Censoring Scientists and Ignorant Billionaires—The World will End in Three Years.
Ashley Seldon ’24
Early in April, concerned headlines reported the worldwide protests of scientists to raise awareness about the climate crisis. In the United States, four scientists in Los Angeles chained themselves to a JP Morgan building to protest the bank’s significant investments in fossil fuel projects. The frustration from the scientists comes at the release of the IPCC yearly report that said the window to end irreversible climate damage is closing rapidly. Once the planet’s overall temperature raises 1.5 degrees Celsius, there is little that people can do to handle the consequences. When scientists heard about the continuation of investing in fossil fuels, it felt like a slap in the face; they have been trying to warn people for decades of the environmental horrors to come. Out of their frustration, they began the movement #ScientistRebellion with demonstrations in Madrid, Berlin, and other cities. The Sierra Club reports, “According to the group, more than 1,000 scientists in 26 countries took part. Dozens were arrested.” It is scary that governments are already looking to censor scientists from spreading facts and data they have researched for a living. If people wonder why they haven’t heard about this, it does not come as a surprise. None of the major news stations like CNN, The Washington Post, or the New York Times covered the story, and it goes to show people will not stop brushing off environmental issues.
This story is even more concerning because it aligns perfectly with a recent Netflix movie titled Don’t Look Up, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie was created as a satire to poke fun at how America’s highly partisan government handled the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the actual film is about the dangers of a climate catastrophe where a meteorite is hurtling towards Earth. Throughout the movie, Lawrence and DiCaprio play scientists trying to push a joke of a government into action while facing the barriers of unresponsive media outlets and self-centered billionaires. They are consistently censored by the U.S. government, which tries to prevent fear from spreading when everyone should be scared out of their minds. A movie intended to be a comedy is slowly becoming the world’s reality as the media constantly puts news about the environment on the back burner, most likely because it makes people feel uncomfortable. However, government responses would be a lot stronger if everyone united and took an interest in the planet’s future. Something that seemed like it would only impact future generations is looking like the world will begin to feel the drastic implications of global warming in three years. As the Netflix movie showed, it is very hard for regular people to agree with each other about anything with all of the conspiracy theories, misinformation, and distractions from social media. In fact, if it came out tomorrow that the world only had three years remaining, the result would be a surge of memes on Twitter poking fun at the matter.
A big story in the news has been billionaire Elon Musk’s deal to purchase Twitter for $44 billion. While anything that Musk does makes headlines because he is a controversial and funny figure, it raises further awareness of how this sum of money could be better spent. One tweet from Stephen Semler penned, “The amount Elon Musk just paid for Twitter ($44 billion) is nearly equal to Biden’s proposed climate budget ($44.9 billion), in case anyone’s wondering how seriously we’re taking the climate crisis.” To put it into perspective, Musk boasts a whopping $264.6 billion-dollar net worth showing that this new business venture hardly puts a dent in his pockets and will probably make him more money. However, instead of doing something meaningful that could benefit the entire world and push people to take global warming seriously, Musk decided to invest in social media. After the deal, he tweeted a joke that he may purchase Coca-Cola so they can start putting cocaine back in the drink. The way he speaks shows the distance he is financially and emotionally separated from people with his billionaire status. While it is all one big joke, putting pressure on billionaires to help contribute to this issue would alleviate the burden on governments. As cynical as it sounds, the money would die with billionaires if the planet were to explode—so why not use what they can to help?