|Climate activist and 350.org founder Bill McKibben|
says he's being harassed by people from a climate denying
organization. It's all weird.
Many people support his activism and a few do not and that's all good.
What isn't good is the weird lengths a few in the climate change denial crowd do to try to shut him up.
They're literally stalking McKibben and other climate activists, and that should be a concern to everyone. That includes people who think the world's climate is not warming up.
This has made life bizarre for McKibben and other climate activists. On August 5 in a New York Times op-ed, he wrote:
".......my days in public have often involved cameramen walking backward and videotaping my every move. It's mostly when I travel. (I've encountered them in at least five states so far, as well as Australia), and generally when I'm in a public or semipublic place.
They aren't interested in my arguments; instead, these videos, usually wordless, are simply posted on Twitter, almost always with music. One showed me sitting in a church pew, accompanied by the song 'Show Me That Smile,: The tweet read, 'Ready for his close-up."
According to Politico, this paparazzi nonsense is the work of America Rising Squared, an arm of the the Republican research group America Rising.
".....the push will include trackers with video cameras to follow the activists, a significant effort to research them and their work, a six-figure digital ad campaign focused on social media, and a website - corenews.org - that will serve as a hub for the group's content."
It would be one thing if America Rising Squared were actually analyzing the words and deeds of McKibben and other activists.
After all, McKibben thrust himself in the public spotlight with his work, so it's perfectly acceptable to judge his words: Is he accurate? Does his work make sense? Are there any holes in his logic? Does he have his facts straight? All fair game.
But this is different. This seems to be an effort to silence McKibben and others, by making his life weird and uncomfortable and scary, and unleashing the zillions of wackos on the Internet to troll and harass and even endanger him.
Which is a sign that America Rising Squared and its supporters are bankrupt in terms of facts.
If McKibbon and his buddies were that wrong, it would be easy to shut him down with facts that contradict his arguments. Instead, they're just trying to shut McKibbon up through any means necessary.
I guess America Rising Squared thinks its little videos of climate activists supposed hypocrisies will win the political battle over climate change.
After all, McKibben has been seen carrying (EEK!) plastic bags and driving a car, which burns fossil fuel, contributing to climate change.
So McKibben is supposed to be so ideologically pure that he can't burn any fossil fuel at all? He's not supposed to live in the real world?
Or as McKibben wrote in the New York Times:
"My house is covered in solar panels, and I plug my car into a socket those panels power. But environmentalists also live in the world we're trying to change: We take airplanes and rent buses for rallies; we make a living, shop for groceries. None of this should demand an apology.
Changing the system, not perfecting our own lives, is the point. 'Hypocrisy is the price of admission in this battle."
America Rising Squared argues that McKibben is a public figure and can be monitored, photographed and filmed. I bet even McKibben would agree with that.
But when does quote, unquote holding him accountable become harassment to shut him up?
Of course, as McKibben concluded in his New York Times op-ed:
"A good thing about movements is that you really do have brothers and sisters, and they do have your back. The fossil fuel industry may threaten us as a planet, as a nation, and as individuals, but when we rise up together, we've got a fighting chance against the powers that be.
And perhaps that realization is just a little bit scary for them."