From Paris, Léa Bouchoucha reports for Consortium News on two sets of demonstrators, some of whom are mingling while others keep a distance.
By Léa Bouchoucha
Special to Consortium News
Some had hoped the two marches in Paris last Saturday— one focused on global warming and the other representing the 18th straight weekend of Yellow Vest protests — would join forces and help unite environmental activism with social equity.
On March 8, Cyril Dion, a well-known documentary film maker and environmental writer, gave a joint interview to Le Parisien with Priscillia Ludosky, considered one of the founders of the Yellow Vest movement, in which they both encouraged protesters to march together.
To an extent that happened. Yellow vests were a common sight in the climate demonstrations on Saturday. And nongovernmental groups — Greenpeace France, the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, SOS Racisme, Friends of the Earth, 350.org and Alternatiba — voiced a fusion of environmental and economic demands. “Time to change industrial, political and economic systems, to protect the environment, society and individuals,” was a typical message expressed on one banner.
The contrasts between the two demonstrations, however, wound up drawing the main press attention. Coverage by outlets such as Reuters and the Associated Press emphasized how the march on climate change — which drew around 45,000 in Paris, according to media estimates — was peaceful and included movie stars. The smaller Yellow Vest demonstration in the capital, estimated at around 10,000, was marked by rioting and vandalism.
Some Yellow Vests disagree with violence in demonstrations. But plenty of images have spread on social media that show a few protesters posing proudly in front of vandalized, expensive restaurants and luxury shops along the Champs-Elysées Avenue.
A strong majority of French — 84 percent of those polled — condemned the violence in a survey released March 20 by Elabe, an independent consultancy.
‘Part of the Game’
Stephanie Albinet, who wore a yellow vest to Saturday’s climate demonstration, would have been in the minority of that polling group. She was sanguine about the looting and police confrontations she’d personally witnessed at another point that day along Champs-Elysées. “That’s part of the game I would say. At some point we should stop treating the people like fools.”
Consortium News asked Albinet about another criticism of Yellow Vests: that they are too tolerant of xenophobia and bigotry.
“Yellow vests are not all anti-Semitic, racist, violent people,” Albinet responded. “They are people like me who for the past four months have finally found hope in seeing the population wake up. For the past 25 years I did not give a crap about France, but now I feel like a patriot for the first time.”
Francois Amadieu, a professor at Pantheon Sorbonne University who studies social movements, noted in a phone interview from his Paris office that protest violence can achieve results. “It’s classical and always an issue in France,” he told Consortium News. “In terms of timing. French executive power has often made concessions under pressure. It was for instance the case on Dec. 10 when the government announced some measures after two very violent Saturday protests.”
Black Bloc Attention
France24 reports that the government has attributed the violence to extreme elements – so-called casseurs – who have infiltrated the movement from both the left and right. The episode is drawing public attention to “black bloc” anarchists who have been associated with the most extreme violence.
Amadieu said that black bloc militants aren’t acting out of spontaneous emotions. “They have long theorized that violence and vandalism will launch a state reaction by the police. This repression, in the form of tear gas and so on will gradually cause protestors to become more radicalized and understand this violence. Black bloc theory also assumes that people become bored in authorized protests and when there is spillover [into criminal behavior] people stop being bored and become motivated to reclaim the streets, and so forth.”
The government is planning to militarize its response to Yellow Vest demonstrations and deploy French soldiers to prevent further violence by Yellow Vest demonstrators, media outlets are reporting.
Despite some mingling of climate and Yellow Vest protesters, Amadieu said it was significant that a core of Yellow Vests refrained from joining the climate march. “Usually, this convergence does not work out as it is not the same sociology,” he said.
Hoping to Unite
Corentin Durand, a 26-year-old physics post-graduate student who wore a yellow vest to the climate march, hopes the two movements are merging. “We should fight a battle on two fronts,” he said Saturday as the climate protest moved through the city’s Grands Boulevard neighborhood. “I can’t deal with the fact that our society is fully dependent on people who work very hard every day to make ends meet. It’s intolerable,” Durand said. ‘I hope that fighting climate change will bring social justice for everybody.”
Durand said his apprehensions about global warming affect his everyday routine. “All day long, in each of my actions; when I turned on the light or the tap, I’m wondering how it would impact the environment. I never ride in elevators, always take public transit and bike and never get on a plane.”
Public transit, however, is patchy in rural France. And when President Emanuel Macron tried to initiate his climate-protection agenda by raising fuel prices, he notoriously ignited the Yellow Vest movement, which sent a loud message not to expect low-income people, already struggling to pay their bills, to pay a disproportionate price for climate mitigation.
In response to Yellow Vest pressure, Macron on Jan. 15. launched a two-month-long “big debate” of listening tours and town halls and citizen input via booklets of complaints. Some thought the process had been lulling the Yellow Vests into complacency, but Saturday’s protests countered that impression.
Attempts to make climate policy more socially equitable are coinciding with Yellow Vest pressures on the Macron government. On March 5 in the context of the “big debate,” 19 nongovernmental organizations presented the government with 66 proposals as part of a new ecology and social compact to ensure the country’s environmental transition program is done more equitably.
One champion of this effort is Nicolas Hulot, a former environment minister and longtime campaigner who resigned on live radio on Aug. 28 out of impatience with the government’s foot dragging on climate and other goals.
Laurent Berger, a prominent unionist, is also aligned with the effort. “There is no contradiction between social consciousness and the respect of the environment,” Berger told Le Monde. “In our pact, we find environmental organizations, unions, anti-poverty, housing, youth associations and popular education movements.”
In the same article, Hulot promoted “big bang” reform of a tax system skewed in favor of the affluent. “The current system is unfair, and the burden is not equally shared,” Hulot is quoted as saying.
Stéphane Cuttaïa lives in rural France, the stronghold of the anti-system Yellow Vest movement that generally regards the Macron government as indifferent to its concerns and preoccupied with European Union affairs and urban centers of wealth.
