This episode is a part of the first annual Climate Podcast Showcase, for more information on this visit www.climactic.fm/climatepodcase, and for more information on this show please visit The Juice Media Podcast.
Here's the video associated with this podcast episode: Honest Government Ad | We're F*ed
Here are the articles mentioned in the podcast:
- "Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals" by Martin Lukacs
- Forget Shorter Showers by Derrick Jensen
- "Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions" - The Carbon Majors Database If you enjoyed this podcast please subscribe on your podcast app and recommend it to others!
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TRANSCRIPT FOR THE HEARING IMPAIRED, Thanks to Kevin Wild for transcribing the audio.
Hey everyone, Giordano here with the juice media podcast, broadcasting from the Department of Genuine Satire.
Most of you know this by now, but I'm just going to repeat it for any newcomers to the podcast, this is a companion podcast to the honest government ads series which we produce and this latest episode was an honest government announcement about the climate crisis.
[Honest Government Ad]
"Hello, I'm from the government with an important message as we enter the third decade of the 21st century, things are going, err, fine. Overall.. The Amazon is fine, half of Africa is fine. So is the Arctic, Indonesia, Spain, Greece, even Greenland's on fucking fire, err, I mean fine.
Scientists have coined a new term for this stage of climate change we're entering. “We’re fucked”. Unlike the previous stage, which climate scientists called listen to us or we might be fucked. We're fucked is happening. And in your lifetime..."
[Giordano] There are so many things to talk about on this issue. Where does one even start? Well, I think my expertise can be most useful in discussing the bullshit that is levied against people who joined the global strike movement. I mean you must have noticed there is just so much bullshit. Where does it all come from, what do we make of it, and how do we respond to it?
And I'm not talking about the bullshit regarding the science. Don't even get drawn into those debates because the only people that can debate the science are scientists and the vast majority of them agree on the science. I'm talking about general run of the mill bullshit, which generally consists of badly constructed arguments that rely on profound ignorance of our own history. So that's what I'm going to talk about in the second half of the podcast. But before we get to that, I want to hand over the mic to the people who have been leading the fight to raise awareness about the climate crisis and to ring the alarm more effectively than, than anyone has been able to, in this last decade, and that is school kids who have created the global movement.
It's fucking amazing. They've made history, they're making history. As we saw yesterday with the global climate strike, there were millions of people on every continent on the street saying this is enough. Of course we joined the Melbourne strike. And, uh, it was just an incredible experience. And while we were there, we thought we would interview some of the kids who have been behind the organization of this amazing event. Of course, we posed as the Department of Genuine Satire from the Australien government. And, uh, these are some of their voices. All I can say is the kids are doing fine.
[background chatter] So, these guys are from the Honest Government ads series. Just about,
[Student] Oh, oh, I love this. Oh my God. Cameron. I've probably spent like years watching these videos.
[Giordano] So we're here from the government. We just kind of doing a little bit of a survey to see what's going on with the youth. And, uh, our first question to you, Cameron, is, why aren't you at school?
[Cameron] Fuck you. You're the reason I'm not at school, mate.
[Honest Govt] How much money would you need to not believe in climate change?
[Cameron] Um, I'd probably need a politician's wage to not believe in climate change. Maybe a liberal wage and maybe it'd be, it would be good. Yeah.
[Honest Govt] That sounds really familiar to what we have though. We'll have to look into that.
[Honest Govt] Fatima why aren't you at school?
[Fatima] Well, because today we’re striking to ask for climate justice and we're asking for everyone all over the, all over the world to stand with us. Um, I'm not in school today because I've decided to come out and protest for my future.
[Student] Um, I want better action on climate change. Um, why not, a free chance to take off. Nah Um, I'm fighting for my future. Um, yeah. Out of genuine concern for my future.
[Honest Govt] Why are you concerned? I mean, we're taking care of it. We're doing a pretty good job are’nt we. Do you not trust your government? Do you not trust [inaudible]?
[Student] No. Not at all.
[Honest Govt] Fair enough
[Student] Well, I'm seeing your track record. You're not doing a very good job. I'm sorry to say that.
[Honest Govt] Why do you believe scientists? Don't they teach you at school to believe your government?
[Student] Yeah. But Science is also tell me about fossil fuels and about carbon emissions and how renewables are the way to go. Did they, did they ever teach you that?
[Honest Govt] Why aren't you listening to good, reasonable, daggy dad figures like ScoMoe and Alan Jones?
