A few days ago, I climbed off an airplane at Boston's Logan Airport. The day began in Monterrey, Mexico–and though I was tired, I was also feeling pretty good. Our big day of action on October 10th has been building to a crescendo: yesterday we broke our record from last year, registering more than 5500 actions for the big Global Work Party.
But I'd barely turned on my computer when that good feeling turned to a kind of quiet nausea. There were emails from people all saying the same thing: "Have you seen this?"
"This" was a gross video making its way around Youtube, purporting to show people being blown up for not believing in climate change. It's been "pulled" from YouTube by its creators, the British climate group 10:10, but of course nothing is ever really "pulled" from YouTube. If you want to watch it bad enough, I'm pretty sure you can find it.
Climate skeptics are going to make a big deal of this. The video represents the kind of stupidity that really hurts our side, reinforcing in people's minds a series of preconceived notions, not the least of which is that we're out-of-control elitists. Not to mention crazy, and also with completely misplaced sense of humor.
We put out a statement at 350.org saying we had nothing to do with it–we didn't see it till it had made its way around the web, and as soon as we did we let people know we thought it was disgusting. We've known the creators for years–they put out a statement apologizing for their lapse.
But it's the kind of mistake that will haunt and hurt efforts. What makes it so depressing is that it's the precise opposite of what the people organizing around the world for October 10 are all about. In the first place, they're as responsible as it's possible to be: they'll spend the day putting up windmills and solar panels, laying out bike paths and digging community gardens. And in the second place, they're doing it because they realize kids are already dying from climate change, and that many many more are at risk as the century winds on. Killing people is, literally, the last thing we want.
Despite the shadow cast by this distateful video, our team remains hard at work as we hurtle towards 10/10/10. It's going to be an incredible day, filled with hope and positivity and peaceful climate solutions–and we'll have some beautiful videos to prove it.