Jimmy BP Posts / Social Issues

Disappearing Dirty Data and Fears For The Future

Guest blog: @happyboypricey (Jimmy Brades-Price)

A man carries an inflatable earth balloon along West 72nd Street during the People's Climate March in New York

After reading this Wired article earlier this week I felt like jotting down a few words somewhere. I am no doubt shouting into the void but alas my narcissism knows no bounds.

Behind the tweet rants and last week’s pretty indecipherable press conference is the cold harsh reality that the US Government will now be aggressively pursuing an agenda to further the profits of fossil fuel companies. Don’t be distracted by the flailing arms and celebrity insults. The current UK and US Governments are looking to dig up as much dirty energy as possible whilst burying any data that will provide evidence that doing so will do us and our environment extreme harm.

Destroying empirical data that documents the destruction of our habitat is not new and in a perverse way it stands to reason that if you are in a position of power and stand to gain from the use of fossil fuels then you will look to hide the impact that these have on the population at large. Individuals are prone to coercion, corruption and intimidation, and companies like ExxonMobil have the power and money to corrupt, coerce and intimidate entire countries. But this shouldn’t excuse these actions. The destruction of knowledge is an act of oppression. We can throw around buzz phrases like “Post Truth Society” and “The Digital Echo Chamber” but this shouldn’t distract from the fact that if a Government openly destroys scientific evidence then it should be held to account for it’s actions. If a basic ethical code can’t hold politicians to account then laws should be drafted to protect this information and the punishment for breaking these laws should be severe. The silencing of the scientific community will lead to humanities destruction. Green energy solutions are coming on leaps and bounds but big business and cronyism is suppressing its potential.

It is important to remember that in the last decade the US and UK Governments have granted their security agencies excessive surveillance powers. These Governments now have the apparatus to spy on all citizens regardless of whether they have committed a crime. When Edward Snowden had the courage to reveal the extent of these spying powers it was shocking. This shock was compounded by the indifferent response from the public. The threat of terrorist extremism has numbed us to the threat of our own Government if it is given too much power without accountability. Environmental campaigners have long known that fighting big business can lead to Government intervention, spying and vilification, but in my lifetime the tools of oppression have never been quite as sharp as they are today. Scary times indeed.

The important thing to remember here is that the facts still exist. Ensuring that facts are universally known is becoming increasingly challenging in the digital age. But as Mulder and Scully regularly proclaimed in the 90’s, “The Truth is Out There”. Taking advice on truth from fictional conspiracy theorists might be a little suspect but the sentiment stands. The truth IS out there. We just need to make sure it isn’t hidden from us by those who stand to gain from hiding it.

[written 20th Jan 2017]

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