[Student] Well, Alan Jones is prehistoric. Um, he was probably there to see the first coal mine open. [laughter] So I feel like it's a little bit out of touch for me to listen to someone like Alan Jones, considering he could have been my great grandfather.
[Honest Govt] Would a six figure salary at a coal mine changed your mind.
[Student] It wouldn't take any dollar figure. I'm lucky enough, I am fortunate enough to not need to be worried about a dollar figure and that means I'll continue on with my activism irrespective of the money.
[Student] See, unlike, I understand you might be after the money, but I don't think that way. I'd rather be after the planet.
[Honest Govt] So climate change is going to affect the most vulnerable of the worst. So should you be focused on just trying to be like less vulnerable?
[Student] Well. The thing is is that I'm already probably the least vulnerable person that's going to be affected by climate change. So I guess I'm trying to fight for the people that are most vulnerable before me.
[Honest Govt] What if I told you the climate has always been changing?
[Student] Yeah, but now we're causing it. It's been changing naturally, but now we're doing it, so let's got to change it a bit.
[Student] I mean, technically we should be heading, the world should be cooling at the moment, but it's not. And that's because of us and like, like I'm just a kid and I'm pretty worried about it. It's not a good thing.
[Honest Govt] One last question. Do you have something you'd like to say to Scott Morrison today?
[Student] I Dunno if I would allow... [Student] Hop onto the weight watchers!
[Student] As a politician, your job is to represent the people, not represent yourself in parliament. So I think you should get going and start doing that. Otherwise all of Australia is going to be on your back. Oh wait. It already is.
[Student] I don't know if the words I would use with reflect school strike greatly, but I'm probably “go fuck yourself”.
[Honest Govt] Thank you very much. We'll deliver that to the prime minister.
[Giordano] Jokes aside, there's a huge turnout here. I Dunno, we'll see the numbers later. But this is an incredible event. There's a big mix of like young people, old people. You guys have helped put this event together. Tell us a little bit about what's happening and why you're here and what's, what's happening
[Student] Today what we're going to see is probably the biggest climate mobilization in Australia's history. Um, which is open to not only school students but unions and businesses, corporations, stuff like that. Um, it is largely student led today. Um, lots of the decisions that have been, that have gone into this day have been made by students. Um, and what we're going to see today is just a whole bunch of people protesting climate inaction and putting pressure on the government to tell them that we need more.
[Honest Govt] Yeah, just give us a little rundown of what the demands are
[Student] So our first demand is that we have no more coal or gas projects. Our second demand is that we require a just transition for workers leaving coal and mining areas. And we want 100% renewables by 2030.
[Giordano] I'm sorry, your name is.
[Emma] My name's Emma.
[Giordano] Thank you for your work Emma.
[Giordano] Shout out there to Zoe and mark, who are helping me to ask those questions on behalf of the Department of genuine satire and also to Dan Ilitch who contributed to some of those questions that these funny brain. And lastly to Mark from climactic who recorded those interviews.
So as you can probably tell from the tone of my voice, I'm really excited and I was so inspired by being at the climate strike in Melbourne. I know a lot of you feel the same way as well. We've been posting on social media and I've seen so many of you sharing photos from your own cities and towns, whether there were small towns in rural Queensland or big cities like Sydney or overseas in uh, in the US or in Europe. Everyone was really on the same street, on the same page. And I think it was like checking in with each other and going, yes, we are saying, we do know that this is a crisis. This is an emergency, this is the time to be getting down into the street. And it was just so awesome to be standing shoulder to shoulder with likeminded people.
And uh, the one thing that really, you know, that we share in common is that these are people who are listening to scientists. That's what it all comes down to. Every time I see denial and equivocation, it's like I'm just listening to the scientists. I'm not an expert. You're not an expert. The experts are saying we should be freaking out and at an end and having an emergency response to what's happening, I feel to do anything else is insanity. So sane people were on the street and I'm so proud of the way that this amazing collective of people behave respectfully towards each other, towards their cities and streets because we know that the critics are looking on for the tiniest excuse to call out, um, you know, hypocrisy or to call out double standards. Um, they didn't have anything, you know, the streets were clean.
They were cleaner than when the protest started in some places. And by the way, I think we should start a tradition where at the end of the climate strikes, we go and take pictures of the grounds to show the condition in which they've been left. That's why yesterday, after Lee, before leaving Melbourne, I went back to the treasury gardens where not long before the 100,000 people were gathered and I took photos because I was just amazed. There was nothing, there was no plastic bottles or rappers or anything. But sure enough, within hours, photos were circulating online claiming that a mess had been left in Hyde Park, in Sydney. Uh, and in other places. One photo, which was even shared on that pile of steaming shit, Sunrise on channel seven was of Hyde Park in London. Um, and the mess that is shown was created by a festival, not by the climate strikers, but it was reported as if that mess had been left in Sydney's Hyde Park.