“We’re very interested in revitalizing the local economy,” Cuttaïa said by phone this week from his home in the Île-de-France region. “The Yellow Vests speak to this. What we see today in France is that there are large cities —Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille — and then there are many rural and semi-rural territories where public services and trade have disappeared. Residents here are forced to go long distances to shop, see a doctor. It is generating many energy costs.”
Cuttaïa runs C’est déjà ça — a café that he describes as providing a community center in the small town of Saâcy-sur-Marne, around 75 kilometers from Paris. In November, he used social media networks to launch Green Vests, a largely citizen initiative that hopes to mix Yellow-Vest and “green” environmental issues. The Green Vests are now circulating an online petition with 30 proposals. One of those proposals is free public transportation in rural areas; a more equitable approach to reducing emissions than Macron’s attempt to raise fuel prices.
“We recognize our social concerns in the Yellow Vest movement, but we think that measures regarding ecological emergency are very limited,” Cuttaïa said. “We want to create a bridge between the different organizations mobilized on behalf of climate deregulations, biological exterminations and social claims.”
Bernard Guericolas, a 75-year-old retiree who joined the environment protests in Paris on Saturday, regrets the years that have been lost to inattention and inaction on global warming. “When I was young, I was happy to take a plane ride,” Guericolas said. “I wouId have loved to own a big car had I been able to afford one. But I had it all wrong. We were not aware of what we did. In my mind, it’s the role of politicians to anticipate and it is what they are paid to do. At the end, we (our generation) are guilty, but we are not accountable.”
Along with 2 million other French people so far, Guericolas signed an online petition in support of the lawsuit that several nongovernmental groups filed on March 14 against the government for climate inaction.
The lawsuit, which is similar to litigation confronting several other governments around the world, is probably more important politically than legally, says Arnaud Gossement, a professor at Sorbonne University in Paris who specializes in environmental law and spoke by phone. “The lawsuit helped to stir the mass mobilization we saw this weekend, but from a legal point of view, it’s more complicated.” For one thing, Gossement said, a judge could dismiss the case. And if the case goes forward, it could take several years. “And we do not have time to wait.”
That sense of urgency — long pent up among climate activists — is motivating young people worldwide to follow the lead of the 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who last year began cutting school, holding solitary demonstrations outside the Swedish parliament and questioning the point of schoolwork when the future of humanity looked so uncertain.
In a scathing speech at a UN climate conference — during which she told participants “our civilization is being sacrificed so a very small number of people can continue making enormous amounts of money”—she became an international sensation and role model.
About three months ago, some French high school students began cutting school on Fridays to join climate demonstrations.
On Friday, March 15, Eponine Bob was one of them as she joined the Global Student Strike march in Paris. “I’m here because our generation is going to live with the effects of global warming, ” the teenager told Consortium News. “People are afraid.”
Bob said she tries to do her best to consider her personal effect on the environment in everyday life. “But in the end, it’s not families that pollute the most. It’s [corporate] lobbies and big companies,” she said. “I don’t think that there is enough regulation and it’s become a real issue.”
Léa Bouchoucha is a multimedia journalist currently based in Paris. Her work has appeared in Vogue U.S, the Huffington Post, NPR, CNN International, Women’s eNews, Euronews, Elle, Le Figaro. She has reported from Turkey on Syrian refugees and LGBT rights and from Israel, where she was working as a news editor and reporter at the international news channel I24 News.
If you value this original article, please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one.
Maybe the Yellow Vests understand climate change better than the Greens. Maybe they realize that this tax will increase the green house effect. Maybe they are worried about land use/land cover of other causes of climate change. Maybe they remember the role of the nuclear complex in framing this debate.
funny how the “casseurs“ always show up at protests where people demand social changes to benefit the working class or anti globalist anti EU/NATO
anti tax cuts for the wealthy/corporations and more
taxes for the working and les services eroding of workers rights and protections anti military interventions
they have all the hallmarks of agents provocateurs
250 people were arrested NONE of those that were destroying property and looting
and of course this destruction creates the perfect EXCUSE to bring in the army and more restrictions on protest and strikes and censorship.
That’s right, let’s change the subject, and let the Yellow Vests be distracted from their key issue: the arrogant, unresponsive rule-of -the-rich of the Macron regime. Instead, let’s allow an establishment-approved figure like Ms. Bouchoucha to dictate their priorities for them–say, some toothless virtue-signaling related to the media-promoted child Greta Thunberg. Heaven forbid that the unwashed masses of France continue to speak out on matters that matter to them, without guidance from their betters. Would be interesting to see what Ms. Bouchoucha has had to say about Syrian refugees; a wild guess is that, if she values her appearances in CNN and Euronews, it was something “safe” and unoffensive to the NATO narrative–that is, essentially false.
And please, Yellow Vests, don’t let yourself be intimidated by accusations of this “antisemitism” we hear so much about. While French voters hear nonstop that there just is no money left to do anything for them, the Macron regime has been merrily building one army base after another on stolen Syrian land. It should be openly discussed, without fear or malice, whether this is due to excessive influence on Macron from the jewish interests that played such a big role getting him into the Elysee. Zionists cannot be appeased, and will never stop attacking and defaming you; look at Corbyn what you get for ignoring this lesson. Might as well stand your ground.
Yellow Vest Movement Not Yet Changing Its Color to Green
And Unfortunately It Never Will.
They yellow vests have become inwardly looking with no regard to their neighbor or their own country.
What started out as an understandable movement 5 months ago has turned into something completely different today. The violent clashes and destruction by the “casseurs“ is part of the YV movement and the YVs are happy to have them around and invite them to their protests. This way, they have someone to point at and blame for the destruction and violence during their demonstrations.
These protests have cost almost a billion euros to a country that is fiscally bankrupt. Over the last 5 months there has been a massive cost for police to handle the safety of citizens and property as well as street closures for protection. This includes huge amounts of overtime hours. The government is spending its time (and tax payers’ money) on an issue that has already been resolved in January. Businesses have been forced to shut down on Saturdays. Some have closed shops for good. Tourists fleeing the city on weekends. Residents are unsafe in their own neighborhoods. Hotel vacancies are massive and growing every week. Restaurants losing business on Saturdays. Locals not going to farmers markets or stores. City cleanup crews and repair costs after each demonstration. Insurance costs will also skyrocket for everyone next year.
