Dr. Genevieve Guenther Profile picture
Oct 8, 2018 17 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Can we talk about the global "we"?

"We" is a big word in climate discourse. Just today I've seen a number of responses to #SR15 that use it, as in "we're fucking this up."

I'm here to say that this "we" is a fictional construct: ideological, obfuscatory, and dangerous.

Who is this "we"? Does it include the nearly one billion people who live on less than 2 dollars a day?


Does it include the +/- 5.5 billion people who live on between 2-10 dollars a day?


Does it include the millions of people, all over the world, doing whatever they can to raise a political movement to counter the fossil-fuel industry? Does it include @billmckibben? @GretaThunberg?

Does it include everyone here on #climatechange Twitter who seems to be doing everything they can to sound the alarm?

Look, I understand why that "we" seems real. The fossil-fuel economy, for the moment, seems to provide the structure for what people do on this planet. As you look around from your American vantage, it appears totalizing.

But in reality the fossil fuel economy is contingent, requiring reproduction at every moment: through subsidies, through construction & repair of its infrastructure, through court cases that sustain its laws, through instagram photos that pretend its benefits bring you joy.

And in a million other ways large and small, most of them physically and/or psychically violent.

But we must remember there are millions, possibly billions, of people on this planet who would rather see the violence of the fossil-fuel economy end rather than continue.

Not all of them are mobilized, but they are there.

And we must remember that there are also millions of people, some of them running the world, who would rather civilization end and billions die so that fossil-fuel use can continue.

We know who those people are. "WE" are not those people. Remember that.

We must remember too that there are degrees of complicity. Without structural changes paid for collectively, most of us have no alternative but to use fossil fuels to some degree. As individual subjects we must do the very best we can.

But constrained choices are not akin to the complicity of, for example, the putatively free press, who suppresses the truth about climate change in #climatesilence or spreads denial outright. #EndClimateSilence

Anyhow, my point is that thinking of #climatechange as something that "we" are doing, instead of something we're being prevented from undoing, perpetuates the very ideology of the fossil-fuel economy we're trying to transform.

The truth is that we are being prevented from "undoing" climate change by the LITERAL collusion of our governments and the fossil-fuel industry, who are fomenting genocide in a system widely called, with perfect irony, "business as usual"....

...while they're aided and abetted by the media's suppression of the truth about climate change, preventing the people who would rather not destroy the world from really feeling that the time to get off their collective asses and force a change is NOW.

Climate change may inspire a reckoning for each of us about what it means to be human & what our morals are, fine, but always remember: this is a BATTLE against the forces of destruction to save something of this achingly beautiful, utterly miraculous world for children.

THEY are fucking this up. And you need to ask yourself: are you with them or against them?

I say: choose love. Choose life. Choose connection to the miracle of this planet.

There is no luxury in the grave.

#ActOnClimate #EndClimateSilence


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More from @DoctorVive

Sep 26, 2018
Yesterday, at an interesting #ClimateWeekNYC panel on fighting denial (organized by @ColumbiaClimate, @Sallan_Found, @earthinstitute, & @ClimSciDefense) @jeffnesbit made some excellent points I want to circulate.

First point: Nesbit reported that his research shows that trying to inoculate teenagers against tobacco advertising by telling them that smoking will make them die before their time doesn't work. But....

Telling teenagers that they're being targeted and manipulated by tobacco companies who are shamelessly trying to addict them actually *does* make them much less likely to take up smoking.

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Aug 1, 2018
I really wanted to like @NathanielRich's @NYTmag piece about 70's & 80's climate politics. It does put AGW front-and-center for once. But I'm crushed to say that Rich suppresses important facts, covering up how organized climate denial created our current predicament.

For just one example: let's look at how Rich narrates the role of the scientist William Nierenberg in writing and disseminating “Changing Climate,” the @theNASciences report released in 1983.

This is how Rich credentials Nierenberg (N)👇🏽. He doesn't report that N was a physicist, not a climate scientist. Nor does he say that N worked on the Manhattan Project. He hides the parts that undermine N's expertise on climate & that suggest N used science politically.

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Jul 8, 2018
1. I happened to listen to @NPR for a few hours this morning, and I heard three stories that are very much connected to #climatechange without anyone on the radio mentioning climate change even once.

It was surreal and disturbing.

2. The first story was about the current drought in Oregon. It focused on a rancher who is currently paying to have 18,000 gallons of water a day trucked in to water his livestock. (Yes, you read that right.)
3. The story discussed how much this water and its transport was costing the rancher; how long this drought has affected ranching in the West; and what the ranchers might do if the weather doesn't eventually return to normal (as if it would one day return to normal).
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May 11, 2018
When I first saw this image a few weeks ago, I noted in passing that Morano's book was filled with lies.

Some guy in Norway (since blocked) challenged me to identify 4 or 5 lies in the text. And because I'm a woman of my word ---> thread👇🏽
From page 45. Note the lack of citation.

Where are the peer-reviewed papers by “renowned climatologists” arguing that a tripling of CO2 concentrations would have only minor impacts on temperatures? They don’t exist. Because this claim is a lie.

From page 47. This claim is also a lie. Current warming is over 100% attributable to human activity.

The citation leads not to a scientific study, but to congressional testimony by Dr Will Happer, a Emeritus Prof of Physics, who specializes in optics, and who...

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