They've got fuck all left. I mean, if you have to resort to that level of misinformation and fake news, um, then that's it. It's we've won, you know, now it's just the case of keeping up the pressure. Just keep going in. I think the most important thing, the most important thing now is to inspire each other, to support each other, to keep each other really engaged in the struggle. This isn't a one off thing. There are going to be more protests that are going to be more strikes. The next one's coming up in October. Worldwide. What's the point? Why are we doing this? Isn't it a big waste of time? No, it isn't. No, it isn't. This is one of the many criticisms and many cheap ass bankrupt criticisms that come out and it's really important to know that it is bullshit. When people say that, “what's the point” (or) “You're not going to make any difference”. “How has this changed anything”?
Well, the historical record shows that this is how things have always changed, that people are getting down into the street and making a noise. Suspending business as usual. Downing tools has always been the way that things had been won.
People then go on and demonize that and say, oh, that's you're a socialist. You're a Marxist Europe. Well, if you want to call it that, call it that, but really what it is is that history. This is how humans behave. This is how things change. If you don't like it, then well then why don't you give up your eight hour day? Why don't you give up your sick leave and paid leave? Because all of those things were won by people getting down into the streets. I mean here in Melbourne, the great example is the eight hour movement in 1856 stone masons down tools and they marched the parliament to say, we want to have an eight hour work day. You know, child labor was very common. 10 to 16 hour workdays were common. 700 people marched in the streets. Just 700 people, not 150,000 like we had yesterday in Melbourne. 700 people won the right for an eight hour day in the trade. There were 19 trades represented. But then after that success and movement was organized to make sure that the eight hour day was spread to all workers generally. And that movement continued. It grew and it grew. And the marches got bigger until eventually the eight hour day became nationally instituted across Australia in 1920 the eight hour day, which people take for granted, the very people who sit in their chairs at home posting on social media saying, what have you achieved? This is pointless. Why you marching our beneficiaries of this very method of, of winning overwrites. They have jobs where they have eight hour days where they have paid leave sick leave.
Those very rights were won in the same way that people are seeking to win a right to protect our future, our kids' future from the climate crisis by getting down into the street. So the only thing those critics are really demonstrating is how dangerous it is when you don't know your own history.
The funny thing is that they are the hypocrites for benefiting from the very mechanisms of struggle that they are now criticizing and disparaging. And the reason I laugh when I say that they're hypocrites is because the charge of hypocrisy is what critics are often pinning on climate activists. I'm saying that we are hypocrites for protest in climate inaction when we ourselves use and depend on fossil fuel products. Okay, so let's talk about this criticism, this accusation of hypocrisy. And again, I'm only focusing on the criticisms because as I said, I think about this a lot and I feel like it gets people's spirits down.
People tend to lose energy when they feel attacked. And as I said, we need to stay inspired and engaged. And I don't want to see people, um, losing spirit or losing heart because they are attacked in these ways. So that's why I'm sharing these thoughts with you so that if you had an already cottoned on to these fallacies a then maybe this is helpful to know how to respond or how to at least not let these kind of criticisms get you down. So with that in mind, what do we make of this charge? That we're hypocrites? I'm sure you've come across this on social media. If you make the point that you're attending the climate strike, people will ask you, are you going to wear clothes? Cause did you know that they made out of petroleum products? Oh and how are you going to get to the protests?
Are you going to drive there? Are you going to catch public transport? Well all that too is powered by electricity and diesel. The logic is if you benefit from the system, you're not allowed to call for it to be changed or improved.
The answer to this argument is in our historical record, the historical record of our species is one of transitioning from one source of energy to another from one way of doing things to another. There is never been a case of group of people saying let's power our society, our economy differently, and then the next day they did that and so because it's always been about transitions, there has always been a massive overlap between old ways and new ways of doing things. Again, if we're looking for examples, history is our friend. People in the northern United States who are against slavery were wearing cotton picked by slaves.
That didn't mean that we're hypocrites for joining the abolition movement. It meant that they realize that we're beneficiaries of that system and they wanted to campaign to end it, but until that happened, there was no affordable way for most people to obtain cotton just as there is no affordable way for most people today to obtain electric vehicles because our system still supports and subsidizes the fossil fuel industry. But I'll come back to that in a second. The main point is, and Jamie Hen from three-fifty dot org put it really clearly in a letter to the Boston globe. We must fight in the world we have, not the world we want. The fact is what we're calling for is a transition. That is the key word. The critics are attacking as if we're saying we have to switch from fossil fuels right now. That's not what we're saying.
