Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” As the high-pitched whining noise emanating from the climate change crowd increases to ever more ear drum splitting decibels, so does the parade of Hollywood stars trumpeting their spurious drivel of the now robotic doomsday mantra. In recent years, Hollywood A-Listers have made major appearances on the climate change stage, each time in a condescending, “I know everything and if you don’t agree with me you’re stupid” manner. Thank you for reminding us that we are all “bonkers.” Next time you come up with some crappy movie I’ll remember the contempt you showed us and I’ll just go and read a book instead.
Back in 2014, a string of celebrity climate change antics prompted me to do a re-cap of the year’s events, just for kicks and giggles. Since then, I’ve moved on to more serious journalistic matters. However, when the King of Climate Silly burst back onto the stage recently I was moved to revisit the issue.
I’m talking about none other than Leonardo DiCaprio who last month, chest puffed out and bursting with delusions of self-importance, waltzed into Trump Tower, where he was received by the President-Elect of the United States.
DiCaprio’s audience with Trump was meant to give a brief moment of hope to hysterical celebrity climate changers, who were all looking for a safe space to curl up in to escape the reality of Trump’s double-whammy cabinet nominations of Scott Pruitt and Rex Tillerson.
Pruitt, a leading climate change denier and fossil fuel industry ally, is Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil and avowed enemy of Greenpeace and its ilk, is headed to confirmation as Secretary of State.
Also present at the 90-minute meeting at Trump Tower was Trump’s climate change-friendly daughter, and right-hand woman, Ivanka. DiCaprio was accompanied by the head of his foundation, Terry Tamminen.
Reflecting his malignantly narcissistic hubris, Di Caprio presented the President-Elect with a copy of his recent documentary, “Before the Flood.” The self-acclaimed “riveting” film is an account of the “dramatic changes now occurring around the world due to climate change, as well as the actions we as individuals and as a society can take to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet.”
I’m sure Trump will go to great lengths to carve out two hours of his precious time to hunker down and watch this drivel. But then again, perhaps he might find himself in the mood for a good laugh.
So speaking of laughs, let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit the celebrity climate change antics of 2014, while the truth was putting on its shoes…
Harrison Ford: “Years of Living Dangerously”
In April 2014, the documentary “Years of Living Dangerously” (an obvious play on the Mel Gibson classic about the 1966 Indonesian communist unrest), made its debut on Showtime. The series was described as a “groundbreaking documentary that explores the human impact of climate change.” In episode one, Ford traveled to Indonesia, where he proceeded to trash the Indonesian government, in particular the Minister of Forestry, and jobs-providing, tax revenue-producing agri-businesses.
The centerpiece of his diatribe was a national park on the Sumatra archipelago, which he told viewers was seized from “indigenous peoples” by the dictatorship that was in power from the 1960s to the 1990s. “The companies then leveled the forests,” he said in a voice over as a bulldozer toppled a large tree. Ford did not get the facts right on this one since the forestry assets of the Indonesian state today were transferred to the state during independence from Dutch colonial rulers in 1949. Maybe Mr. Ford should have consulted Doctor H.W. “Indy” Jones for a history lesson prior to making such wild accusations.
Ford then said things seemed to take a turn for the better when the president declared a moratorium on the destruction of all natural forests. But then he doubled back and said, “The cutting and burning continued. It seems the president’s authority was limited. Perhaps there was too much money to be made.” Yes, Indy, it is called taxes to the state that benefit the people. Believe it or not.
Ford then linked up with activists from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and rode an elephant through the park. Activists attending the Hollywood star said he caused bewilderment when he cursed and swore at everything – a big no-no for culturally sensitive Indonesians – while riding his pachyderm. I guess the Elephas maximus, that would be the Asian elephant, was not too comfortable with being a Hollywood pawn.
Ford went on to discuss conflicts between local palm oil companies and the elephants with his WWF guide and asked what happens to the elephants. The WWF guide, without missing a beat, matter-of-factly replied, “They poison them.” Talk about a perfect Hollywood production. Bang. Spot on. Well done. No evidence to support such a scathing accusation was ever presented by the WWF activist or Ford. But again, today allegations by Hollywood stars replace facts since this suits their politics a lot better. I guess I am now lacing my shoes.
Ford then launched a verbal attack against the Indonesian Minister of Forestry for doing nothing about the national park and in the following episode confronted the Minister so disrespectfully that it caused a diplomatic row with the Indonesian government. The row was so severe that the Indonesian government threatened to kick Ford back to the United States, ratings be damned. The Conservation International officio, however, had his 15 minutes of fame and the funding provided by some of the richest industrialists in the United States was well spent. Bravo on that one. This proves that after all this is just about the dough.
What is missing from this story, however, are two very inconvenient truths.