All these costs will be borne by the taxpayers and although most YVs don’t pay taxes, it will still cost them indirectly when this country economic growth will come to a stop. We’re almost there…
Its time for the protests to end and for the YVs to take responsibility for their actions. Unfortunately, Yellow Vests have no interest in turning green or care about anything but themselves.
The violent clashes and destruction by the “casseurs“ is part of the YV movement and the YVs are happy to have them around and invite them to their protests
NO they do not
funny how the “casseurs“ always show up at protest where people demand social changes or anti globalist anti EU/NATO
they have all the hallmarks of agents provocateurs
250 people were arrested NONE of those that were destroying property and looting
Interesting title-yellow vests didn’t join w/the green vests. Sets the reader right up from the start, those ignorant, lower orders just won’t join w/their betters. Hmmm……
Let’s hear a report on why the green vests couldn’t be bothered to join the yellow vests. Perhaps this is because of class? Perhaps it is also known that the police are pretty violent towards those who actually challenge the social order. Perhaps the green vests have seen that the police also commit vandalism which is blamed on the lower orders and for this, the lower orders are arrested?
If only the environmental movement had more awareness of class consciousness — then it would diverge less from the working-class Yellow Vest movement. Unfortunately, both in France and in America, environmentalists are too single-issue, or too trapped within identity politics, to recognize the real oppression of the working class.
Exactly. I’m of course worried about the looming climate disaster (that I think is very real), but I still haven’t heard any concrete proposal from these identity-centric environmentalists of how to actually fix the situation. It seems like they’re trying really hard to NOT to address any of the real problems and reasons behind the climate disaster (like capitalism and the constant must to sell more, to consume more). Paris Agreement is nothing but a joke and a permission for capitalists to continue their destructive ways. The class struggle and struggle against the global warming (and overuse of natural resources) is one and the same struggle. The only difference is that class struggle isn’t supported by billionaires, celebrities, and mass media, because none of them really wants to change the status quo. And if we don’t change the status quo drastically, what hope we have? Corporations and their billionaire owners cannot be allowed to continue their destructive way, to lobby, buy, or even force the politicians to ignore nature for the sake of the (their) profits. Politicians and the big business are in a symbiosis that must be broken. And that exactly is why we need a class struggle. We need masses of people to denounce the concentration of power and wealth that has among many other problems created a cycle of global warming.
The effort I’ve come across to address class/climate is Victor Wallis’ Red-Green Revolution. There are a number of such movements. It is really a question of connection, or intersectionality. This requires all parties to unite their movements around class, which lies at the root of all major change.
Here’s a blog for further reading: http://londongreenleft.blogspot.com/2019/01/why-ecosocialism-for-red-green-future.html
It doesn’t help to blame one side or the other.
I was not in Paris Yellow Vests’s protest last Saturday, but I followed the development of this social movement since its inception. I wrote more than 120 articles analyzing its nature and the Macronite stratagems to kill it. You can read and follow my analyses on Yellow vests movement on my twitter account @elmir1975 and my Facebook https://facebook.com/faouzi.elmir
I suspect instrumentalisation and diversion action behind the scene geared by the power in order to parasite the message of the Yellow vests’s movement by organizing in the same day ans in the same place, Paris, demonstration for the climate.
What is unique in YVs movement is their total independence from all the politics including political left and right and corrupted trade unions which unequivocal condemnation of YVs became YVs badge of honor and augmented their credibility as they are social force attacked by calcified institutions of ruling elite and entire establishment from all sides even internationally as YVs reject all bourgeois liberal democratic political framework in its entirety including Macron and gang and all opposition who openly are united to defeat YVs workers who took their dignity and fate into their own revolutionary hands.
Instead of supporting fellow brothers and sisters of YVs many French workers organizations join fake news factories hysteria and spill filth and slander ordinary but dignified people actions that amount to fundamental right of self defense of ther families and communities from capitalist terror and exploitation.
There cannot be green planet with capitalism and hence capitalism must go. Or our green planet , you choose.
You are right in your analyse of YV movement. In order to quell Yellow Vests movement, the macronite power appeals to the army. Nowadays, since the violence of last Saturday, Macronite power banned the demonstrations on Champs Elysées, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Nice and many other big cities in France. A real dictatorship is setting up by the power with the appeal to the army, the military of opération Sentinelle. We are today living a civil war and the situation risks to degenerate at any time in case the military confront the protesters.
Tobacco companies lied about cigarettes not causing cancer. The US government lied about the invasions of Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan. The fossil fuel oligarchs and their corporate fronts knew about fossil fuels and the Greenhouse Effect at least 50 years ago.
Yet amazingly American adults are gullible and credulous. Our youth know better than to believe in more of their lies. This is agnotology.
Young people must lead the way and be not concerned by the bleating of the herd. They have to because the adults are filled with greed and willful ignorance.
You should all be ashamed it took teenagers and college students to point the way
In the US, liberal environmental concerns served to smother the push for legit economic justice for years. A quarter-century into the Democrats’ war on the poor, liberals drowned out the calls for economic human rights with their pep rally for middle class workers. Of course the Greens want Yellow Vest, etc., to set aside their own priorities, to focus on those of the Greens. It always begins with an invitation to “work together.” “Help us with our issue first, and we promise to eventually get around to yours.” This just doesn’t sell very well anyway.
I wonder why so many people appear to be angry or disgusted that the young are questioning the damaged state of what really is already their world?
If you are over fifty years of age and feel the need to condescendingly sniff that “they are children and, as children can not conceivably know or understand anything”, that attitude reveals a great deal more about those of you making such assertions than it does about the intuitive but also well-informed sense of many things that the young possess.
First, many of these young human beings are really what are termed “young adults”, that is the are sixteen or more years of age and hardly toddlers and many, I dare say are autodidacts of considerable capacity.
