The Suicidal Narrative of the Modern Environmental Left

By | 2017-11-17T10:26:20+00:00 November 16th, 2017|
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Should you ever doubt the importance of the “narrative” to the modern Left, all you need to do is look around you. It’s the in the air we breathe, and the water in which we swim, attached to the products we buy and behind just about every news story we read or see. At every turn, we are admonished, hectored, harangued to get with the cultural-Marxist program.

On a plane recently, the attendants handed out complimentary dark chocolates. The brand? Something called Endangered Species Chocolate, a company that bills its products as “the first ever chocolate bars made in America from Fairtrade certified West African cocoa beans that can be fully traced from farm to chocolate bar. ESC has committed that only fully traceable cocoa beans sustainably grown and harvested under Fairtrade standards will be used to make their chocolate.”

In case, like me, you had no idea fluffy chocolate bunnies were an endangered species, or that a guilty nibble at a Hershey bar could lay waste to vast stretches of the veldt, the company offers this helpful explanation:

The cocoa used by ESC is grown by West African farmers who follow rigorous standards for protection of workers’ rights and the environment. When a customer purchases ESC’s Fairtrade certified bars, West African farmers earn a fair price and an additional Fairtrade social premium to invest in business and community projects such as improving education and healthcare, protecting their environment and improving their economic well-being.

Who could be against that? Westerners from Dickens’ Mrs. Jellyby on have sought to improve the plight of sub-Saharan Africans, but this statement of virtue-signaling posits that West African farmers are currently not getting a fair price for their cocoa beans; in our mind’s eye, we picture some nasty Belgian—call him Mr. Kurtz—terrorizing the natives from his Congolese redoubt.

Similarly, on a recent trip to the health-food store I bought a bag of moringa, a currently voguish “superfood” of powdered plant protein. Yum. It’s made by Kuli Kuli (which, like Endangered Species Chocolate, sports a nurturing “green” logo). Here’s what the packaging has to say:

Once eaten by the ancient Greeks and Romans, moringa leaves have been used in traditional medicine for many centuries… our moringa is sustainably sourced from women’s cooperatives in West Africa, where we work to improve nutrition and livelihoods. Nourishing you, nourishing the world.

If it was good enough for Sophocles and Marcus Aurelius, it’s good enough for me. But that bit about the women’s cooperatives is a masterstroke—hey, West Africa is just like Park Slope in Brooklyn, only sunnier! You can practically see the West African women, relaxing after a hard day harvesting moringa leaves, sipping a sustainable latte and reading the New York Times, and perhaps helping to save the planet themselves with a delicious bite of Endangered Species Chocolate.

It’s all just advertising, of course, and thus harmless enough. It also goes to reinforcing the narrative: that selfish man is the cause of species endangerment, that primitive societies are superior to developed ones (but then who would buy the locally sourced cocoa beans and moringa leaves?), and that traditional medicine—which is to say, no medicine at all—is somehow superior to what those pill-pushing quacks foist on you before they climb in their BMWs and head out to the links for a round or two of golf. Were that true, the ancient Greeks and Romans might all have lived into their 80s, instead of dying in their 20s and 30s, as unsustainable folks tended to do back then.

Which brings us, ineluctably, to “climate change” and this piece in the Times: “The More Education Republicans Have, the Less They Tend to Believe in Climate Change.”

Yes, you read that right.

An exhaustive scientific report unveiled this month concluded that the earth is experiencing the warmest period in recorded history and that humans are the dominant cause of the temperature rise observed since the mid-20th century. That consensus does not extend to the American public. Climate change divides Americans, but in an unlikely way: The more education that Democrats and Republicans have, the more their beliefs in climate change diverge.

About one in four Republicans with only a high school education said they worried about climate change a great deal. But among college-educated Republicans, that figure decreases, sharply, to 8 percent.

This may seem counterintuitive, because better-educated Republicans are more likely to be aware of the scientific consensus that human activity is contributing to climate change. But in the realm of public opinion, climate change isn’t really a scientific issue. It’s a political one.

You’re darn right it is. The author’s underlying assumption is that the more you know about “man-made climate change,” the more eager you should be to chow down on Endangered Species Chocolate or shovel some women’s-collective moringa into your smoothie before you leave your ant-farm apartment to hop on the mass-transit system on your way to a day job that somehow involves you, personally, saving the planet—not so much by what you do, but by what you don’t do.

But that’s not a future we on the Right want to embrace. I take this poll as a heartening sign that the more you educate yourself about the transparent fraud of “man-made climate change,” the less you’re likely to believe in their genteel fictions of peaceful, happy villages in Liberia or their apocalyptic notions of the End of the World as We Know It, just about any day now. As we’ve learned time and again, mountebanks and charlatans are always promising that the end of days is just around the corner, if only we will repent; find Jesus; join their cult; give away all our possessions; or at least sign up for a lifetime supply of snake oil, delivered by Amazon drones right to our doorsteps.

We’ve seen this movie before, of course. In April, Mark J. Perry of the American Enterprise Institute detailed 18 different instances when “[t]he prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong.”

Never mind that the Earth’s climate is always changing; we wouldn’t be here at all if it hadn’t. Never mind that there’s little humans can do to interfere with planetary processes, most of which are beyond our ken. Never mind that we flatter ourselves if we think so. Never mind that to characterize carbon dioxide—which we exhale so that the Amazon rain forest and those West African moringa plants might inhale—as a dangerous “greenhouse gas” is profoundly anti-human.

It’s what you’d expect from a political philosophy that denies God and sees itself as its own worst enemy: a narrative that must end in suicide, and all in the name of the greater good. All we ask our friends on the Left is not to take us with you.

 

About the Author:

Michael Walsh
Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and foreign correspondent for Time Magazine, for which he covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints (winner, 2004 American Book Award for fiction), and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the recent nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace. A sequel, The Fiery Angel, will be published by Encounter on May 29, 2018. Follow him on Twitter at @dkahanerules (Photo credit: Peter Duke Photo)