Oh dear: Environmental cowboys, Dave Chappelle and an Everything Shortage
this week it's all about practicing nuance
My week was characterised by bottle-necked frustration that finally - gloriously! - imploded to produce some odd openings.
I’d hit, TBH, a dark nadir of exhaustion from climate caring.
This time it stemmed from my lived experience of the eco gender gap.
In the main, women do the climate grunt work, and for free. We get trolled, mocked, torn down; we run as political independents, tackling the hard issues (more on this TK) and attend the protests and kitchen tables. We show up at the grassroots, early stages. Then, just as we get some policy or social traction, sigh, blokes (again, in the main) waltz in with their green-tech start-ups and take the media slots on current affairs panels as overnight “experts”. Some of us are left wondering if we’re ham sandwiches.
I’m having a big fat whine here, which I don’t do often, but this is a phenomenon worth exposing at this juncture in our climate woes. And I also think I’m representing a frustration being felt collectively that might benefit from some airing (might get some folk paying creatives and activists!).
Anyway, some schadenfreude-ish salvation was delivered just as I penned this ‘letter. First, a friend suggested I stop calling myself a climate activist, “Call yourself a climate consultant, Sarah”. Brilliant. I updated my bio across all platforms and I’m hoping it will stem the tide of frantic requests for free MC’ing, pro-bono keynoting and non-paid guest essays that I and other activists and creatives are hit with hourly.
Then I got alerted to an IG thread exposing one of my tireless trolls Khory Hancock, AKA the @environmental_cowboy, who claims to be a caring climate crusader and scientist across the interwebs, invariably sans shirt.
I figured those of you who witnessed his terrible barrage of comments on my IG feed might be interested in this development-slash-implosion. He’s been exposed for sexually intimidating a bunch of women with some vile “rapey” talk and threatening to expose compromising intimate photos of someone he’d met on a dating app.
You might recall - I politely asked the cowboy to advise if he had been or was currently paid by the fossil fuel industry in any way. He said he was not. I should have looked deeper; Khory worked for both Rio Tinto and Santos. There are also investigations underway to see if his “environmental scientist” credentials are legit. There is conjecture.
(During the week I was sent a number of documents and email trails from Rio Tinto, the women he harassed, and others who have worked with him. I also have a trail of DMs Khory sent me. He’s now deleted his account and is sending legal letters to the women who’ve spoken up.)
I experienced this kind of behaviour when I ran I Quit Sugar. Eventually, we found out the troll - a certain Dave Dr**c*ll - was paid by Coca-Cola. He memorably made comments about my fertility and sexual prowess.
Both men target women and use classic techniques – gaslighting, inversion tactics, selective “scientifical fact bombardment” and binary argument. They bait, often with sexual inappropriateness, then when the woman finally bites back, they accuse her of some flavour of “hysteria”. My advice for anyone who cops this: Always let them have the last say. It powerfully gives them the best opportunity to face what they’re doing and how it might be impacting others.
Somewhat related, the GOAT Kelly Slater has chimed in on my IG live post about why I got vaccinated. He has been polite thus far in his anti-vax sentiments. I’ll get to responding to him soon enough, perhaps. In the meantime, I’ve pinned his comments so you can view them.
As a final antidote to all this, my latest Wild with Sarah Wilson podcast chat is with the erudite climate consultant (ha!) Clare Dubois who shares why victim consciousness (paternalism) is destroying the planet. She believes trees can save us. Gosh, I think I do, too. Tune in to find out how and why.
Oh, and then I got to go for my first hike in four months and everything calmed down…#hikedontshop…it was the Heathcote to Waterfall trail in the Royal National Park, a station to station thing of beauty. I took some climate mates.
I watched the controversial Dave Chappelle Netflix special
there is a stack to take from it
All over the smart-people’s media, critics have been asking, is Dave Chappelle’s The Closer offensive or funny? Can a black comedian sledge a white marginalized (LGBTQ) community if he’s rich? Is Chappelle defending black disadvantage against the toxic sensitivities of white fragility?
The answer is both and all of it. Humans have a hard time knowing when funny becomes offensive (which makes comedy the dangerously fun art that it is) and the point of his show, I think (and I’m still working out if it’s brilliance or accidental), is that he gets us nudging up against our own boundaries. He gets us wrestling morally with ourselves, swimming in uncomfortable nuances and degrees of things.
