This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.
Google pampers the already pampered at $20 million climate extravaganza.
A three-day, no expense spared event has just taken place in Sicily. Called Google Camp, a reported 300 people gathered in opulent surroundings to bemoan human-caused climate change.
These were the elites. Billionaires and CEOs. Wealthy Hollywood actors and famous musicians. Fashion designers and filmmakers. Prince Harry and Prince William. Barack Obama.
Insanely privileged individuals. People whose daily lives bear little resemblance to the lives of 99.9% of those of us who inhabit affluent nations, never mind those in developing nations still aspiring to clean drinking water.
The 300 attendees reportedly arrived via 114 private planes. And helicopters. And yachts worth hundreds of millions. Gaz-guzzling maserati sports cars were reportedly then placed at their disposal.
BusinessInsider.com tells us the event, which occurs annually, features
group discussions on topics [Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin] deem to be of global importance…In years past, attendees have debated feminism and the role of sports in modern culture.
Perhaps genuine debate does take place at these gatherings. What’s more likely is that discussion runs firmly in certain directions. Rather than pledging to eschew private air travel, these hyper-consuming individuals no doubt spent most of their time discussing how best to persuade/legislate/tax the little people into making sacrifices for the sake of the planet.
One would think such incandescent hypocrisy would be considered newsworthy. The UK media is certainly of that opinion. The Daily Mail, for example, has covered this year’s gathering extensively. A small sample:
Here in Canada, not so much. The Toronto Star, the country’s largest circulation newspaper, talks incessantly about the climate – see the recent headline at the top of this post. But it doesn’t think its readers deserve to be told about Google’s $20 million climate extravaganza. A search of its website indicates the paper has uttered not one word about this.
Ditto over at the national broadsheet, the Globe and Mail.
And at the publicly-funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which promulgates news nationally via television, radio, and website.
And at CTV, the rival chain of television stations stretching across our vast nation.
It’s almost as if there’s a quiet understanding among Canada’s journalists to censor themselves, to pretend that news stories that cast climate warriors in an embarrassing light simply don’t exist. It’s as if the media has chosen sides, electing to act as lobbyists for a particular point-of-view rather than informing the little people about what’s going on.
As far as I can tell, only the National Post and the Toronto Sun respect their readers. Two articles have appeared in each (see here and here). I recommend satirist Rex Murphy’s commentary, There’s no hypocrite like a rich, jet-setting anti-global-warming one.
Please note: this is no isolated incident. When the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) resigned in disgrace in early 2015 after a female employee complained to police about systematic sexual harassment, it was as if a news blackout had descended upon CBC.
Rajendra Pachauri had been considered very much newsworthy beforehand. The CBC had quoted his doom-and-gloom remarks on three separate occasions the previous year. But when his tenure at the world’s most important climate body came to an ignominious end, its audience heard nothing.
The story was similar in 2010, when a team of mainstream UK public relations people produced a 4-minute video, intended to be humorous, and meant to be shown before the main attraction in cinemas. It featured school children being blown to bloody pulp. In the classroom. By their own teacher. For the crime of being insufficiently enthusiastic about reducing their carbon footprint.
Australian commentator Joanne Nova called it the “Marketing Disaster of the Century.” But few Canadians even knew it happened. Six weeks afterward, I found only two mentions of it by Canadian news outlets.
There are elitist climate warriors. There is the media. And then there are the little people.
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