Leo Hickman of the Guardian recently attacked Climate Depot’s Marc Morano for the “rhetoric and tone” of Climate Depot. But what of his own “rhetoric and tone”? Does he eschew inflammatory and emotive rhetoric that might lead to people getting the wrong idea?
Perhaps not always: in 2007, Hickman suggested that ultimately it must just be better to exterminate the entire human race. At least that would solve the “problem” of global warming:
If you keep on boiling the answers down, you start to reach a thick, sticky conclusion that says flicking the switch on humanity itself is just about the only act that will ultimately make any difference in the grand geophysical scheme of things
Guardian. Ask Leo. April 19th 2007.
That’s not the wrong “rhetoric and tone” at all, is it? After all, if the world’s going to end soon, then there’s no harm in concluding that perhaps we should just wipe out the human race.
Of course, overpopulation is a subject Hickman worries may be linked to global warming, leading him to wonder: “are there too many of us to achieve a sustainable future?”. After all, too many people consuming too much electricity could mean no more ice for the polar bears. Something he is heartened that the eldest of his three children understands:
My six-year-old daughter, Esme, the eldest of three, is so far the only one with any concept of climate change. I don’t think she knows the term itself, but she has brought home from school related talk of how “leaving lights on can cause the ice that polar bears live on to melt”.
“That’s right,” I responded warmly, congratulating her on knowing such a thing.
Chinadialogue.com Why Don’t We Stop Hurting the Earth?
But then, says Hickman, “I wavered”. Does he really want to scare the crap out of his own kids over global warming? He thinks back to reading stories of nuclear holocaust in his childhood, and how they terrified and traumatized him, and concludes that “It helped to politicise me, but I could have done without the cold sweats.” Of course – there is always the importance of “politicizing” young children to consider.
What of fellow Guardian columnist Susan Blackmore’s comments that “I hope we have bird flu or some other thing that will reduce the population, because otherwise we’re doomed.”? (Apparently, the earth cannot sustain the “current plague of humans” according to Dr Blackmore.)
Is that more the “rhetoric and tone” we want to see? I don’t know. Ask Leo.
Leo Hickman has commented (below) that he wasn’t advocating exterminating the entire human race, and says i didn’t quote the whole paragraph. So here is the whole paragraph so you can see the context of his “flick the switch” remark for yourself:
If you keep on boiling the answers down, you start to reach a thick, sticky conclusion that says flicking the switch on humanity itself is just about the only act that will ultimately make any difference in the grand geophysical scheme of things. But the concept of self-extinction isn’t much of a vote-winner these days. So back in the real world of Saving the Planet™, what are the biggies – the things that will truly make a difference?
Not much of a “vote winner” – he could be right there. What do you think readers?
The Guardian’s Reader’s Room , where they discuss their readers’ reactions to the stories of the week, chooses Leo’s “7 Billion People” story to lead with. Its pick of the readers’ comments? The following thought from someone called ‘Xani’:
“I trust Mother Nature to decimate our species’ numbers when it becomes necessary.”
I’m sure they’re not recommending that, merely discussing “scenarios”.