I loved it for this.
One reviewer said Chapelle “dares critics to take unequal offense”. I love this, too. Oh, the outrage of facing our cranky biases! She also called his show a Rorschach test. Forgotten what these are? Here’s a wiki link. The whole shouty controversy mirrors our deep psychological uglinesses. This being so, should we be shooting the messenger, the paint splodger?
The reviewer also refers to the Bad Art Friend dilemma, which I covered in my last newsletter, as another Rorschach test that exposes our own biases and philosophical leanings where there is no binary “right” anywhere to be seen (the entire story was ugly, right!?).
I’m all for us getting intellectually uncomfortable like this at the close of 2021.
I think Bad Art Friend and The Closer are trending because we crave this kind of granular, grey dance and, oddly, welcome the discomfort of Rorschach tests.
The Everything Shortage
it’s coming. And it’s a good thing IMO
There is much commentary about how the world is about to run out of, well, everything in coming months. Face masks, Christmas postal services, chefs and farm labourers, car parts, coffee, semi-conductors, ships and shipping containers.
The cause? Pandemic lockdowns and a whopping $US10.4trn of global stimulus have snarled global supply chains, which are built on precarious just-in-time inventories and a whole bunch of other greedy, cheap, disposable principles. Hmph. Covid simply exposed, or wobbled, the house of cards.
There will be pain and (further) inequalities ahead. But let’s count a few upsides?
An Everything Shortage forces us to think through and respect what we buy.
It will shake up reliance on offshore outsourcing and force industry to localize.
It will nudge businesses to be more efficient and sustainable.
Consumers will have to do some serious delayed gratification practice and hefty going without. Yes!
We will have to consume less!
On top of this, this is also a Big Quit going on - huge numbers of workers are resigning. According to recent research by Microsoft, more than 40 per cent of the global workforce are considering leaving their employers this year (and it’s coming to Australia, too).
Nearly 7 percent of employees in the “accommodations and food services” sector left their job in August. That means one in 14 hotel clerks, restaurant servers, and barbacks said sayonara in a single month.
Which, I believe, will in turn lead to more innovation. Hoorah!
I observe these kinds of financial and logistics trends and marvel at how the flow of life always steers us to truth. It is from this knowingness that my peace and fortitude derive, TBH.
The flow of life. I trust it.
Greed and “more more more” tries to block the flow, does it’s best to fuck with it, but the flow (soon enough) implodes (there’s a theme this ‘letter) and dumps humanity back to where we need to be. What sweet relief. We get saved from our own dumb meddling!
Apropos all this, this winter in the Northern hemisphere people are going to die of cold due to energy shortages… but don’t blame the greens, say experts. Other experts (mostly economic forecasters) are also highlighting that sustainable development is a furphy and that, yes, the (only) answer is gloriously simple: "consume less, value more".
George Monbiot makes the same argument (and points out the planet can no longer afford the rich). He explains how destructive “sustainable growth” can be for it uses up resources we don’t have.
“If we were to build sufficient direct air capture machines to make a major difference to atmospheric carbon concentrations, this would demand a massive new wave of mining and processing for the steel and concrete.
The impact of such construction pulses travels around the world. To take just one component, the mining of sand to make concrete is trashing hundreds of precious habitats.
It’s especially devastating to rivers, whose sand is highly sought in construction. Rivers are already being hit by drought, the disappearance of mountain ice and snow, our extraction of water, and pollution from farming, sewage and industry. Sand dredging, on top of these assaults, could be a final, fatal blow.”
The bike wanderer died
(yes, i have taken to reading obituaries)
I’ve noticed some newspapers are reporting quite honestly on suicides that happened during Covid. It’s generally taboo in newsrooms. I got a lot from reading this one about a Bulgarian bikepacker who lived in the moment, staying present in pain, and who took his life recently, aged 33.
I imagine the contrast between being present and having to lockdown was a bridge too far for him. Pain needs to be moved, to be moved through, for some of us. Stasis prevents the ability to do both – to be in pain and to live. I know this to be very true for me.
With that, I’ll sign off with a Star Wars quote:
We’re not alone. Good people will fight if we lead them.
—Poe Dameron, The Rise of Skywalker
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