covid-19

Peter Dykstra: Stop, you’re killing me

Denial is taking a toll.

Tens of millions of my fellow Americans are trying to make me sick, in more ways than one.


The often-ludicrous reasons for today's vaccine avoidance have their ancestors in other health, science, and climate crises.

Deepwater denial 

The late Rush Limbaugh was such a reliable gusher of whoppers, quarter-truths, and loopy conspiracy theories that it shouldn't be this easy to pick any single one out, but here's mine: A week after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, Limbaugh told his radio audience that "environmentalist wackos" had doomed the rig and killed 13 of its crew. Never mind that rig operator BP admitted blame two days earlier.

Non-peer-reviewed literature

Former 11-term Illinois Congressman John Shimkus has quoted the book of Genesis and the Gospel according to Matthew as guarantees that overrule the prevailing science, and that climate change will "not destroy this Earth."

God's word, the Congressman says, is "infallible, unchanging, perfect."

Shaving the truth

Paul LePage was an obscure small-town Maine mayor who became governor in 2010 on an anti-regulatory platform. But he wasn't your run-of-the-mill science hater. Even a decade ago, when warming coastal waters posed a threat for Maine's lobster industry, LePage embraced the science.

But as the Maine Legislature considered a measure to restrict endocrine-disrupting bisphenol-A (BPA) in 2011, LePage said he'd reviewed the science on BPA, and offered this (it's at 1:30 of this video.)

"If you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. And so the worst case is some women might have little beards."

Ummm .. come again, Paul?

"Where you now have cows, you will have fish"

In 1990, The Washington Post reported that J.R. Spradley, a U.S. delegate at an international climate change conference, told the Bangladeshi delegation that their nation getting swamped by sea level rise won't be such a bad thing. "

The situation is not a disaster; it is merely a change. The area won't have disappeared; it will just be underwater. Where you now have cows, you will have fish."

"Think of the clearcut as a temporary meadow"

Fifty years ago, Patrick Moore was an eager graduate student who crewed on the first Greenpeace voyages to oppose nuclear weapons tests. Over the next decade, he became a leader in the growing group's triumph and turmoil. He quit in 1986, showing up a few years later as a paid spokesman for Greenpeace foes –vinyl makers, logging multinationals, a nuke plant trade group, and more. Here's a wet kiss to the timber industry:

"Taken in the right light, clearcuts can actually look quite pretty. Think, for just a moment, of the clearcut as a temporary meadow."

Some climate yucks from Fox News

As I cited a few weeks ago, Fox's in-house comic, Greg Gutfeld, gifted us with 10 minutes of climate mirth earlier this month.

It turns out that since a recent study cited more global deaths from excessive cold than from excessive heat, that a little global warming is a great thing.

So ... don't we all feel a little better?

Peter Dykstra is our weekend editor and columnist and can be reached at pdykstra@ehn.org or @pdykstra.

His views do not necessarily represent those of Environmental Health News, The Daily Climate, or publisher, Environmental Health Sciences.

Banner photo credit: christopher catbagan/Unsplash

climate change discourse
Credit: Alliance for Excellent Education/Flickr/Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages

A new book argues the right way to discuss climate change

A new book by Genevieve Guenther asserts that using fossil fuel industry language undermines climate action.

Kate Yoder reports for Grist.

Keep reading...Show less
Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way
Coast Guard inspects Cameron LNG Facility in preparation for first LNG export in 2019. (Credit: Coast Guard News)

Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way

This 2-part series was co-produced by Environmental Health News and the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. See part 1 here.Este ensayo también está disponible en español
Keep reading...Show less
GOP climate rollbacks
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

GOP plans major rollbacks of US climate policies if victorious in elections

A Republican sweep in upcoming elections could mean a dramatic shift in U.S. climate policy, undoing many of Biden’s key environmental initiatives.

Maxine Joselow reports for The Washington Post.

Keep reading...Show less

NATO faces mounting challenges due to climate change

A NATO report reveals that climate change is increasingly complicating global security and NATO's operational capabilities.

Kiley Price reports for Inside Climate News.

Keep reading...Show less

GOP speakers criticize Biden's energy policies at convention

Several Republican National Convention speakers blamed President Biden's policies for rising gas and electricity prices, but experts attribute the increases to global market forces and other complex factors.

Brad Plumer and Lisa Friedman report for The New York Times.

Keep reading...Show less

Trump’s climate policy legacy has lasting effects at home and globally

Former President Trump’s environmental policies, including exiting the Paris Agreement and rolling back more than 100 regulations, continue to influence climate efforts both in the U.S. and internationally.

Marianne Lavelle reports for Inside Climate News.

Keep reading...Show less
From our Newsroom
carbon capture

30 environmental advocacy groups ask PA governor to veto carbon capture bill

“Putting resources toward carbon capture and storage instead of renewable energy is wasting time we don’t have.”

climate justice

Op-ed: Farmers of color need climate action now. The farm bill is our best hope.

Farmers of color who are leading the charge for regenerative farming, as they have done for generations, need our support now more than ever.

WATCH: Enduring the “endless” expansion of the nation’s petrochemical corridor

WATCH: Enduring the “endless” expansion of the nation’s petrochemical corridor

As mounds of dredged material from the Houston Ship Channel dot their neighborhoods, residents are left without answers as to what dangers could be lurking.

US Steel pollution

Nippon Steel shareholders demand environmental accountability in light of pending U.S. Steel acquisition

“It’s a little ironic that they’re coming to the U.S. and buying a company facing all the same problems they’re facing in Japan.”

Another chemical recycling plant closure offers ‘flashing red light’ to nascent industry

Another chemical recycling plant closure offers ‘flashing red light’ to nascent industry

Fulcrum BioFuels’ shuttered “sustainable aviation fuel” plant is the latest facility to run into technical and financial challenges.

Stay informed: sign up for The Daily Climate newsletter
Top news on climate impacts, solutions, politics, drivers. Delivered to your inbox week days.