Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
The UN said we were at a tipping point in 2007. And in 2009. In a single decade, the media talked about climate tipping points 14,000 times.
Many of us, as youngsters, were scared witless by messengers of doom. Rather than feeling confident about the future, we were taught to feel anxious. To feel afraid.
In primary school, I was shown a film that said acid rain would decimate the world’s forests. Then came the ozone layer crisis. Followed by global warming. In each case, a chorus of activists insisted a total transformation of society was required. Economic growth must halt. Technology was bad.
It takes time for the bigger picture to emerge. Only after we’ve paid attention for several decades, do some of us grow wiser. We begin connecting the dots.
The endless line of doom mongers no longer seems harmless or well-intentioned. Charitably, these people are caught up in a whirlwind of foolish, faddish nonsense. They may be lost souls searching for meaning. Drama queens. Narcissists, smug and superior.
Less charitably, they’re malevolent. Evil spirits sucking joy out of the world. Scaring little kids for their own ends. Manipulating the goodwill of their neighours, working the angles, profiting from hysteria.
Yesterday Prince William pompously declared that planet Earth is at a ‘tipping point’ (click the image at the top of this post). Gee, weren’t we told that back in 2006?
And in 2007?
And in 2009?
Eight years ago, Ronald Bailey searched the Nexis news database for instances in which journalists had used the term ‘tipping point’ when discussing ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming.’ What did he find?
2002-2005: 565 instances
2005-2008: 6,000+ instances
2008-2011: 5,900+ instances
2011-2012: 1,985 instances
grand total: 14,450 instances
Read the full details here. It’s important to know that the Nexis search engine ceased counting after it had located 3,000 instances of a word combination. The above numbers are therefore conservative.
The bottom line: in the decade leading up to June 2012, news stories had already discussed environmental tipping points more than 14,000 times.