Like a modern-day Sisyphus pushing his Prius hybrid up Nob Hill in San Francisco, today’s enviro-man has met his existential match. Tired of trolling online magazines, calling out the capitalists behind every skeptical op/ed on climate change, and reworking trite talking points on eco-health hazards before the next news cycle, enviro-man is finally giving up.
Retreating to rural Vermont, wearing only his Birkenstock sandals, and a tattered shawl, while carrying a handful of organic peanuts, he is prepared to walk the earth, alone inside his own tiny carbon footprint, never to agitate again.
According to a piece in this weekend’s MIT Technology Review, as the international climate talks in Paris approach this fall, many eco-activists are apparently too depressed about their real-world political ineffectiveness to get out of bed and join other revolutionaries on their parapets along the Seine.
They “have started to throw up their hands, retreating from a struggle they no longer believe they can win,” Technology Review opines.
“The most famous recent example is the British author and environmentalist Peter Kingsnorth, whose embrace of carbon-fueled pessimism was featured in a New York Times Magazine article last year,” the piece notes. “He further outlined his views in Orion magazine with a nose-thumbing essay called Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist. In it he bid farewell to activism: ‘I withdraw, you see. I withdraw from the campaigning and the marching, I withdraw from the arguing and the talked-up necessity and all of the false assumptions. I withdraw from the words. I am leaving. I am going to go out walking.’”
No wonder the UN was so desperate this past spring to enlist Robert Redford, Naomi Klein, and other willing shills for the climate change treaty cause. The bureaucrats at Turtle Bay have their pulse on the heartbeat of their constituents in the global Left, and that throb is so faint that a mega-dose of epinephrine — in the form of celebrity endorsements — is needed to combat the systemic shock and restore a regular sinus rhythm before the COP 21 climate change talks in Paris from November 30 to December 11.
False urgency, and even more deplorable fake sincerity, are among the recruiting tools the progressives are using in their last, desperate attempts to restore credibility to their failing movement for change.
“I denied climate change for longer than I care to admit. I knew it was happening, sure. Not like Donald Trump and the Tea Partiers going on about how the continued existence of winter proves it’s all a hoax,” Klein wrote this spring in the Guardian. “But I stayed pretty hazy on the details and only skimmed most of the news stories, especially the really scary ones. I told myself the science was too complicated and that the environmentalists were dealing with it.”
But the possibility of secular redemption through last-minute confession and conversion promised by the prophetess Klein for liberals to have their come-to Gaia moment, get down on their knees, and really believe in climate change, has not yet led to, shall we say, sustainable motivation.
Ennui appears to have overtaken the lukewarm and even the most ardent true believers in climate change, notes Technology Review, creating something of “a numbing effect, leading to a new psychological diagnosis: ‘climate defeatism.’”
Now that’s quite a turn of events for the Left, which basically invented the idea the pathologization of political differences. Back in the 1950s, conservatism was branded a form of paranoia, requiring psychiatric treatment and electro-convulsive therapy. More modern demagogues have taken to calling those who dispute the liberal climate change hypothesis as “climate change deniers.” But the despair appears to be so great in progressive precincts this summer that the Left is now labeling itself as “climate defeatists.” Self-loathing is in, climate activism is on the way out.
Maybe, after the latest attempt to enshrine the wacky beliefs about climate change in a global treaty — requiring you, for example, to bicycle to work, during a winter snow storm, on a red rental — fails at the Paris-LeBourget talks this year, the Left can hold its own interrogations. Then they will find out who, indeed, was to blame for the failure of their flawed ideology. Perhaps it will also be therapeutic for them, and their fallen archetypal hero, enviro-man.