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Discussion > Tara, ageism and a climate of kindness

Josh met Tara and, despite her ageism in general, she obviously warmed to him. I'm offering as a explanation that he's a kindly dude - and of course a very witty one, responding to her ageist remark about baldness and scepticism with a brilliant cartoon.

But was he too kind to this twenty-something? I think that raises some extraordinarily important questions. Like could one have been too kind to a member of the Hitler Youth? What was kindness in that case? Think of a young man marching proudly in that unit, then dying in agony at Stalingrad only a few years later. What would have constituted kindness to him? With the benefit of hindsight. And doesn't that make the question, though difficult, far easier? Where's hindsight when we really need it, for Tara?

I'm not equating the two cases. It's an extreme edge case, to make us think.

The other thing that Josh's brilliant - though possibly flawed, in that he showed too much kindness - contribution at once brought to mind is my experience on 24th February 2011 at Imperial College, surrounded by hundreds of twenty-somethings mocking us evil, yet strangely fuddy-duddy, deniers. It's easy to remember the date, as it was my youngest daughter's birthday. She's now a twenty-something studying science at another college of London University. So careful how you go.

Anything at all can be discussed on this thread, as far as I'm concerned, apart from the quality of Josh's cartooning :)

Mar 10, 2013 at 12:09 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

The other thing that was I think overlooked by all those disagreeing with Josh on the other thread was Tara's passion (as Josh felt it) for the poor of the earth. That's exceedingly important. Please let's not overlook that here.

Mar 10, 2013 at 12:21 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard, you display just the same ageism you think you oppose.

And how can you seriously compare opponents with the Hitler Youth when you "skeptics" get so upset about being called deniers....

Mar 10, 2013 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

This is very interesting.

Here is a relevant link. Geoff Chambers has been taking a sympathetic look at young activists involved in climate lobbying in the UK: http://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/ukycc-tracking-down-the-poznan-ten/

Here is another: http://grist.org/climate-energy/the-children-why-a-generation-is-putting-itself-on-the-line-for-the-climate/

I am inclined to the view that these young people are largely victims. I recall being one myself in the early 1970s after watching Paul Ehrlich on television one evening at a guest house in Gloucestershire where I had come to take up my first job after leaving university. He scared me alright with his plausible, authoritative talk of imminent doom. Took me a couple years to shake off his nonsense, and I became more concerned with world poverty than with world population growth for example. So, I have some sympathy with these young people.

Mar 10, 2013 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

BitBucket: the key sentence you missed:

I'm not equating the two cases.

With that cleared up, let's get to work :)

Mar 10, 2013 at 12:39 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Well that's all right then. When I refer to denizens of the Hill here as deniers, I'm of course not equating them with Holocaust deniers either. Nice to have the word back in use...

Mar 10, 2013 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Ouch. Godwin's law Richard.

Mar 10, 2013 at 12:47 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

BB: I don't want to be diverted by the D-word - use it however you like and may your conscience never have cause to regret it. This is about how young people need kindness in order to radically change - but a special kind of kindness. A smarter critique would have been that even to mention the Hitler Youth wasn't kind, rendering the whole thing null and void. But all of this stuff has been in my mind and it's really important stuff. James Evans for example made a very helpful contribution yesterday on the maturity that was expected of young people during the Second World War. I also want if possible to bring that back into play here, with an apology to James that I didn't read it until after our spat about other things.

Mar 10, 2013 at 12:56 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Paul: I have never accepted Godwin's Law. I have though just played to BB what I think would be a smart way to try and shut down this thread. Not that I think it should be shut down. We need to get beyond Godwin and out of our comfort zone, just as I felt at Imperial in February 2011. It was truly uncomfortable to sense something like mass hysteria in that room - and in a few others. But, despite all that, in fact hugely because of it, I remain highly supportive of Josh's instincts in this case. Go figure. That's what I'm trying to do.

Mar 10, 2013 at 1:04 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Where's hindsight when we really need it?
Brilliant. Is it original? And I agree about ignoring Godwin’s Law. Ideologies are like - fundaments - everyone’s got one, but no-one can see their own. Which is why it can sometimes be useful to compare an ideology like environmentalism with one that everyone agrees on.
I posted the following at the Oxford thread before being redirected here:
I did some research on young greens like Tara in the UK Youth Climate Coalition, finding out what happened to them after they’d been groomed by WWF and sent to Copenhagen, Rio etc on taxpayers’ money funnelled vie the EU.
http://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/ukycc-tracking-down-the-poznan-ten/
Like Josh I fell under their charm. Some were studying stuff like Global Health Science and are likely to become more useful members of society than I’ve ever been. One’s working in Beirut.
None of them commented, but I got 500 hits via Facebook, so someone was taking notice.
It’s not enough to think about long term effects of climate change. We should also be thinking about what happens to a society when the best of the younger generation get syphoned off into campaigning for some completely illusory cause.

Mar 10, 2013 at 1:18 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

It was original. The other good news is that I'm going off for a long walk and anyone can say anything they like in my absence. No reply doesn't mean I don't love you. :)

Mar 10, 2013 at 1:22 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I read more posts on Tara's blog. It is hopeless. A lot of our young ones are lost to the green cause.

From what I can see, her blog had gotten a host of comments, mostly from readers here. How many of them have appeared? None.

Maybe when I first commented, I saw a picture of her pretty face, and thought her much younger than she actually is (a compliment there). I'm not feeling very generous after the censorship and the further reading.

