The Charge Of The Green Brigade: Guardian Hypes Celeb Climate Poetry

Posted on Sat 11/21/2015 by


AlatheiaLarsenpicture-459-1430232516By Alatheia Larsen ~

The Guardian’s latest installment of climate activism makes it seem more like a sad literary digest rather than a sad news outlet. And it brought in celebrities like actor James Franco (pictured) to help.

james francoIn March 2015, The Guardian first launched its anti-fossil fuel campaign called “Keep it in the Ground.” The campaign, which began with a petition to pressure the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation into divesting from fossil fuels, blatantly violated journalism ethical guidelines by advocating for one side of an issue.

Now, the Keep it in the Ground campaign is turning to celebrities and advocacy poetry to push its fearmongering even further. Because everyone knows excessive rhyming trumps science any day.

In reality, poetry’s weird analogies better mirror the uncertainty of climate science, rather than calling attention to a supposedly dire environmental crisis. “Last Snowman,” by Simon Armitage, rambles about “lime green tears” (whatever those are), and makes an off color joke about a snowman’s “pure stroke-victim” mouth. Then in “The Rhinoceros,” author Robert Minhinnick describes a woman who wears eyeshadow and smokes “harsh hashish.” World-changing words, to be sure – but all part of The Guardian’s climate change campaign.

Phase two of the Keep it in the Ground campaign launched in October, claiming “it is time for a new direction” focusing on the upcoming Paris climate talks that begin Nov. 30.

“Naturally, the journalistic focus now moves to the talks themselves. Which countries are the heroes and which the villains?” The Guardian dramatically asked in an article entitled, “A Story of Hope.

The advocacy campaign itself, however, is underwhelming.

One of the interactive installments of Keep it in the Ground, titled “Our Melting, Shifting, Liquid World,” features ten celebrities performing dramatic readings of 23 climate change poems, two written by celebrities themselves.

The poems all lament the supposed destruction of the world by climate change. “Still Life with Sea Pinks and High Tide” by Maura Dooley, for example, hypes melting ice around the world with these stirring words:

Our melting, shifting liquid world won’t wait
for manifesto or mandate, each
warning a reckoning.

The poem conveniently does not point out that the “melting, shifting, liquid” in the Antarctic is in fact freezing in record amounts. But this is poetry, not non-fiction.

Actress Kelly Macdonald (the voice of Merida in Pixar’s Brave) was graced with the opportunity to read “Extinction.” The poem dramatically predicts the annihilation of everything because of unaddressed climate change:

We shut it down! No immigrants, no immigrants.
No sniveling-recycling-global-warming nutters.
Little man, little woman, the world is a dangerous place.
Now, pour me a pint, dear. Get out of my fracking face.

Silly Guardian. Stop fracking activism. Start reporting news.

Franco tried his hand at writing some poetry himself. In his poem “I was Born into a World,” he  mused:

Fortunately for me
I’ll die before the earth,
But I’d like a place for my
Computer chip self
To click and beep
In bright, clean happiness.

Franco should probably stick to acting.

These celebrities can keep quoting poetry until they’re blue in the face, but that won’t change the fact that climate change is not settled science, no matter what The Guardian may want its readers to believe.

Alatheia Larsen contributes posts at the NewsBusters site where she is  a staff writer/research analyst for MRC Business.

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