Second, are we to assume that those of you who are fuming and sputtering do not consider that human beings can very definitely have an impact upon the world in which we live and upon the web of life upon which every single human being depends for our very existence?
Are you prepared to say that we cannot or have not polluted the air, the water, the soil, have not released toxic substances into the environment with not only little regard for consequence but actually no genuine grasp of what those consequences might be?
Are you prepared to suggest that the loss of habitat, caused by human encroachment or the use of “pesticides” (the very word conveys an attitude of disdain and dismissal) has not and does not continue to affect, even destroy other species? Even species that are “unknown” to us or whose contribution to what is necessary for our existence we may neither comprehend nor even have the slightest clue about?
Third, those who condemn the concerns of the young so vehemently must certainly agree with Diane Feinstein who told young people who had come to her to ask for her help in caring for the planet, that she knows what she is doing and that the young had best let their elders decide what matters and what is or is not to be done.
Of course there are many in power who say there is no crisis and suggest that cold weather proves there is no such thing as global warming, who sneer that it is all just a hoax made up to frighten the masses. They may even point to the Yelliw Vests and the fuel taxes which prompted the final disgust of the French precariat to take to the streets as proof that environmental crisis is elitist fear-mongering equivalent to Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction.
Indeed the WMDs and the Gulf of Tonkin “Incident” were lies.
However, the conflation is a classic example of false equivalency, a rhetorical device intended to deceive and confuse and not acceptable as a point of rational debate.
Four, rational discussion is precisely what has been lacking. One of the functions of Russiagate, for example, has been to banish from concern and rigorous attention and debate are the two existential issues of our time, those being environmental calamity and nuclear exchange, as well as any discussion of the economic system driving both.
Five, this is a classic example of attacking the messengers, the young who have far more at stake and at genuine risk than the old or even the middle-aged, rather than honestly hearing their concerns which, in my opinion should be the concerns of all of us.
Six, any substantive research over the last fifty and more years provided very sobering and substantial reason for that concern, be it the increase in “dead zones” in the ocean, the vast amount of heat that those same oceans have absorbed over the seventy odd years of my life, and the death of sea creatures not only from over-harvesting but because, as on the land, of the loss and destruction of habitat.
I wonder how many who have risen in unbridge toward these “uppity” young have ever read “Silent Spring”, have ever breathed polluted air, seen the smoke in the air as it was in Pittsburgh, or gazed upon the orange, dead and empty if all life streams in the drainages below strip-mined mountains, otbpondered the loss of life in both tropical and temperate rain forests over the past fifty years?
Do you miss the bees, the birds, the frogs, toads, and salamanders?
Or do you just assume that we human beings have no need of them or the tasks they perform?
Are you old enough to remember when gasoline contained lead?
Or the atmospheric “testing” of nuclear weapons and the radiation from those rest that spread all over the world and that each of us carry in our bones?
Perhaps you will suggest that the world is too big, the sky too large, the oceans too deep for us ever to harm.
Think again, or perhaps even, for the first time, can you possibly imagine that our ignorance might far exceed our knowledge?
Or do believe we know everything there is to know?
What do you know about soil chemistry and what that might mean in terms of food production?
What if the kids are right? What if their grasp and understanding already exceeds your own?
What if they can envision the future when you cannot even look at the present?
What if wisdom suggest caution, and not roughshod extraction?
What if you are so wedded to your lifestyle that you cannot realize that people and other life-firms are being killed all over the world so that we can live in a sick society of six percent of the human population but using upwards of thirty percent of the world’s resources so that we can be good little consumers who like to brag that the one with the most toys is the winner?
Do you honestly see a future in continuing to behave as we are and have been for far too long?
Regardless of whether you like it, the young have proclaimed that there will be change.
They are very correct.
Whether that change is for good or for ill, at this point, we still have some choice.
What do you think?
No, it’s not about race/age/gender at all, and the common stereotypes rarely fit — perhaps especially age. A good percentage of the left, as well as what remains of the New Deal/Great Society Democrats, are over 50, and they are keenly aware of how far middle class liberals have moved to the right. From the Reagan Youth to the Clinton New Democrat Party, so many of the young embraced right wing ide0logy marketed to the beat of a rock and roll song.
A large percentage of those over 50 are either homeless and on the streets, or getting by quite modestly on Social Security. Many did pay attention as Democrats ended actual welfare aid, and took the first steps to similarly “reform” Social Security. As a result of the Clinton administration’s “reforms,” the disabled became the fastest-growing group of homeless people by 2000 — an issue that “didn’t resonate” among young middle class liberals. As the overall life expectancy of the US poor fell below that of every developed nation, Democrats and liberals maintained a pep rally for the middle class.
Note that what you say about today’s young is the same thing we’re been hearing for decades. The last generation that actually rose up and forced change, were those in the 1960s.
I think you are correct. What happens is people fall for lies, misinformation, and outright bullshit. Then our egos won’t let us admit we’re wrong.
So instead, we keep believing and pretending to believe in the nonsense the corporate plutocracy and their minions like Donald Trump peddle.
The kids never got convinced by the lies in the first place. This is why so many feeble minded adults yet so many children who see it for what it is. Propaganda and marketing.
Agnotology shows how the intentional stupidity happens and why Americans are eaten up with trolling and lowest common denominator gibberish.
I think Trump was actually one of the first who made public in a major way the concept of “Fake News” and that we have been lied to for years.
And then we might question whether the 97% climate change narrative is just propaganda or in fact a serious questioning of some previous lie. I think that if we question seriously, we very quickly realise that things are very seldom as they seem or as they are portrayed. Especially as they are portrayed by some trumped up arbitrary 97% !
H Clinton accused the leaked emails of child sex exploitation ‘pizzagate’ of being fake news.
Fake news is not news, but the faking of news as direct narrative or perception and response control is our ‘post truth politics’.
How to discern a deceit?
First you must be honest with yourself.
How to discern if you are already deceived?
