Thursday, January 28, 2010

The End is Nigh: How the Religious Language of Global Warming is Failing

by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York

Okay, okay, we've heard them all by now. Because we're trying to address the threat of climate change, we're blind Al Gore followers. Cultists. 'Alarmists'. And perhaps the most loaded: we're followers of the religion of global warming. To all that, I say . . . fair enough.

The Global Warming 'Religion'

Not that any one of those allegations is actually accurate. But you can draw parallels, note the references' point of origin--and admit that we've have invited some of the comparisons. For instance, in a great post, Sami notes the similarities between devout environmentalism and traditional religious practice--not flying or operating vehicles, adhering to a certain diet, embracing a distinct value system, etc. And it may upset a few greens to say so, but some of the strongest parallels to religiosity have been invited by the green movement's methodology itself.

The BBC says in a recent piece that the green movement has long used religious language to spread its message. They note that the theologian, environmentalist, and UN climate change adviser Martin Palmer sees the green movement's use of religious imagery as a serious detriment. He says:

"In the 70s and 80s, environmentalists thought that if they presented people with the scientific facts, they would realise how desperate the crisis was and change. "That optimism started to fade in the 90s. They realised that no one is converted by a pie chart, so they started trying to motivate us through fear. "Now they are playing with some of the most powerful emotional triggers in Western culture. They've adopted the language and imagery of a millenarian cult." the full story at