Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The disturbing cabaret of climate activists


The fanatical climate activists may seem funny for now, but they’re starting to become dangerous

Łukasz Warzecha

On November 25th of last year, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, beautifully located on the Elbe River itself in a building of a thoroughly renovated old warehouse, was to host a concert by the Landesjugendorchester, an orchestra of young musicians from Hamburg. The orchestra, conducted by Volker Krafft, was to perform three pieces: Im Herbst (“In Autumn”), Edvard Grieg’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in A Minor, Op. 16, as well as Symphony No. 7 in B Minor, Unvollendete – “Unfinished” by Franz Schubert.

The concert was unexpectedly disrupted, however, when two brave fighters for the planet appeared on stage: a woman of rather substantial size, so to speak,  and a young man who physically was her opposite, with a Harry Potter-like haircut. Both wearing orange vests that seem to be mandatory for all sorts of activists. The pair used a method typical of climate ninjas: glue. With her left hand, he with his right, they glued themselves to the railing of the conductor’s platform, whereupon the woman began delivering a climatic tirade toward the audience. Unfortunately, the audience turned out to be strikingly insensitive to the message of impending disaster and reacted by booing.

The unfortunate thing was that the climate militants failed in the planning stage of their operation. For soon a Philharmonic maintenance worker stepped on stage, pulled the railing from its mount and carried it backstage, dragging the still-glued couple behind him to the ovation of the audience. The couple was then captured in a photo, already placed with the railing in some storage room, with their eyes rather sadly fixed on space. One can guess that in the backstage of the philharmonic hall, the atmospheric message did not reach many. Perhaps even no one. The photo was largely popularized in social media.

Glued forever

You will say: winners of the Darwin Award. But no – if one were to select the winner among climate militants, it would have to be awarded to a certain young man from Mainz, from the formation of the Letzte Generation (“the Last Generation”). This man, along with a group of fighting comrades, glued himself to the street in the beautiful city of Rhine just a few days ago. Climate activists are accustomed to a certain routine: they glue themselves to objects, shout this or that, then the police and other services show up and take care of them: detach them, bandage, and so on. Unfortunately, this fighter for the planet was exceptionally unlucky, for he stuck himself extraordinarily effectively. So effectively, in fact, that the usual procedure did nothing. A team of road workers had to be called in, who were eventually forced to use a small jackhammer and a pavement cutter. Using the latter device, they finally cut out a small piece of asphalt, which the fighter was able to take along with his hand. But the happy ending did not come about – according to German media reports, doctors ruled that the hand would most likely have to be amputated. Along with the asphalt. People are cruel, but it should be noted that when the account of the event was posted on Twitter, most commentators showed not only no interest in the fate of the planet, but also did not express basic sympathy for the man with the asphalt hand. And soon perhaps without a hand at all. Which, I have no doubt, will gain the status of a relic among climate fighters.

Climate demonstration in Geneve, 2019. (Source:Wikimedia Commons/MHM55)

This last story is quite brutal, however it could have been worse given the fact that climate campaigners have previously glued their heads to various surfaces as well. Like one of the members of Just Stop Oil at Mauritiushaus in Amsterdam, who just had his head glued to Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” but there is no information on whether he then had to walk around with the protective glass from the painting permanently affixed to his skull.

Just Stop Oil’s climate activists, demanding that Britain go completely carbon-free within eight years, are not evoking warm feelings from the public either. Their practice of blocking roads is beginning to stir up real rage, as its victims are random people. Recently on Sky News, Mark Austin interviewed JSO representative Miss Indigo Rumbelov, whom he tried to ask about the organization’s strategy. Although perhaps the term “interview” is not quite accurate in this case. One had the impression that editor Austin was trying to interview an automaton, programmed with a specific set of answers, not necessarily corresponding to the questions. Mark Austin repeatedly asked the question about whether JSO’s strategy results in the general message being lost, because people are occupied and annoyed mainly by the form of protest. In doing so, he cited examples, including the high-profile case of Mr. Tony Bambury, who was unable to make it to his own father’s funeral because one of the highways was blocked by JSO. In an interview with the BBC, Bambury said that this funeral will not be able to be repeated and that he will never forgive the people of JSO for this.

All this bounced off Miss Indigo like a wall. The JSO representative looked more and more like a mystic in religious rapture. “The situation is serious,” she said in an increasingly elevated voice. “If you journalists were doing your job well, there would already be tens of thousands of people protesting in front of parliament,” she argued. And finally, she turned to the Sky News journalist with a dramatic question: “Do you love your children more than fossil fuels?”

