Earth Day Too Quickly Followed by Business-As-Usual Distractions and Denial

I’ll never forget reading the unsigned editorial that a local B.C. community newspaper printed just before Earth Day 2017, titled “Earth Day in need of a facelift”. Varied lengths of the same editorial was also run by other community newspapers, all owned by the same news-media mogul, who’s also an aspiring oil refiner. It opined that “some people would argue that [the day of environmental action] … is an anachronism,” that it should instead be a day of recognizing what we’ve societally accomplished. “And while it [has] served us well, in 2017, do we really need Earth Day anymore?”

I’ve never heard anyone, let alone a mainstream news outlet, suggest we’re doing so well as to render Earth Day an unnecessary “anachronism”. Considering the sorry state of the planet’s natural environment, I found it one of the most irresponsible acts of editorial journalism I’d witnessed in my 33 years of news-media consumption.

Thus, the aspect I like about social media in general is that it enables far greater non-gate-kept information freedom — particularly in regards to corporate environmental degradation — than that offered by what had been a virtual news/information monopoly held by the mainstream news-media, including that of print.

While I don’t know his opinion of social media, Noam Chomsky has noted that while there are stories published about man-made global warming, “It’s as if … there’s a kind of a tunnel vision — the science reporters are occasionally saying ‘look, this is a catastrophe,’ but then the regular [non-environmental pro-fossil fuel] coverage simply disregards it.”

Though it’s a couple decades late, I believe that progressive movements are far more effective with the unprecedented informative and organizational abilities made widely available by social media.

___

In Canada, we have a near-monopoly corporate news-media (i.e. Postmedia’s ownership/control of all-except-one major print publications) who are formally allied with one of the planet’s greatest polluting solid forms of “energy” and the most polluting form of crude oil — bitumen crude oil, a.k.a. tarsands.

During one of its presentations, it was stated: “Postmedia and CAPP [Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers] will bring energy to the forefront of our national conversation. Together, we will engage executives, the business community and the Canadian public to underscore the ways in which the energy sector powers Canada.”

Also, a then-publisher of a Postmedia national newspaper said: “From its inception, the National Post has been one of the country’s leading voices on the importance of energy to Canada’s business competitiveness internationally and our economic well-being in general. We will work with CAPP [Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers] to amplify our energy mandate and to be a part of the solution to keep Canada competitive in the global marketplace. The National Post will undertake to leverage all means editorially, technically and creatively to further this critical conversation.”

Although the newspaper giant’s apparent bedding with the powerful industry is not news and was downplayed by Postmedia itself, it’s little known amongst the general population. More so, should the promotion of massive fossil fuel extraction, even Canada’s own, at all be a partisan position for a newspaper giant to take? And, at least in this case, whatever happened to journalism’s role of ‘afflicting the comfortable’ (which goes along with ‘comforting the afflicted’), especially one of this scale of environmental monstrosity?

(Frank Sterle Jr.)

6 thoughts on “Earth Day Too Quickly Followed by Business-As-Usual Distractions and Denial

  1. I suspect the only thing that will bring environment protection and climate change to the forefront is to make it profitable. This is how the world operates, does it not? Perhaps if people demand more energy-efficient, sustainable, and eco-friendly products, the attitude of the market and the media will change. It is so sad and dumb that it is this way but this is where our reality is. Thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe that you’re basically correct.

      In the case of Big Fossil Fuel, the industry has/had managed to stall (notably through political manipulation) the mass availability of alternative forms of fueled transportation for decades; and governments, especially those of Canada, still heavily subsidize the industry on an annual basis. In the 2019 federal budget, for example, Canada’s supposedly environmentally concerned (neo)Liberal government gave the fossil fuel sector 12-fold the subsidization they allocated towards renewable energy innovation. This was on top of agreeing to triple the diluted bitumen pipeline-flow westward through B.C., which means increasing the oil freighter traffic seven-fold through pristine whale-bearing waters.

      Mass addiction to fossil-fuel-powered single occupant vehicles surely helps keep the average addict’s mouth shut about the planet’s greatest and still very profitable polluter, lest they feel like and/or be publicly deemed hypocrites. And it now must be convenient for the industry to have such a large portion of society too tired and worried about feeding, housing and guarding their families against COVID-19 while on a substandard income to criticize it for the global environmental damage it causes, particularly when not immediately observable.

      Like

  2. There are way too many people on the planet who don’t care about having a clean environment, this is a serious problem, because they don’t even realise that the plastic they use block drains and cause extra flooding, even when streets are turned into rivers… So much work needs to be done to change what is happening now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A large number of Canada’s Conservative Party’s elected representatives are ideologically aligned with the pro-fossil-fuel mainstream American Evangelical community and Republican Party. They generally share the belief that to defend the natural environment from the planet’s greatest polluters, notably big fossil fuel, is to go against God’s will and therefore is inherently evil.
      Source: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/03/26/Harper-Evangelical-Mission

      No wonder they hate any carbon tax. Yet, ironically, for conservatives they sure pollute the planet most liberally.

      Like

  3. Thank you for sharing a post that speaks the truth and truly cares about change and protecting our planet and environment. Despite of global warming effects, many rich companies are making more profits to the demise of humankind when nothing is left but burning deserts and barren unsurvivable lands. I seem sad for my Son’s generation and thereafter.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Collectively, human existence is still essentially analogous to a cafeteria lineup consisting of diversely societally represented people, all adamantly arguing over which identifiable person should be at the front and, conversely, at the back of the line. Many of them further fight over to whom amongst them should go the last piece of quality pie and how much they should have to pay for it — all the while the interstellar spaceship on which they’re all permanently confined, owned and operated by (besides the wealthiest passengers) the fossil fuel industry, is on fire and toxifying at locations not normally investigated. As a species, we can be so heavily preoccupied with our own individual little worlds, however overwhelming to us, that we will miss the biggest of crucial pictures.

    Due to the Only If It’s In My Own Back Yard mindset, the prevailing collective attitude, however implicit or subconscious, basically follows: ‘Why should I care — my kids are alright?’ or ‘What is in it for me, the taxpayer, if I support programs for other people’s troubled families?’ While some people will justify it as a normal thus moral human evolutionary function, the self-serving OIIIMOBY can debilitate social progress, even when such progress is so desperately needed (i.e. trying to moderate manmade global warming thus extreme weather events). And it seems this distinct form of societal penny wisdom but pound foolishness is a very unfortunate human characteristic that’s likely with us to stay.

    Also, there is a potentially serious hazard in theocratically-inclined people getting into high office with their dangerous disregard — and even contempt — for the natural environment. As a disturbing example of such, in the midst of yet another unprecedented Amazonian rainforest wildfire two summers ago, Brazilian president and evangelical Christian Jair Bolsonaro declared that his presidency — and, I presume, all of the formidable environmental damage he inflicts while in power — is “fulfilling a mission from God”.

    Closer to home, many of Canada’s leading conservative politicians, not to mention our previous prime minister (i.e. Stephen Harper, close friend to Postmedia’s then-CEO Paul Godfrey), are/were ideologically aligned with the pro-fossil-fuel mainstream American Evangelical community and Republican Party.
    Generally shared is the belief that to defend the natural environment from the planet’s greatest polluters, notably big fossil fuel, is to go against God’s will and therefore is inherently evil. Some even credit the bone-dry-vegetation areas uncontrollably burning in California each year to some divine wrath upon collective humankind’s ‘sinfulness’.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s