So the criticism that they are living is a straw man. It's attacking a position that we don't hold. We're not saying we're going to change today. We're saying we need to transition to a zero emission economy over the next 10 15 years maximum, which allows us to implement the technology which now exists in order to rely on renewables and also to create a just transition for workers in the coal mining and oil industry so that they’re not left up shit creek either. And so when you put all that together, given that we're calling for a transition using fossil fuel products from laptops and iPhones and social media and computers and getting to a rally, however you can, obviously if you can ride your bike like, like I did yesterday, great. Otherwise, public transport, if you have to drive a car, that's okay because the logic is the best use of fossil fuels today is to campaign and fight for a transition away from fossil fuels.
If that's what you're using your fossil fuel tools for, that is the best possible use for them right now in this moment of history. It's very important to understand that this criticism which tries to discredit the global climate strike movement isn't just haphazard. This is part of a much bigger narrative, a much bigger discourse, which is about discouraging people from taking collective action. It's about making us feel that unless we can make a change as individuals, unless we can live the perfect life that we envisage, then we don't have the right to speak as a collective to call upon our government to make changes. This forces us into dealing with the climate crisis as individuals, which is incredibly, well, okay. It's impossible because the very choices that we want to be able to make are not available to us. For example, the reason that we can all afford to drive cars and buy petrol is that these industries are incredibly heavily subsidized by governments, but if government subsidized the creation of, first of all, if they cut subsidies for fossil fuels and gave up those subsidies, which by the way are our tax dollars.
It's not the government or rich people that are paying for it. We are paying for it. We paid for the, the exploration, the licenses that patrol, all the private companies that profit from the extraction of mineral resources do so on massive generous handouts from government. In other words from us. But if those subsidies were instead going towards supporting the creation of renewable energy technology, including storage as well as the electric vehicle manufacturing industry, which could create a shit-tons of jobs here in Australia and around the world, then we could all afford electric vehicles. But that choice is not available to us because our government is subsidizing and propping up a fossil fuel industry. So to turn around and say to people, why don't you make an individual choice to um, you know, end your own dependence on fossil fuels. Completely ignores the fact that those choices are not available.
In other words, they're not affordable. For most people, that's not their fault. That is, that is because of government policy. And that is why we have to take collective action. And that is why the argument “don't take collective action” unless you can take individual action is completely rubbish. There's a great article that,in the Guardian, by Martin Lukacs. “Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals while we busy ourselves greening our personal lives”, Lukacs writes. "Fossil fuel corporations are rendering those efforts irrelevant. The breakdown of carbon emissions since 1988, a hundred companies alone are responsible for an astonishing 71% so while we tinker with putting up solar panels on our houses, they go on torching the planet." I'm going to include the link to this article in the show notes so that you can read it yourself.
And I'm also going to post the link to another article which I really highly recommend called Forget Shorter Showers by Derek Jensen. Here is a quick excerpt.
“Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight hour workday or the chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Zara's prisons. Would dancing naked around fire would have helped put in place the civil rights act of 1964? Then why now? With all the world at stake to so many people retreat into these entirely personal solutions."
Again, the answer is that people retreat into these personal solutions because we're constantly told that this is how we have to deal with the crisis. Not as not as a collective by getting down into the street, but by dealing with it as individuals, by making small changes to our personal life. While this does fuck all.
Don't get me wrong. Personal responsibility, reducing waste, reducing consumerism, leading a simpler, greener life is really important, but on its own, is not enough”.
Even if everyone that absolutely everything composted, went vegan and did everything absolutely a, you know, with a zero footprint, it would only reduce global CO2 emissions by 20 something percent. Well, as mentioned, a hundred companies are responsible for 71% of emissions, so you do the maths. So taking personal responsibility is really important. But if we con ourselves into thinking that that is enough, that because we recycled compost don't eat meat, drive a Tesla, we are doing enough that we don't have to get into the street and campaign and actually use our collective muscle, in the same way that stonemasons did to win the eight hour day movement, in the same way that civil rights activist, and Anti-vietnam warm activist smash in the streets. If we caught ourselves into thinking that we don't need to do those things because we're taking personal action that is playing into the narrative that we can and should deal with this global crisis as individuals.
