I noticed a few tweets earlier regarding a new video campaign from 10:10 had launched: what piqued my interest was that they seemed to be coming not from the usual green, environmental tweeters, but from political and scientific people, and that their responses were quite angry. I took a look, as you can, though not on the 10:10 site, as it’s since been removed:
The comments surrounding the video on Twitter and Youtube are telling: green campaigners are asking “what’s the point?” Who is the video targeted at? If it’s at those who are undecided on the need to cut their individual carbon emissions by 10%, they’ve effectively been told “agree with us, or we’ll kill you”. We’ve depicted ourselves as extremists which plays perfectly into the hands of those who wish to debase our arguments if that’s the case. If, on the other hand, the argument is that we can’t afford not to cut our emissions, the point is played so poorly, and so crassly that the visceral reactions of those who previously wavered show that many people who previously wavered, are now calling the 10:10 campaign “eco-fascists” and “enviro-nazis” or any other clumsy portmanteau evocation of Godwin’s Law.
As with Peta’s campaigns, I imagine one of the key aims of the campaign was to get people to talk. Peta regularly use semi-naked women, or porn stars as in a recent campaign to spay animals, to grab attention.
Unfortunately, sexualising women alienates a lot of people who would otherwise be brought onside with Peta’s messages. And that’s what I fear 10:10 have done today. I imagine they’ll come out and say they wanted people to talk about carbon emissions, and look! That’s what we’ve all been doing, but I think that’s poor form, and an argument that doesn’t hold. There is such a thing a a bad publicity, and the fallout from this has the potential to be far-reaching if people feel it gives them licence to abdicate personal responsibility in green matters. In essentially saying “Agree or we’ll kill you” and portraying those who won’t agree to do something about climate change as victimised, they’ve given those who aren’t willing to make an individual contribution to tackling the problem a moral get-out clause to do so.