On Taking on Trolls and Climate Deniers: Be Brave, Just Don’t Be Stupid

On Taking on Trolls and Climate Deniers: Be Brave, Just Don’t Be Stupid

Note: This letter from the editor was originally published in our weekly newsletter and is being republished here.

Hey guys,

First of all, thanks to all of you who have entered our recent Eco sunglasses giveaway. There’s still time so if you’d like to win a pair of eco sunnies, check out the entry details here.

Now I don’t know about your local community, but in mine, ever since the Global Climate Strike, my local Facebook community groups have been inundated with posts from climate deniers; sharing anything from anti-climate science YouTube videos, links to right-wing think tank propaganda articles (featuring cherry picked data and interviews with ‘experts’ with vested interests etc), mean and horrible Greta Thunberg memes and the general climate movement.

While I think these deniers are a vocal minority, they are relentless ‘keyboard warriors’. I am usually great with ignoring them but when they share negative memes, fake news and hateful comments about school students and Greta, I can’t just ignore it and pull people up for their language and for their bias-filled diatribes. I know for certain there are young people in the community groups reading and watching what is being posted and I feel an obligation to ensure they know that they aren’t alone and that their community isn’t just filled with anti-science, anti-elite, climate denying, hateful, misogynists and trollish folk.

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Honestly though, sometimes even I can’t believe that full-grown adults behave so despicably online; the malevolent side of human nature is strong in so many people, it’s becoming a worry. 

My partner Ben –bless him– has felt a strong sense of responsibility since the Global Climate Strike and has decided to take a few of these climate deniers on. While I admire his perseverance, I personally find it exhausting having to listen to the play-by-play of where his ‘online battle’ is at.

I encourage him to drop it since these people are not open-minded (I know this because they rarely review the research and article links he provides, though Ben spends so much time reviewing their articles, researching their experts and data and debunking them). I’ve even asked him to ease up on them because I am concerned about safety; some of these people are highly emotional, illogical and irrational; and if they have this much time on their hands to spew hate and negativity on social media, what’s to stop them from trying to locate where we live and go head to head? (Note: Working in employment and social services years ago, I had a seriously unhinged client threaten my life. I got the heads up when a local branch called me about his intentions; my colleague and I quickly locked the doors and had to call the police. They picked the guy up but not before he came by trying to get to me and realised we’d turned our workplace into a fortress and it was impossible to get in).

We live in precarious times and there seems to be much division in our communities, with outrage and fury spilling over and some people going to great lengths to ‘win’ an argument. It pays to be mindful that not all individuals can control their emotions, that a disagreement can escalate and unfortunately, there are some people who mean to do harm. So if you’re living a public life (social media influencing, blogging, public activism etc) I hope you’re taking safety precautions and if need be, reporting incidents to those in authority (I will again refer to this post as it may be of help). 

Anyway, it’s Friday, I just returned from a work trip (Noosa North Shore is beautiful and I highly recommend you visit if you’re ever in Queensland, Australia) and I don’t want to be a downer LOL, so here’s what I’m reading, watching and listening to: 

Podcast Shows / Films:

Screaming into the Void: How Outrage is Hijacking Our Culture and Our Minds, Hidden Brain. Highly relevant given the times we’re now in where people feel the need to express outrage at every turn; bombarding social media conversations with anger. While it is effective (more emotional outbursts get more retweets, comments etc) the show explores what it is doing to our communities, culture and ourselves.

Money Talks: Purpose vs ProfitThe Economist. Is ‘woke’ capitalism really going to influence the way big business is done?

Allbirds: Tim Brown and Joey ZwillingerHow I Built This with Guy Raz. A great convo featuring the co-founders of the sustainable ‘It’ shoe brand, Allbirds.

Books:

Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus aka The Minimalists (re-reading, it’s been four years since I first read it and am due for re-learning lessons).

Articles / Posts:

BBC 100 Women 2019: Who is on the list?BBC

Germany has unveiled a zero-emissions train that only emits waterThe Independent

Workers making £88 Lululemon leggings claim they are beatenThe Guardian

Nobel economics prize winner Esther Duflo hopes to inspire ‘many, many other women’CNBC

No choice but to invest in oil, Shell CEO saysReuters

California becomes first US state to ban animal fur productsCNN

Fashion’s Latest Trend: Eco Bragging Rights, The New York Times

And that’s all from me for this week. Hope you have a relaxing weekend whatever you get up to!

Peace, love and all that jazz,

Editor Jen xx

p.s. Thank you so much to those who replied to our last newsletter and shared your thoughts and stories about the intolerance and bullying you’ve experienced within the green community. Some of the stories broke my heart; inhumanity found even in the ‘conscious’ community. I am working through the emails and will get to yours soon; just know I’ve read your email and really appreciate the courage it took for you to open up. I feel humbled that you chose to share with me and EWP. *Big, warm hugs*

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