hypocrisy of worldview politics at the national level and the eco-denial of his former allies.