It also plays into the narrative that we shouldn't get into the way of business as usual. So the answer is yes, of course take personal responsibility but also get down into the street and take collective action. It doesn't have to be one or the other. And this is exactly why when people criticize us for our personal decisions, um, you know, having a laptop or using an iPhone or driving to the rally or using plastic bottles. The reason this criticism does affect us is that there is a kernel of truth there. It's not completely false. They're saying take personal responsibility, and yes, that is correct. We should take personal responsibility. The fallacy is in implying that we shouldn't also take political collective action because without that all our personal efforts and sacrifices and dealing with the climate crisis are like trying to put out a bushfire by pissing on it.
I am gonna wrap up now, but I want to say one final thing which I think is really important and it also relates to the individual versus collective way of dealing with the climate crisis. The very way that we think about the climate crisis is as individuals we're often dealing with this huge monumental crisis on our own.
Whenever we read an article or the latest news report, which is invariably incredibly depressing. We tend to engage with that information on our own and then we go away and deal with these emotions on our own. I don't think that's very healthy. I don't think it's a sane way of dealing with this issue. So let's deal with it together. Let's talk about it. Let's normalize the conversation. And obviously that conversation will change depending on who you're having it with. The way you'll talk about it with your children will be different to how you talk about it with your peers, your friends, maybe your colleagues or employees
But let's at least start talking about it, because if we don't talk about it and we deal with it as individuals, we're going to run out of energy. We're going to burn out. People are gonna shut off. They're going to go this, this hurts, this doesn't feel good. I can't deal with this. But together we can deal with it together. We can support each other.
You know, some people might need to go to a therapist to deal with this issue, but I, I would hope that a therapist would say, well, the best solution isn't coming to me. The best solution is getting down into the street with other people who feel just as worried, concerned and terrified as you, so that you’re not dealing with this problem alone and that you can actually feel that you're taking action to address the problem. Surely that has to be one of the most therapeutic things one can do.
That is why I enjoyed being part of the climate protest the other day is because it was therapy. It was like, wow, here are 150,000 people. Same people. As I said at the start, who feel like me and that, that was like medicine. At the same time, I've also reached out to my friends and said, hey, let's get together and have, you know, let's catch up. We can have a beer and let's talk about the climate crisis, you know, in a lighthearted way, but let's have a conversation. Let's just see where it goes so that we're not dealing with this as individuals. Um, because the reality is, well, we're dealing with a real existential crisis here.
This isn't, this isn't the hypothetical, this isn't science fiction. This is happening. And um, it's insane not to talk about it. So let's open that conversation. Nothing in the history of humanity has ever required or entailed this level of coordination.But then again, humans have come a long way. We've had a lot of practice, we've learned a lot. We have an incredible level of education. So just because we've never done it in the past does not mean we cannot do it.
Now, the one thing that threatens all of this is misinformation. And I don't need to tell you, you already know this. There are forces out there that are actively spreading misinformation, trying to delay, trying to deny, trying to muddy the waters, trying to divide and try new tire people out with constant criticism and attacks, which is where our work comes in. Basically, the whole honest government ad series is designed to provide a counter attack to a lot of these arguments. And to expose the bullshit, the foundations upon which so many of these criticisms are based. Um, and I extend that into the comments section of many of our videos
I'm really not afraid of taking on the trolls and taking on the logical fallacies. So I really make an effort to engage with people in the comments, not necessarily to change their mind, but just to create a presence, a presence of defiance and resistance towards bullshit. And I want to give a huge thanks to all the people who join me in the comments, uh, in defying and resisting that bullshit. You know, often I'll respond to criticism and attacks in the comments, uh, but often I don't even have to do that. So more and more often I'm seeing you, the audience, taking care of that role and not letting bullshit go and check to actually picking people up saying, actually that's wrong. And um, you know, hopefully that person will think again about saying those things because people have wised on, cottoned on. They know how to respond to these fallacies.
And it's really important that those of us who have the patients and the, and the, the mental, this position to do it, um, do so so that other people aren't dragged down and their confidence isn't chipped away and um, it's all, it's all part what I was saying before about looking after each other. All right. I'm clearly still high from yesterday's strike. Um, but I'm going to wrap up now. I like to keep these a short wherever possible.
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I'm going to put the finishing touches on our next honest government ad, which is about the cashless debit card. So stay tuned. Um, and then we'll follow up with a podcast for that episode as well.
This is Giordano from The Juice Media and you've been listening to The Juice Media podcast. Take care everyone and take care of each other.Support Climactic