JSO militants blocking British highways don’t stick themselves to the trusses above the road, they simply climb them. Police are then forced to block the entire highway resulting in giant traffic jams. Traffic jams, as we know, significantly increase emissions, but let’s not be petty and expect logical reasoning from people terrified of an impending disaster.

Recently, London police had to justify their passive assistance at one of the JSO blockades, whose members effectively blocked traffic in the city center. However, the activists were not sitting on the roadway nor were they glued to anything. They were simply walking very slowly along the entire width of the roadway. The supervisor of the Metropolitan Police then spread his hands, explaining that, formally speaking, it was not a blockade, because traffic was moving nonetheless. Very slowly, but always, and this meant that all the officers could do was keep an eye on order. However, they reportedly could not remove the activists from the roadway. This explanation did not appeal to the city’s residents, who, already during the blockade, loudly expressed surprise at the police officers’ attitude and profusely frequented the “f” word towards the activists, demanding that they unblock the passage.

Some time ago, another formation fighting to save the planet was revealed: the Scientist Rebellion, referring to the radicals of the Extinction Rebellion (as is evident, the world of climate militancy is beginning to resemble the best of times in the Middle East with 50 factions of Hamas). The Scientist Rebellion, on its Twitter account, stands firmly against capitalist exploitation, so-called greenwashing (i.e., the alleged concern for the climate problem by companies and governments) and violations of LGBT rights. And, of course, against climate catastrophe.

In October of last year, the Scientist Rebellion members took action at Autostadt, the Volkswagen museum in Wolfsburg. Specifically, in the Porsche pavilion. Members of the militia, dressed in dignified white smocks (as befits scientists), entered the building, then traditionally glued themselves to the floor near one of the cars. It turned out, however, that the affair was not fully thought out, as was the case with the pair from the Hamburg Philharmonic. After all, the pavilion staff announced that they took the right to protest very seriously and intended to allow it as much as possible. So they turned off the heating and lighting and went home, taking their time to notify the police. One of the protesters complained to the British newspaper Express on a regular basis, “There was no response to our request to provide us with bowls so that we could urinate and defecate with dignity where we were stuck. We can’t order anything to eat, we are doomed to what is supplied to us by Volskwagen. The lights are turned off. There are sudden, unannounced inspections by guards with blinding flashlights.” Imagine the trauma: no vegan steak, maybe a wurst that is 100% meat, you have to pee under yourself, and on top of that, the guards don’t even announce themselves!

The beginning of terrorism

It is evident that the dedication of climate militants is boundless: for the planet they are ready not only to defecate themselves, but also even sacrifice an arm once in a while. This all sounds like the exploits of Olsen’s gang – and very well. For there is a chance that this is how most people will start to look at it, and this in turn may or may not lead to a questioning of mainstream climate fanaticism. No longer the one cultivated by Just Stop Oil or the Scientist Rebellion, but by the gentlemen in suits and ties who impose on us a change in our way of life and threaten us with annual CO2 limits – which has already appeared in the mainstream debate in France – or who are branding, like Frans Timmermans, “Fit For 55,” a program that effectively ruins EU economies, including Poland’s.

However, at the end of this story, reminiscent of the script of a Monty Python skit, it is necessary to include some serious remarks. First – a negative scenario is also possible: “rational” climate activism will be presented as an alternative to the entourage. That is something along the lines of: we understand that you are at unconvinced, to say the least, by the historian on the truss over the M25 highway in England, but the matter of Timmermans and his clever plans is, after all, something completely different.

Second – we are dealing with fanatics. Most likely largely unsustainable, as American columnist Michael Shellenberger, the author of “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All,” pointed out to climate alarmists. Shellenberger, a former candidate for governor of California, argues, not unreasonably, that the most disturbed people of the generation of today’s twenty-somethings are being cynically exploited for actions such as those described above. The question is: who is using them and why?

Third – the situation is beginning to look more and more like the beginning of a fanatical terrorist movement. Frustration is growing among the activists, as it turns out that people somehow do not garner to share their horror and listen attentively to their message. They are tired enough of the pressure to implement green policies that has been exerted so far. Over time, this could push the militants to violence. Some politicians are already warning about this danger. British Conservative MP Gareth Johnson has already appealed in the House of Commons to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to recognize Just Stop Oil as a “proscribed organization” – a term in British law that effectively means a terrorist group. Participation in the activities of an organization with such a designation carries harsher penalties. Prime Minister Sunak has so far not made such a decision. This may change, however, when the climate clowns stop being funny and become truly threatening.

This article was published in January 2023 in “Do Rzeczy” weekly magazine.