Social media is brilliant for keeping in touch with family and friends … but it’s also a fertile medium for the spread of disinformation. Studies have shown that false information spreads faster and further than accurate information, and is also more likely to attract attention.
With an average profit of £1.5m every minute for the last 50yrs, the fossil fuel industry has been well able to spread its climate change disinformation campaign and buy all the influence needed to successfully delay political interference that might limit its activities. Governments and regulators around the world have effectively been captured, which explains the International Monetary Fund’s calculation that the industry benefits from subsidies of around £9m per minute*. In part this is through not having to pay for the deaths and damage caused by air pollution, heatwaves and other impacts of global warming.
Four days of protests
Another, more subtle, form of media manipulation is to starve issues of the ‘oxygen of publicity’, as Margaret Thatcher described it.
On 22nd April I joined The Big One demonstrations in London, with a huge number of people who all spent the time and expense to travel to Westminster to express their growing alarm at the disastrous inadequacy of government action on the environment. It was great to see so many people of all ages and ethnicities, including families with young children, coming together peacefully to express the growing public disquiet at our politicians’ failure to safeguard our collective future.
Before the event, the media frothed with a totally bogus story about the London marathon being disrupted. It wasn’t – but in the end, the four days of demonstrations created minimal media publicity. Nothing to see here folks.
Climate change will affect us all, one way or another.
Cornwall and Devon still have hosepipe bans introduced last summer. Here in North Dorset a few intense storms this winter caused flooding instead of compensating for the long periods without any rain at all.
At a recent Dorset Council planning consultation meeting, I was pleased to see the seriousness with which the environment is now being taken – but we are still not taking sufficient action anything like quickly enough.
We simply cannot afford to ignore the urgency of the situation.
North Dorset Green Party
*Oil sector’s ‘staggering’ $3bn-a-day profits
**Fossil fuel subsidies of $11m a minute