Truth Number 1: Tesso Nilo National Park was established in 2004 in large part with concession areas donated by large agri-businesses. The park originally covered about 35,000 hectares. Some five years later, this area was expanded to about 80,000 hectares with the support of industry and no, it wasn’t Asian Pulp and Paper.
Truth Number 2: The Indonesian government established the national park in a process involving donor organizations, NGOs, private companies, and representatives from local communities. However, the implementation method lacked effectiveness and sustainability, as the local population did not play a significant role in the establishment of the park. The day-to-day care of the national park was entrusted to WWF, whose inept mismanagement was so abysmal that strong evidence indicates at least two thirds of the park’s overall land area has become seriously degraded since the inception of the project. The situation is now so precarious that the Minister of Forestry, before Ford launched his diplomatically disastrous rant against him, threatened to review the performance of WWF and other foreign enviro-NGOs.
I am sure Dr. Jones knew about this fact as well, though it didn’t fit into the script. Most stunning are the publicly available documents that show WWF and the global enviro-action community now use the national park as a lever for seeking to negotiate concessions from private companies, including the one that donated most of the land in the first place! Being the thorough researcher he is, I’m sure Dr. Jones knew this too. But it didn’t fit into the script either.
I’m sorry Mr. Ford, but I must give you two thumbs-down on this one. Despite the Clear and Present Danger you predict, the “danger” at the national park is not so clear and present.
Emma Thompson: Mid-Life Crisis in the Arctic
In August 2014, renowned Royal Shakespeare Company and two-time Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson hopped aboard the Greenpeace vessel Esperanza with her daughter Gaia (“Mother Earth,” ugh!) for a tour of the “melting” Arctic ice caps (despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the polar ice caps are actually expanding). What emerged from her voyage was a 10-minute video in which she made goo-goo eyes at a polar bear (who didn’t look like his habitat was melting away) and shared her joy that the cold Arctic weather soothed her menopausal hot flashes. In the end, the video was laughingly counterintuitive to the thesis it was originally meant to support.
But Miss Thompson wasn’t finished regaling us her with her wisdom. On September 21, 2014 she made a prominent appearance at London’s version of the worldwide “People’s Climate March,” where she gleefully regurgitated the usual claim that 97% of climatologists have reached consensus about climate change. This popular fiction is spouted by enviro-liberals the world over, even though the claim was solidly debunked in a September 8, 2014 report by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. She also said that anyone who doesn’t follow this mantra is “bonkers.”
It was the infamous Dr. Goebbels, a person that Dr. Jones would have actually known if Harrison Ford had consulted him, who said “when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it…. Keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.” In other words, it is possible to get people to believe just about any lie if it is repeated loudly and often enough. It is extremely unsettling to see such a talented, gifted woman as Miss Thompson adopting such a nefarious character’s modus operandi in her misguided attempts to manipulate public policy.
Minor point of the trip… I think if I remember correctly that it was designed to prove that the ice was shrinking. In that regard the trip was a fiasco. Not because there was no ice around but because the Green Navy actually got stuck in the Arctic ice. But never mind; I now have my shoes laced and am gently walk down the road chasing some more lies. But at least Emma Thompson was funnier than Harrison Ford. So, one thumbs-up for trying.
Leonardo DiCaprio: “I Pretend for a Living”
Anti-Tar Sands activist and five-time Oscar nominee Leonardo DiCaprio was the top-billed performer at the United Nations Climate Summit on September 23, 2014. Playing into the hands of those of us who wonder if these activist-actors really believe the blather they spout, Mr. DiCaprio said, “As an actor, I pretend for a living. I play fictitious characters often solving fictitious problems.” This begs the question, is Mr. DiCaprio merely acting when he puts on his climatologist PhD hat?…not to mention his cloaking of himself in the garb of an international statesman through the use of the United Nations podium as a venue for his act.
DiCaprio is known for being a philanthropist for good causes. He has given millions of his box office profits to a tiger initiative with WWF. But WWF almost fumbled the project since the designated area was part of a concession owned by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). APP, I must point out, is a recently converted forest destroyer who found enlightenment in the Green religion preached by Greenpeace. Activists in-the-know said that the Asian family-owned oligarchy negotiated a truce with WWF to get the group off its back since WWF was the only enviro-NGO left standing that was not praising the rebirth of what Greenpeace called, “the worst forest destroyer on the planet.” So DiCaprio calmed his conscious by donating to WWF; WWF got the money to play with; and APP got a deal to shut up WWF. Looks like it was a win-win for everybody.
