Raising awareness of environmental issues = fascism. Or at least that is what readers of a recent article by Peter Foster in the
Financial Fanatical Post were told. Foster seems to have taken issue with the upcoming Earth Hour, which ‘asks households and businesses to turn off their lights and non-essential electrical appliances for one hour on the evening of 29 March at 8 pm local time until 9 pm to promote electricity conservation and thus lower carbon emissions‘.
“Far from being a harmless gesture of support for the environment, Earth Hour is symbolic of a spreading soft fascism, aided by well-meaning individuals and well-meaning and/or cynical and/ or scared corporations… If you love civilization, freedom and the use of reason, keep on all the lights you need on Saturday. Take Back the Night.”
Now one can reasonably question whether or not Earth Hour is effective in raising awareness (personally I don’t think it will be), but to call the goal of raising awareness of environmental issues fascism is ridiculous. Unfortunately Foster doesn’t really ever explain why it is fascism, instead Foster simply repeats the same old fully debunked talking point that the science behind climate change is unsettled, and then arrives at the illogical conclusion that there is no point of raising awareness of our glutenous use of energy.
What Foster completely fails to realize is that even if you chose to ignore the mountains of scientific evidence that support the consensus on climate change, there are still several good reasons to worry about our energy use. The first most obvious reason is that coal powered power plants (which is where a large portion of our electricity comes from) produce, aside from large quantities of GHGs, many other harmful pollutants that have been associated with tens of thousands of deaths every year. Is it fascism to raise awareness of a problem that kills so many people each year?
The second reason has to do with the CO2 emitted by most of our power plants (not just coal). When CO2 is dissolved in water it becomes a weak acid, and increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere mean that more CO2 will be dissolved in the ocean. This will make the ocean more acidic which would have a devastating impact on, amongst other things, coral reefs; the same coral reefs that millions of substance fishermen depend on to feed their families. Is it fascism to raise awareness about a problem that has the potential to deprive millions of their ability to feed themselves?
There are countless more reasons (not counting the climate elephant in the room), such as the massive environmental damage done by mountaintop-removal mining, or the skyrocketing price of coal, why we should all be concerned about our massive use of energy. Calling the goal of raising awareness of the problem fascism screams of the irresponsible scare tactics used by some members of the environmental movement. Tactics that people like Foster continually denounce.
UPDATE: A completely different, but equally brilliant, Dan has pointed out that George Orwell, who coincidentally was also brilliant, realized over 60 years ago that the word fascism had all but lost its meaning.
the word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable.’
It is pretty hard to disagree with those words. Especially after reading the Foster’s article.