Inner dissonance blamed on outer circumstance.
I see the ‘Green’ movement as a cultivated psyop of captured guilt for a false religion – and salvation.
It works like this; Corporates despoil for their own private gratification and induce populations to not only accept the consequences but allow the corporates to outsource the guilt and make it into a new carbon sin of self-hatred and self-denials that call on and demand sacrifice of others.
Whatever else one might say of the deceiver, lack of cleverness is not one of them.
The deceived WANT the lie to be true for their own reasons.
Honesty as to our OWN reasons is looking at the fears that others target to manipulate us.
The world is not as it seems. Nothing is as it seems.
“The world is not as it seems. Nothing is as it seems.” You seem to have fallen for the opposite error. As CS Lewis said, when you see through everything, you see nothing at all. Your perfect cynicism is not scientific scepticism but rather a willingness to accept any old conspiracy theory so long as it suits your preconceptions.
That is the biggest bunch of twaddle I have ben unfortunate enough to make myself read in a very long time. Everyone who has bothered to have read your post is now less intelligent for having done so. At no time in your lengthy intercourse have you bothered to acknowledge the people who read this types of publications generally speaking have done their research. This is neither the Washington Post nor the Inquirer and the rest of the world does not necessarily conflate the climate change canard with pollution in general, not to mention the obvious fact, the US military and war in general reap a disproportionately large environmental toll and something that is up to interpretation as the climate change debate only gas lights the issue, I would suggest you do a bit more reading, particularly regarding the various collectivist movements, so generally speaking that would all boil down to we have a right to be skeptical especially when we have consistently been robbed. that is you might want to just consider that yourself before jumping on any bandwagons, good luck.
Clearly you’ve no concept that entirely new perspectives must be fashioned.
And just as clearly you appear to be wedded to a capitalistic approach.
Perhaps you think all collective action is but the twaddle you have been inculcated with in this nation, which postulates that “human nature” is nasty and brutish and that all cooperative efforts are merely stand ins for “commie” control and rigid hierarchical control, just like what exists right now in the the US?
Perhaps you might consider that other societies, especially those we hold to be “primitive” had a much wiser grasp of our relation to nature.
You have not, apparently, in all your vast and penetrating research ever gotten even a smidgeon of insight into either the subtle complexity of nature or our ansolute dependence upon the myriad systems that comprise the web of life of which we are a part, and a most vulnerable part at that.
You suggest that such concerns as the young articulate are part of a swindle BY the elite who give us perpetual war, neoliberal and neocon economic quasi- feudalism and its crushing precarity.
The elite, clearly, are playing games with the environmental crisis, just as you imply, they are shilling for absurd capitalistic pretenses of “managing” pollution by selling the penalty “rights” of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide while ignoring massive releases of methane both in the melting permafrost and from bovine emissions.
They are the ones studiously ignoring what is happening.
Now, are you suggesting that scientists are mucking about with your life?
Are you saying that the majority of those working in the environmental sciences are lying to you?
In point of fact, those scientists far too often soft-peddle, too often bow to a desire not to alarm the many.
I wonder do you not have concerns about what will happen if global temperatures rise three or four degrees celcious?
Do you think such concerns just bull shit designed to cramp your lifestyle?
Do you really believe there is a vast conspiracy to trick you?
Do you imagine the media refuses to engage in educating the public about environmental issues because there ARE no issues, or might you consider that USians are kept from such information because the elite who profit from fossil fuels and massive and extensive extraction of land and ocean based resources DO NOT want the public to actually understand?
You tell me that your research is impeccable.
How about sharing your sources?
And, instead of initiating what amounts to an attack on the young, why not tell what you think are the facts?
Will you tell us that massive extinction events are common?
Will you tell us when extinction rates similar to what is occurring today last took place.
Or when last the polar ice melted at the rates observed today?
Or when last glaciers dissapeared as quickly?
Or when last reefs died at the current rate?
Or, will you just claim that either none of this is happening or that, if it is, human behavior and activity have nothing whatever to do with it?
You might be surprised to learn that much of the rest of the human race is not quite so sanguine about what is going on as you appear to be.
Why even the US Military are concerned about “climate change”, and the “unrest” it will generate.
Frankly, I would like to see you write your reasoning out, that the rest of us might learn and even be moved to rethink things if you make compelling and irrefutable arguments strongly indicating, if not proving, that the concerns of the young and older sorts, are purely fabricated nonsense that will further enrich those who have, indeed, lied so often to the majority of us, of all political persuasion or delusions, at great, even obscene, profit to themselves.
Please, share your sense of things.
Do not just tell me it is bullshit, tell me what you think is happening on this planet that we all must share and depend on.
Share with me how you propose that we care for nature, that we might build a better home for all of us.
Would you consider doing that?
In calm, thoughtful words.
You are a bloody moron and I do emphasize the word bloody as that is where your collectivist mentality leads. I spared myself having to read through your diatribe, probably everyone who has bothered to read this publication has at some point been an environmentalist or at least has tried to keep their environmental footprint as low as possible, if you believe that a entirely new perspectives need to be fashioned you have no grasp of human nature, for you first of all I would suggest just sticking to your regular echo chamber but generally speaking as perspectives go people have been thinking about the environment since the time of Sumer, there’s quite a bit written in on this subject in the Roman period as well other than that you are speaking of faith which is great if you wish to teach your children a basic System for understanding the world but will fortunately just do not do when the lives of billions of people hanging in the balance as far as climate change goes we can afford to do nothing on this fairly indefinitely, Ocean salinity that’s another matter not to mention the massive amount of pollution perpetrated by the US military in the various war zones and are 1000 odd bases or so, but none of that even comes close to being as much of a threat as nuclear annihilation due to our nations idiotic foreign policy. You sir are either just incredibly stupid or a shell for the corporate welfare that is killing the working class around the world.
There are two existential threats of extinction.
Nuclear war and environmental calamity brought on by human activity.
Both are primarily driven by capitalism that insists upon increasing wealth and power for the few.