But in reality, although the tigers got some dough, it’s doubtful if it really will change anything since the actual number of tigers in the wild, according to Greenpeace, which contradicts itself in its own publication “License to Kill” (published on October 20, 2014), wrote, “As few as 400 Sumatran tigers are thought to remain in the wild.” But, in the footnote of this sentence Greenpeace states,
“Estimating tiger populations in dense forest and inaccessible landscapes is extremely difficult. The figure of 400 is based on Linkie et al (2008), citing Government of Indonesia (2007). It is possible that initial tiger numbers are higher than this, but the population decline resulting from habitat loss and other issues outlined in this report is acute.”
Lost to DiCaprio, Hollywood, and the rest are the facts. So, no thumbs-up for his performance at the UN. But I’ll give him one thumbs-up for his ponytail while partying in Nice or Bora-Bora or Miami. And yes, sir, you are indeed pretending. You are an actor.
As a post-script, we cannot forget the Greenpeace 2013 Christmas campaign starring B-Lister Jim Carter, Mr. Carson of “Downton Abbey,” who portrayed Jolly Old St. Nick as a down-and-out North Pole resident about to drown in his melting house. The campaign was meant to strike fear into the hearts of unsuspecting children and traumatize them into pressuring their parents to jump on board the climate change wagon in order to save Santa Claus. If that video wasn’t a low blow then I don’t know what is. As the science tells us, the REAL science, 2013 was a banner year for Arctic ice, while at the other end of the world (literally) scientists in Antarctica recorded the coldest natural temperature on Earth.
That one bombed completely, Greenpeace. Sorry, not funny; rather crappy to be honest. Let’s just hope Jim Carter got paid.
Who Funds All This?
This is a very good question, as the money trail is not that straight forward. This is by design. The shadowy world of enviro-NGO finances was brought to light on July 30, 2014 when the minority members of the US Senate published a report on the funding of environmental NGOs. The report alluded to
“…an ‘elite’ group of liberal ‘millionaires and billionaires’ pumping money into an elaborate network of environmental groups to influence EPA policies, even using ‘shady’ donations from a foreign company to fund their efforts.”
Indeed, when a search for the source of the money is launched it often leads to a cold trail. We do know, however, that at least $400,000 of the funding for Harrison Ford’s Indonesia-trashing documentary was provided by the US-based Ford Foundation. But this is a drop in the bucket when compared to the literally billions of dollars that flow each year into the coffers of the cabal of enviro-activist organizations collectively known as the “Green Machine.”
And though this non-transparency is rampant, very few have dared to question it. One exception is Public Interest Watch (PIW), which, citing Greenpeace Fund’s publically available tax forms, alleged that in 2000 the organization passed all of the money it raised on to Greenpeace, Inc. in Washington DC, Greenpeace International, based in Amsterdam, and a few other affiliates. According to PIW’s complaint, Greenpeace Fund acted solely as a “shell corporation established for the purpose of enabling tax deductible contributions from big donors and from foundations to flow illegally to Greenpeace, Inc. and Greenpeace International.” This raises questions about the legality of such circular funding, which so far has evaded the attention of authorities.
Free Market Anarchy & Dark Wallets
Adding fuel to the fire, in 2014 Greenpeace USA announced that was accepting donations via bitcoin. Bitcoin is a digital currency, not backed by any government or central bank, which fluctuates in value according to its users’ demand. Users can transfer bitcoins to each other online and store the currency in digital “wallets.” Greenpeace is not the first US charity to accept donations via bitcoin. The venerable United Way, the largest privately held charity in the US, began accepting bitcoin donations in September 2014. But deserved or not, bitcoin has a questionable reputation, mainly due to the ability of users to maintain a level of anonymity.
Of particular concern to global financial watchdogs is a program called “Dark Wallet,” a bitcoin application designed to protect its users’ identities far more strongly than the partial privacy protections bitcoin offers in its current form. “Dark Wallet” seeks to enable practically untraceable flows of money online that add new fuel to the Web’s burgeoning black markets. Dark Wallet was conceived by Cody Wilson and Amir Taaki. Wilson first gained notoriety by creating the world’s first entirely 3D-printed gun. Taaki is an Iranian-British free-market anarchist who bitcoin is embarrassed to even acknowledge.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the potential for further obscuring the origin of donor funding to groups like Greenpeace with anonymous funding vehicles such as bitcoin and “Dark Wallet.” With the advent of the Internet and more creative ways to funnel money, the enviro-activist milieu has become a Wild West of shady money and shady ideas with one goal in mind: Power and control.
Enviro-activists have no interest in solving the climate change problem. If they did, there is plenty of REAL science out there to help achieve this. No, what they really want is to subjugate the rest of us to their social engineering scheme by imposing burdensome regulations, higher taxes, cap and trade policies, prohibitions and restrictions on the use of private property, and the manipulation of free commerce. While their finances may not be transparent, their Hollywood promoted political agenda very much is.