Power Shift participant: Join our fad because it is AWESOME!

28 Apr

Yesterday there was a guest post in The Wonk Room, a product of Think Progress. The guest author was Bonnie Frye Hemphill, who runs her own climate nonprofit. The article was based on Power Shift 2011, and Bonnie’s excitement at how awesome the movement is.

Here’s the gist of the article, from the opening statement:

Hey climate movement, you know what I missed about us that Power Shift pumped right back into me last week?

The awesome.

Yeah, flashmobs, pranks, swiftly organized warroom tweetups, late-night dance parties of 15,000. Remember that rebellious side of us, that “we won’t take the past for an answer” side of us? Remember that “join us because this is awesome and you’re invited” side of us?

I’ve often felt that “being green” was a fad. I’m going to take this article as evidence to support that belief.

Bonnie believes that flashmobs are awesome. She provides a link, so let’s look.

Wow, they shut down a BP gas station. Don’t they know that those are franchises, locally owned? They have nothing to do with the BP oil spill. Hmm…..shutting down a local business because of their logo? Not awesome.

Warrooms, tweeting, dancing….these are awesome? You certainly don’t need to be in a climate movement to tweet or dance. I’ve never created a “swiftly organized warroom” so I wouldn’t know how awesome that it.

Pranks are awesome? I’d say normally they are pretty stupid. So far this all seems like a typical college campus on the weekend. Is there anything else in her article to make this look like anything more than a college-aged fad?

We’re also proud to define ourselves as what we’re not: we are cooler than the fossil forces of the past. They rail on chalkboards; we rally with giant puppets in the streets. They are talking heads for septuagenarians; we are sneaking into shareholder meetings and embarrassing giant fossil fuel companies. They are snarking about crosshairs on Facebook from defensive compounds in Wasilla. We are 10,000 lithe young people fighting for our future while a crotchety old pitbull like Tom Donohue screams to get off of his front yard at the US Chamber of Commerce. We are in the West Wing interrupting the President of the United States of America to remind him that energy shouldn’t kill.

Wow. If this isn’t disdain for older folks I don’t know what it.

Giant puppets? Man, is there any reason to take these sophomoric activists seriously?

Other American generations have staked their identities on propositions equally grand – rebelling from tyranny, beating back fascism, defending the world from communism. Our generation is staking its identity as the people responsible enough to face climate science for what it means, and political corruption for what it is. To build a cleaner, leaner, more durable and more prosperous way of life on our full tide of vibrant energy. The people smart enough to put our moral muscle to work.

I wonder what Bonnie thinks “rebelling from tyranny” means. Our nation fought against the British because of taxation. What is Bonnie fighting for? I don’t want to put words in her mouth, but my guess is she supports something that rhymes with tarbon caxes.

Her generation is staking its identity as people responsible for dealing with climate change? But wait….I’m a part of her generation! So are some of my friends and family. They don’t get their identity from fighting climate change. They do things like, work, or raise their children.

We mustn’t abandon tried-and-true organizing tactics, nor our hard-earned insider game. And if we do rebel our way into a better world, we do so on the shoulders of giants: after all, we’re now defending the Clean Air Act that our foremothers first passed, celebrating Earth Day last week because our forefathers founded the first four decades ago. And we need the scientific white papers still, because after all, we’re fighting for a political reality that keeps pace with the chemical reality of the atmosphere. This is a movement of the young and young at heart – if you are awesome, you are in.

Not surprisingly, those scientific white papers are a link to the IPCC.

A movement for the young and young at heart. Oh, and the awesome. Well sign me up! I’m awesome and young!

But I can’t sign up. Why not? Bonnie didn’t mention it, but there is one more requirement. A disregard for reason and critical thinking. That’s what she really means when she admires pranks, puppets, and youth. I actually employ critical thinking when considering the issues I consider worth fighting for, and that automatically disqualifies me from being a part of this lithe, young, and awesome group.



Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Power Shift participant: Join our fad because it is AWESOME!

  1. Robert

    May 1, 2011 at 9:28 am

    I fail to see how someone admiring flash mobs, or using the word “awesome,” or citing the IPCC, exhibits a lack of critical thinking. Perhaps you have fallen prey to the fallacy of believing that the test of critical thinking is whether of not someone agrees with you?

  2. Sam

    May 1, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    It isn’t simply her using the word “awesome”, it is the entire focus of the article. She is gushing at how hip and young this movement is with all kinds of pranks, puppets, and flash mobs.

    But as I pointed out, shutting down a BP franchise doesn’t harm BP, it harms a local business. Does this exhibit critical thinking? No, it is the rash action of immature youth.

    The glorification of youth is another symptom of lack of critical thinking. Generally speaking, youth prefer action to thought. Why does she repeatedly point out that this is a young group, and imply that this is a wonderful thing? I would consider it a handicap.

    These reasons are separate from the fact that they are environmentalists. I’m sure, somewhere, there is a critically thinking environmentalist, but I’ve yet to hear from him or her. They practically never have any depth of understanding about the issues they are passionate about. Even if they did understand the issues, their solutions are always laughably (and dangerously) wrong, usually due to a pathetic understanding of economics.

    Am I to believe that a young group of puppeteers and pranksters who don’t understand the issues, don’t have realistic solutions, and don’t even understand basic economics, exhibit critical thinking?


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