Have a corner in your heart for the humans, ye greenies, they belong to Mother Nature too.

Mar 10, 2013 at 1:57 PM | Registered Commentershub

Second attempt on the right thread this time..

What Tara has in common with the HJ member is that they are both mere foot-soldiers. Cannon Fodder. Though we may regret their naivete, our battle is not with them. We have to concentrate on the adults, the high command. The scientists who cheat and manipulate to advocate their view. Those who claim certainty where none exists. Tara, and BB for that matter, are not important.

Mar 10, 2013 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

Tara is just another example of the idiot activist masquerading as a journalist.

No actual scientific ability, nor any investigative journalisitic endeavour, but plenty of opinion.

Relating that to the terms that Richard used to initiate this discussion:

Challenging her to test and justify her own position is a kindness - she might engage with learning something and the general populace might benefit from a more informed debate.

And the likes of Ward, Revkin, Monbiot, Harrabin, Black et al show it is not an age related issue.

Mar 10, 2013 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Next to the "like" shub posted on Tara's site is a "like" from Claire Morris:-

"Hi! I'm Claire, a Physics graduate, studying Wind Energy at Strathclyde University. At the moment I am on a study break to recollect and regain perspective on the global situation of Climate Change. I attended the UNFCCC COP17/CMP7 in Durban, with young people of faith to build a movement to bring real, lasting, sustainable change in the world, to make it a more equal just place for all. I am now engaging primarily in outreach and activism for 2012"

http://climatejam.wordpress.com/

Who wants boring wind energy when you can party in Durban.

Mar 10, 2013 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

"Who wants boring wind energy when you can party in Durban"

Quite - don't let trivia such as reality intrude on a good time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi3erdgVVTw

http://www.dhmo.org/

Mar 10, 2013 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Paul Matthews, Godwin's Law (which I'd never heard of until now), seems to be stated as "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1". Seems to me he meant somewhat later than the 2nd paragraph of the opening statement!

Richard, why would I want to shut down the thread. As I've said before, I just like a good argument so how would shutting down the thread serve me?

Rhoda, that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me...

Mar 10, 2013 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

I don' see why Tara and her ilk need kindness. Tara's probably been smothered with kindness all her life by her 'adorning' parents, telling her how wonderful is everything she does (such as leaving university without a degree - all that stuff to learn, taught by boring, baliding men). I will, however, say that Tara and her ilk should be treated with coutesy, provided they return the favour.

Mar 10, 2013 at 5:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Cannon Fodder.
Mar 10, 2013 at 2:24 PM Rhoda

"...the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend suffered a total of 8,569 casualties out of a strength of 20,540 men; a casualty rate of 42%."

Mar 10, 2013 at 6:05 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

@Capell
I think you got that right. Many young people, and I'm not sure it hasn't always been that way, have never met adversity and criticism until they start working. If they are in the fortunate position that Tara seems to be in then it is, to them, unbelievable that there are people who don't beleive the same as her and worse still are critical of her and her views.

When you're young it is very easy to dismiss silly old biddies and grumpy old men. Nothing like a bit of politeness and courtesy to wrong foot them. Once they insult you however no need to argue/discuss any more.

I bet she never imagined speaking to Josh would have this knock-on effect though:)

Mar 10, 2013 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

It’ll be a bit of an eye opener, all this attention. Most environmentalists are used to acting under the vaguely benevolent gaze of the public. ‘Yeah stick it to the multinationals, money hungry sods!’ But that’s usually as far as the interaction goes. They can’t understand that ordinary people might naturally disagree with their twisted vision of the future. I think that vision is something like Avatar but with a choice of body colours. There’d certainly be nothing as mundane as frozen plumbing, unemployment and pot holes. The vision also seems to markedly short of people.

Should we be nice to Tara? I think we should be polite and not expect too much. People like her can change eg Mark Lynas is growing up. Slowly. I do think it’s time we stopped letting them get away with thinking they’re doing everyone a favour.

If the likes of Tara got their way, the planet would a pristine wilderness with the global population squished into bleak cities, well out of the way, slowly starving to death. The only consolation would be that the bulk of us would all be equally ‘wealthy’

Mar 10, 2013 at 7:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Has anyone told Tara about this thread?

For an insight into the Tara mentality, have a look at posts at ukycc.org
This is Louisa, their Publicity Officer:

“I spent last weekend strategising and learning United Nations policy acronyms with UKYCC’s delegation to the UN climate change summit.. I made friends with   some inspring, hilarious and smart young people, we ate lots of biscuits and as a team we told stories, learnt from each other, and made a human pyramid. .. As a climate change activist, you might be surprised that even I struggled to concentrate through all of a recent lecture ... particularly through phrases like ‘anthropogenic greenhouse warming’... By breaking it down into simple language, I didn’t feel stupid for not having looked in a science textbook for 5 years, and I could start to actually engage with the issues being discussed – rather than just daydreaming about tropical beaches…”

Mar 10, 2013 at 8:11 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

oooh -look who is leading all these nice young folk astray at People and Planet

http://peopleandplanet.org/aboutus/patron

George Monbiot

(Tara is activism and events intern - at People and PLanet
what a small green social network the inhabit)

Mar 10, 2013 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Willing to eat biscuits, but no human pyramid even for the sceptic cause.

Mar 10, 2013 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

LOL Rhoda!

Mar 10, 2013 at 9:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2