We disagree simply about how much time we have to deal with the latter, apparently.
I consider that things are much further along the trajectory toward cascading consequences well beyond human capacity to rectify.
Why do you think discussion about these things necessitates, apparently, ad hominem attack?
Is civil debate not possible?
DW B – your comments are just too long. ( TL;DR ).
A point well made, Dunder.
While there is no questioning the sincerity of those mobilizing to protest inaction on climate change, or the profound threat it poses to humanity and human civilization, the sad fact is that they are being cynically manipulated to support more corporate profit-making schemes that fail to address the issue in any meaningful way.
Climate activist and investigative journalist extraordinaire, Cory Morningstar has published six-part expose` of this scam, fronted by charming pied piper Greta Thunburg. The first installment is here: “The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent: The Political Economy of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex” http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/01/17/the-manufacturing-of-greta-thunberg-for-consent-the-political-economy-of-the-non-profit-industrial-complex/. Links to the next 5 installments are listed at the top of the first installment.
Be prepared to have your eyes opened & brace for disillusionment.
Thanks for posting this.
I do not doubt that there may well be much truth in the manipulations that NGOs use to engage emotional response and inculcate assumptions that technology will save use, that some wonderful invention by a Bill Gates or an Elon Musk will, almost magically, save our collective bacon.
However, when I try to engage my fellow Boomers in any conversation about environmental catastrophe, which is actually bearing down upon our species and does present THE existential crisis of our time, the response I most often receive is, “Oh, that is about number thirty-seven on my list of things tobdpebd time thinking about or discussing with others.”
When I press things a bit further and ask why they seem to be so nonchalant about what I consider to be a truly serious issue that demands our collective attention the reply is, “Well, this is not something that is likely to affect me, most of this stuff will happen after I am dead.”
I confess, I do sometimes ask them just how long they intend to stick around.
“Oh, thirty, maybe forty years, into my nineties …” some will say.
Others say “A while, long enough to see my grandkids, I guess”.
Others will tell me that they have spent thousands of dollars to upgrade the appliances and that they do not use plastic bags any more and drive a Prius but intend to get a Tesla “when the price comes down a bit”.
None of my fellow boomers have much to say about the concerns of the young and consider them to be just duped by the very thing you link to.
When I ask if these members of my cohort if they remember how “adults” reacted to our concerns and insights about civil rights or the idiocy of going to war in Vietnam they say, “Well, that was different”.
I remind them that the political class insisted that we were influenced by “outside agitators” they still maintain that that was them and this is now and really, they have worked hard and do not want to get “caught up” in still trying to end wars or demonstrate in the streets about climate issues that are remote in time or distance because, they say they have more important things to do.
I used to ask what those important things were/are.
I still ask them if they ever talk with younger human beings about the concerns that the young have about financial precarity, student debt, how they will find endeavor that is meaningful to them and even what vision the young might have about the future, in the collective sense, including the condition and health of the environment, in terms of exploitation, pollution, or affects on the climate.
Generally, the answer amounts to, “No”, and “Well, the young will be responsible for those things when it is their turn to run the world”. This is what self-styled “liberals” and “progressives” say.
Those who think themselves more to the “center” or the “right”, merely say that things will just go on as they are and that the whole climate thing is just a “socialist” or even a “commie” fantasy.
I admit I ask those who raise the “Spector of Communism” just what country or group they are referring to and the answer is the Democrats or China and/or Russia.
So, if the older folks generally do not talk with younger folks and, if they do they behave with the same range of behaviors that many of them were on the receiving end of forty to fifty some odd years ago.
Why do you suppose that so very few older people care to encourage the young and offer them support the way these nefarious (and they are) NGOs do?
If older adults do not care to engage with the concerns of the young in ways that would be benificial to both the young and the old, as well as the world, then how may those same adults, many of whom must once have been young themselves, assume that the young will not look elsewhere, either among themselves, as many of us once did WITH the help of at least a few older souls who agreed with our concern, or wherever they are not treated as children, in the old sense of not being taken seriously, which some of us remember from our own youth, as in “children should be seen and not heard”?
I am hearing adults say, “We must raise the voting age to twenty-five, do that we have a more mature vote”.
Why not raise it to seventy-five?
On the other foot, many younger people would like to see the voting age lowered to sixteen, and they argue that the young not only have more at stake but also have the passion to really research the issues.
Of course the young may well not be quite so caught up in the cultural norms of “influence” or “position”, of “class” and “authority”, of not rocking boats or upsetting apple carts.
So, if thoughtful adults do not care to engage with the young, especially if the young are talking about change (of course that is precisely what WE talked about, long ago, we hoped to bring about change in relations among people and to wage peace instead of war.
Change; the old and the comfortable fear it, and the young ALWAYS bring it about.
Remember how upset adults were with Rock and Roll?
Those gyrating bodies, the swiveling hips, the girls dancing with reckless abandon.
Oh lord, and then Dylan went electric and you would not believe how the “folk” folks howled.
Then, the Beatles invaded, and all hell broke lose.
Yes, there is going to be change.
Do we join the young?
Or just bitch that they are not doing what we think they should be doing?
What, precisely DO “we” think they should be doing?
WHO do “we” want them to follow and emulate?
(Are “we” in any position to preach, given what we have or have not done?)
What have we offered them, not in terms of telling them what to do, but in terms of aligning with their concerns and joining them to seek necessary change together.
Frankly, it is much easier to find fault and say that “they” are not doing “it” the “right way”, than it is to encourage by example.
Sorry for taking so long to respond DW, only just checked back. I scanned your reply and believe the last line proved the ‘gist’ in that leading by example rather than criticizing is the correct response. To be clear, posting the link to Cory’s essay(s) is my response since, once you’ve read them, you’ll understand that a constructive ‘response’ is nearly impossible. It’s not merely the manipulation of NGOs “…to engage emotional response and inculcate assumptions that technology will save us…”, but the intentional construction of NGOs to divert action away from any constructive response (e.g.; doing away with the Capitalism that’s the root of our over-consumptive society) and channeling it into actions that actually enhance the destructiveness by engaging it in faux ‘green’ projects that perpetuate the underlying ills. Suggest you read Cory’s work.
