September 20, 2010
I consider myself to be a pretty economical and sensible guy when it comes to taking care of the world around me. I buy mostly pre-owned or electronic books, recycle when I can, and donate my old clothes and electronics to be enjoyed by others. What I have a hard time understanding is why so many people overlook the blatantly obvious symbolism behind much of the supposed climate change propaganda in the world today. While climate change belief is being pushed more and more as a religious movement, it’s no surprise that materials are being produced to appeal to someone’s theological ideals in an effort to convert them to believers. After all, a religiously fanatical climate activist is more likely to accept taxes on breathing if it comes with a promise of saving the planet.
While browsing through my local used book store yesterday, I came across a book titled ACME Action Plan. It caught my eye because of the nostalgic style cover and prominent display in the store. On the lower right-hand corner of the cover was the phrase, “From Provokateur ‘Mischief makes good!’” The term provocateur (correctly spelled) is often used to describe an agent hired to incite individuals to do something unethical or unlawful in order to change the opinion of the public.
Upon opening the book, you’re met with an explanation of who is behind it. It states, “It’s not a charity or government initiative and there’s no motivating wristband or celebrity endorsement.” The book was first printed in Great Britain in 2008 and is distributed through the official ACME Climate Action website and Amazon.
While scanning through the pages it isn’t hard to find some startling religious symbolism, comparing a compact fluorescent light set in a lamp adorned with “reduce, reuse, recycle” phrasing to a holy awakening. This scene takes place on a mock stained-glass window featuring two worshipers praying to the faint glow of the fluorescent light. This is, of course, ignoring the fact that CFLs have been linked to UV radiation and health problems, not to mention amounts of mercury that seep out in to landfills. In contrast, an LED based light might make a safer and more eco-friendly alternative.
The next page is made up like a board game describing the 7 steps of climate action. In the center of the board game is an image made to look like Buddha sitting between two windmills at the end of a winding path. This is clearly a reference to Buddhism’s Noble Eightfold Path, a fundamental part of Buddhist teachings. On the bottom of the game board is the statement, “From baby steps to grand strides, as your boots get bigger your carbon footprint gets smaller: The Way of Happiness is light in carbon.”
This book is full of postcards, flyers, bookmarks, and even cut-out pyramids aimed at turning the reader in to a mini climate cop citing those around them for their various climate crimes. One item in particular is an intergenerational report card encouraging you to test your family and friends on their eco-friendliness. You can send “troublesome politicians” an angry action letter or postcard as well as send out recruiting materials to convince others to help police their own neighborhoods.
Perhaps the oddest throw to religious iconography comes from the commercial promoting the book. A reference is made to ancient Egyptian pyramids built to honor the pharaohs which were thought of as living gods. The purpose behind bringing this obscure reference up in a commercial about climate action is worthy of a raised eyebrow or two.
ACME Climate Action is intended to encourage people to act on the supposed climate change crisis threatening our way of life. This book is intended to be taken apart and used to report, recruit and reintroduce the idea of climate change to as many people as possible. No matter what your stance or belief is in regard to global warming, the religious symbolism comparing light bulbs to holy revelations, recycling to commemorating Egyptian gods, and drinking tap water to enlightenment should at least cause even the most uneducated reader to question the motives behind this propaganda.