The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of recently reported ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: Why Destroying Beauty and Vandalism in General Defeats the Purpose of Preserving Our Beautiful World
Dear Diary. I’ve noticed a tendency across Great Britain of climate protesters getting louder with their crowds via organizations like Extinction Rebellion getting larger, which is a great thing. I just wish that we would see protests like these across all of the United States, not just in large cities in liberal parts of this country. There are some disturbing signs from across the pond, though.
Today there is news that a couple of young protesters from Just Stop Oil tried to vandalize (or at least give the appearance of destroying) Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting, which is one of the most beautiful pieces of art in existence. Doing so was to garner attention even if the protesters knew they would not harm the painting by their actions. I happen to be a big fan of Van Gogh and his art. I ask, what’s the use of destroying beauty to preserve beauty? Does vandalism serve our cause well? Being the adult grumpy grandpa in the room, of course not!
Young protesters need to learn a thing or two from my generation and those a little older who were part of Martin Luther King’s civil disobedience movement. Large peaceful protests were quite successful from the 1950s through the 1970s for change.
I do get it, though. We have about run out of time for substantial change with a rough deadline of about 2030 to stop enough emissions in order to prevent vital tipping points from occurring:
In the end, it is voters across democratic countries like Great Britain and the United States who will vote for any substantial environmental changes. Of course, protests will grow larger as ramifications from a warming world get worse, but violence and vandalism will turn many voters off towards our cause.
Let’s look back at the awful year of 1968 to see why. That year Martin Luther King Jr. and the Democrats very young promising candidate, Robert F. Kennedy, were assassinated. U.S. cities were burning from violent racial protests. Violent political protests occurred in Chicago where the Democratic Convention took place. The end result of all of this? Most of the public became fed up with mayhem, electing Republican Richard Nixon to the presidency, who ran a “keep order” campaign.
The end result, the United States had a period from 1969-1977 of the continuation of the Vietnam War, Watergate, and high inflation. Nixon was a lot more liberal than most of today’s conservative Republicans since he at least helped to craft and pass the Clean Air Act. So, do we want today’s “police state keep order” fascistic, pro fossil fuel loving Republicans to come to power after the 2024 election due to widespread vandalism and violence from environmentalists? Of course not. Let’s get our voices out there in large peaceful parades for change, not our fists.
Here is today’s Washington Post report on the Van Gogh vandalism:
Throwing tomato soup on Van Gogh: Why climate protests are getting weirder
As the planet warms, activists are getting desperate — and their tactics are getting strange.
October 14, 2022
Just after 11 a.m. on Friday morning, two young climate protestors entered a room in the National Gallery in London containing one of Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous paintings: “Sunflowers.” They opened two cans of Heinz tomato soup, flung them on the painting, then glued their hands to the wall.
“What is worth more, art or life?” one of the protestors shouted shouted, her hand glued to the wall behind her. “Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting, or the protection of our planet?” The activist group Just Stop Oil said the protesters were members of their group, which aims to stop U.K. oil and gas projects.
It was a bizarre moment — but it was also only the latest in a series of climate protests that have targeted museums and art galleries around the world. In July, protestors glued themselves to John Constable’s “The Hay Wain,” after pasting their own “apocalyptic” vision of the future over the painting’s surface. That same month, an Italian climate group known as Ultima Generazione glued themselves to a painting by Sandro Botticelli at the Uffizi museum in Florence. Similar actions have also taken place in Australia.
“Sunflowers” — like the other paintings targeted by activists so far — is fine. The shock of seeing tomato soup hit the painting — which probably helped propel the video of the protest to viral status — is tempered by the fact that, like most museum paintings, “Sunflowers” was protected by glass. “There is some minor damage to the frame, but the painting is unharmed,” the National Gallery said in a statement. As of late afternoon U.K. time on Friday, the painting had been put back on display.
But the climate art stunt was still a strange form of protest, one that seemed more likely to alienate people. Online, many people reacted in disgust and anger; some joked that the protestors were targeting “Sunflowers” merely because it was an “oil painting.”
But it aligns with a growing number of climate protests in recent years that have disrupted normal life in increasingly unexpected ways.
Several years ago, activists from the climate group Extinction Rebellion climbed on the roof of a commuter train in London, preventing people from getting to work and causing a scuffle between commuters and protestors. Last week, climate protestors blocked freeways in the Washington D.C. area to push President Biden to declare a “climate emergency.” Another group, known as the “Tyre Extinguishers” has been letting the air out of SUV tires across the United Kingdom and in New York City, arguing that the vehicles use more gas and are harmful to pedestrians and cyclists.
Dana Fisher, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland who studies protest movements, says that such developments are a form of “tactical innovation,” in which protestors try new strategies to get increased media attention. The media gets accustomed to particular types of activism; a march or a sit-in that once commanded attention soon gets written off as old news. Climate protestors, Fisher explained, started by gluing themselves to art works, which initially made a small news splash. Now that attention for that has cooled down, they have moved on to at least the appearance of defacing artworks, in an attempt to attract more eyes.
The action in the National Gallery did make prominent headlines across U.K. newspapers and around Europe; by late afternoon, one video of the incident on YouTube had been viewed 13.3 million times. At least to the activists involved, the fact that the protest had gone viral was probably viewed as a success. The climate issue — which at times is buried by geopolitical, economic, and celebrity news — was back in headlines once again.
But as tactics escalate, protestors also risk turning off people who may otherwise be sympathetic to their cause. “Research shows that this kind of tactic doesn’t work to change minds and hearts,” Fisher said. Someone prevented from commuting to work — or someone who believes that irreplaceable artworks are being harmed — might be turned off by the climate movement for some time, if not permanently.
“It’s working to get attention,” Fisher said. “But to what end?”
Here are some “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks:
Here is some more September 2022 climatology:
Here is more climate and weather news from Friday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”