It would be incredibly unfortunate for the yellow vest movement to be even more infiltrated by the likes of these climate change buffoons, the fact that these yahoos have all of a sudden decided we have 12 years or it’s all over kind of reminds me up to Iraq war 1 1/2 we’re if we did not invade to find out if there were weapons of mass distraction all of our lives would all of a sudden come to an end. These climate change fanatics are just the useful idiots of the big oil interests for any of you who are confused about this sack please try and do some of your own research in this regards not least of which is the interlocking boards of directors between some of the factions pushing this climate change nonsense and the very fossil fuel industries they claim to be against.
I’m glad someone else noticed this.
You are a bot aren’t you, Martin?
No am not. I am confining my posts to positive reinforcement for intelligent comments.
Why would Yellow Vest, the climate change scam tax on fuel being the straw that broke the camel’s back, join with communist climate change protesters? Makes no sense and sounds like pure propaganda.
This site is going to go the way of Intercept. It has been infiltrated.
Right on man!
Yellow Vest wasn’t about environmental issues to begin with. It began as an anti-austerity protest, and was quickly “reframed” via Western media.
The children decided this is all too little to late on the part of the adults. The kids are tired of the incompetence and willful ignorance displayed at the top by Macron, Trump, May, and the rest. The young ones are coming. The adults in the room failed.
The adults are very, very much still in control of those innocent children.
Extracts from the “WrongKindofGreen” linked to below:
“At this juncture, before we continue, it is vital to note that in 2015, M-Kopa estimated that eighty percent of its customers lived on less than $2 (USD) per day.
By 2015, M-Kopa had reached over $40 million of revenue.
The December 02, 2015 Bloomberg article “The Solar Company Making a Profit on Poor Africans – M-Kopa Plans to be a $1 Billion Company by Selling Solar Panels to Rural Residents—and Providing Them With Credit” discloses the reality behind corporate vulturism hidden beneath a vellum of white savior greenwash. Following the “success” of prepaid water meters for many African countries, M-Kopa charges high interest rates to the poor, with astronomically higher dividends/returns going back to the rich…
…Upon first glance, a person would assume this business is the selling of solar. Yet this assumption would be a mistake. The product is finance: “About a quarter of those who pay off their first purchase move on to others, the company says.” This is colonization in a 21st century new form. Colonization via debt made possible by the selling of Western values.
…Perhaps this can be filed under “green energy racism”. Those that do not make their payments, will be punished accordingly: “Our loan officer is that SIM card in the device that can shut it off remotely,” says Chad Larson, M-Kopa’s finance director and its third co-founder. “We know that it’s important for them to keep their lights on at night, so they can be counted on to keep paying.” [Source] [“The pay-as-you-go feature is enabled by embedded machine-to-machine technology that allows M-KOPA to receive payments through the M-Pesa mobile money platform. M-KOPA can turn off the device remotely if the customer falls behind on payments.
And what does the green energy revolution, wholly dependent on the furthering plundering of the Earth, actually bring to Africa, where more than 600 million people have zero access to electricity and more than 300 million have no clean sanitation? A solar oven? A toilet? Water filtration? Plumbing? Schools? Health clinics? Hospitals?
Answer: the television.”
Children don’t “decide” anything. That is why they are called “children”.
Oh no, the children are coming the children are coming, maybe we can all have another cultural revolution, what fun!
“The children decided this is all too little to[o] late on the part of the adults.”
Children, being children, are more easily manipulated, brain washed and then exploited in service of an agenda by adults.
The young people are not yet affected by the deliberate spread of ignorance which poisons the minds of adults. Adults lie on purpose for money. The kids aren’tbuying your disinformation campaign. This is agnotology.
We welcome your hatred. There can be no clearer sign of failed “adults in the room” than said adults degrading kids for their virtue.
You’ve degraded the schools with gunfire and degraded the earth with your endless wars and degraded our ears with lies.
We are tired of the pigs eating at the trough. Trump, Clinton, Obama, Bush, Reagan, all of them. Pigs.
It’s revolution time, boys and girls!
Lamb’s blood cross painted on the doors, is it?
Been hearing this every year since the 1960s, half a century ago. The kids grow up to become cogs on the capitalist wheel. They have no choice. They have to “get with the program,” march in line, punch in on time. How many here could risk loosing their jobs by “rising up,” knowing there’s nothing to fall back on today?
It beats me that so many cannot see that climate change hysteria is one of the greatest capitalist money grabs of all time. The Yellow Vest movement originates from rural areas where people are in far closer daily contact with their environment and far more affected by the climate and they do NOT fear it. City people on the other hand, NEVER see anything that is not man made, and are therefore easily frightened into assuming that they can cause and control everything.
It is true that the Yellow Vests are against the excesses of capitalist values and for that reason they also oppose the Climate Change business model.
Tom Kath discovered the real meaning of propaganda. It is to invert the meaning of words.
To take words like “children” and “environmental protesters” and “scientists” and pretend instead these words mean “capitalists” and “merchants of death” and “filthy rich oil oligarchs.”
Now the meaning of words is subverted, a term such as “children with morals” is destroyed and becomes “paid crisis actors” in the minds of the feebleminded. Thus, the world burns and people yell for more oil and gas to put it out. This is what we’ve become. A world full of useful idiots whose minds are enslaved by their wealthy pig masters, isn’t it?
To Orwell’s list:
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength
we now add:
Greed is Justice
Children are Capitalist Pigs
Green is Prison
There is no pretense in his words.
No one here is trying to equivocate.
Please be strictly rational and avoid the ad hominem claims.
Oh the irony of being told to “be rational” by the global warming ostriches. Thank you!
How many fingers?
Right on Tom.
Right on Martin the bot.
See? You don’t interact with me, it’s how I know you’re a bot.
Your artificial intelligence isn’t as intelligent as you think it is.
O, your passion and zeal have overwhelmed your reason. If we cannot tolerate differing or opposing opinions or perspectives, we expose ourselves as bigoted zealots.
I very much appreciate this article, Lea, and especially the inclusion of Greta Thunberg’s words.
I have long argued, for decades, that the world belongs to the children. We adults, of a certain age, especially the “boomers”, do have to realize that we are but guests here, in our children’s and grandchildren’s world and, frankly, we have not behaved well, far too many of us have been selfish. As I watch USian politicians in the boomer generation and some even older refuse to relinquish power, refuse to acknowledge their roles in fashioning policies that enabled grevious harm to be done to the planet, to the very point where the Earth’s capacity to support the web of life upon which all humans must depend for our very existence, as well as enabling a vicious bipartisan policy of war and regime change even pushing toward a nuclear confrontation for the most petty of avaricious desires of a pitifully tiny percentage of the populace that they may not only be wealthier, a mere handful, than all other humans combined, but that they also may pretend to absolute power which they term “Full Spectrum Dominance” over everyone else, I truly despair for my generation’s lack of conscience and perspective, at our collective failure to appreciate life and living.
We have enraptured ourselves with myths of divine inspiration to excuse our brutality and embrace, in the most banal sense imaginable, of true evil while telling ourselves and each other that we are noble and “spiritual”, that we have every right to destroy human civilization if other nations and peoples do not kowtow to our wishes, prejudices, and foul appetites for extraction and organized mayhem.
So I cherish the courage of the young to say, “We do not come to you (we elders) to petition your favor or beg your indulgence, we come merely to say that there will be change.”
We elders can continue to hinder, can continue to destroy, to harm, kill, and exploit Bit that will only make the accounting that much more bitter.
Do we elders have the heart and soul to join the young?
To step aside our drive to accumulate and dictate any longer is to condemn ourselves to the eternal disgust of all who come after us, for as long as they may be able to come to this paradise, humanity’s sole home in the immensity of universe.
A home we have trashed, have befouled and treated with utter disdain, a behavior matched only by how shabbily we have treated our fellow creatures and our own kind.
All human beings are more alike than different, yet throughout the seventy two years of my existence, my society, this nation, has sought to convince us, this exceptional six percent of humanity, that we are different, we are better.
And we have justified killing on a scale beyond comprehension of humans and other life forms, animal and plant.
Worst of all, we strike onto our coins the motto “In God We Trust”, implying both divine guidance and the certainty of rectitude that only the most pathologically depraved could ever believe to be so.
Good heartfelt comment DWB — thank you.
I thing people really need to understand: a fight for a climate change must be a fight against capitalism.
Too many people today simply don’t get it. And as the Yellow Vest movement has been a fight against capitalism, I think they’re already “Green Vests” as well. A lot of celebrities like to score points by saying they’re worried of climate change, etc., but in reality they’re not ready to really fight the system that has caused the climate change. 99% won’t ever say anything negative about capitalism and the self-destructive nature of it. Politicians might support these climate movements, but only when they are not anti-capitalist movements. People simply want to score some points and act the way that’s beneficial for them.
Here in Finland mining industry produces 75% of all the waste our country produces. Households and shops produce 2,5%. Yet everyone is talking only about household recycling and how important that is (sure it is), while mining industry is protected by our government and no one really says that person’s actions doesn’t matter as long as we let the big companies roam freely. We should stop blaming the normal people for a second, and really tell who under capitalism there cannot ever be conservation of nature.
That seems correct to me. I think the perception of distance is to a large extent based on class – since the beginning the GJ have inspired extreme hatred from the elite and metropolitan classes, who also disliked the French-Arab intifada in 2005. That’s why the middle-class intellectuals are rallying around Macron. The green capitalism promoted by these layers is best exemplified by the candidacy of R. Glucksmann, now attempting to rally more left-leaning liberals while Macron rallies the right. I’ll bet he endorses the decision to put the army in the streets of Paris. Looking forward to a Consortium News article on the aftermath and reaction to that.
See the comprehensive 6 part series on this at “Wong Kind Of Green”:
When you have billionaires like Branson up to their armpits in ‘Green New Deal’ you have a big problem.
Ville from Finland – excellent observations. I quite agree that the Yellow Vests by being out on the streets challenging the capitalist neoliberal economic mayhem are in fact as you say “Green Vests” as well. The notion that we can continue to plunder the planet so that a small handful of uber-wealthy psychopaths can live in luxury must be met head on by public action. The global oligarchy will not be swayed by anything less than a massive public response.
I salute the Yellow Vests for their willingness to act in the face of brutal police behavior and in spite of the endless smears by MSM. The French have shown the rest of the world an example we could all emulate. However, as someone pointed out, most people can more easily “imagine the end of the world” than they can “imagine the end of capitalism.” Sadly, unless this paradigm changes in short order, we’ll no longer be left to simply “imagine” that ending.
While the socialist/ capitalist fusion has worked extremely well in the Scandinavian countries, can anyone see our rich giving up their increasing advantages just to help other people?
Even capitalism worked well in the US from post-WWII through the ’70s. In 1962 the richest 1% owned 33% of the wealth, the remainder of the 10% owned another third, and the bottom 90% owned a third (hardly equitable, but almost tolerable). Today, after the 2008-10 recession and bank bailouts, the bottom 90% (which was least responsible for the crash!) only owns 22% of the wealth, the 1% own 41% (if not more), and the rest of the 10% own 37% (https://www.seattletimes.com/business/economy/nations-top-1-percent-now-have-greater-wealth-than-the-bottom-90-percent/). This government-sponsored redistribution of wealth to the top is theft, and the US has the least social services to deal with the fall-out of inequality.
Seems the economic environment of increasing wealth at the top is contagious. A baseball announcer for the Baltimore Orioles noted that ten percent of the baseball players now make as much as the remaining ninety percent. The American way. But like the rest of our society who buys into the system, the announcer was careful to point out that that the celebrity factor increased ticket sales! I think he got the message if he wanted to keep his job, best not be too critical.