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The Forum > Article Comments > In praise of hypocrisy > Comments

In praise of hypocrisy : Comments

By Andrew Hamilton, published 14/5/2007

When we become personally involved, by saving water or by reducing our need for power, our attitudes change.

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...and then the pixies and fairies come out of the forest, wave their magic wands and tell us "all is well...there's no place like home!"

People only reacted against smoking once the link between smoking and human health became robust. Anthropogenic global warming has yet to attain the required robustness...maybe it will one day...but it has a long way to go.
Posted by alzo, Monday, 14 May 2007 10:52:07 AM
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Methinks Alzo forgets that many of the same PR people who were employed to deny the link between smoking and cancer are the very same people now employed to deny the link between human greenhouse pollution and global warming. (Reported on 4 Corners)

One of the anti-climate change myths they have planted is that of the 'climate change dollar' that is supposed to be a motivator behind the climate change 'conspiracy'. This ties in with the oft-repeated Howard/Rudd myth that renewable energy is simply too expensive.

Then we find out in the SMH about the $10 billion per year of corporate welfare Australia gives to fossil fuel industries who then pay the PR people mentioned above. If this were spent on renewables they would quickly outstrip coal and nuclear as affordable, clean and job generating.

I like Andrew Hamilton's and Ocar Wilde's view of hypocrisy although as I switch off my microwave between uses and pour a cup rinse onto the garden instead of down the sink I rationalise the individual ineffectiveness of this by thinking that if a million people do the same it makes a difference. But if a million people don't bother because they see themselves individuals with little impact, they not only deny their common humanity but collectively damage the life support system we all depend on.
Posted by Michael G., Monday, 14 May 2007 12:41:27 PM
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I think environmentalists are required to be "good" people in a way in which supporters of Howard and Bush are not. There is no doubt that conservationists don't always live up to the standards projected onto them but then we live in a world occupied by human beings not angels.

Speaking of occupation, why doesn't every supporter of the Iraq War, especially Bush and his little mate, go there and do some fighting? Show us how principled you are.
Posted by DavidJS, Monday, 14 May 2007 1:24:17 PM
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Michael G. methinks you're wasting your time pouring your rinse cup onto the garden. I poor mine down the sink and it ends up in the garden anyway.

I don't deal in conspiracy theories. I like to look at data. So far the data to link humans to climate change is not there. Yet we are not supposed to question the "undeniable".

I find it interesting that Andrew Hamilton is a lecturer in Theology and openly talks about "conversion" when he talks about changing the group think...
"If our conversion catches on.."
"Because conversion of mind and heart is a process..."

It seems appropriate somehow.
Posted by alzo, Monday, 14 May 2007 3:06:50 PM
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Andrew is right-personal change kick starts political change. Look at how the Howard Govt is sniffing the public groundswell of opinion and desperately looking to Green itself. Murdoch's conversion to the low carbon cause is amazing but very important, as the great mass of surburban voters consume his media at a TV /newspaper level and are the group that are going to be hardest to convince once oil/power markedly increase in cost due to alternative energies being the only choice as the consequences of global warming become impossible to ignore. The old sixties slogan of "The Personal is Political" should be used as a central tennent in the climate debate. Lets start by saving water and power and then progress to cars air travel(One loved dearly by the middle class), houses, etc. The churches have a major role to play and it is encouraging to see the new pope making some noises about equating the enviroment and God's creation.
Posted by pdev, Monday, 14 May 2007 3:25:08 PM
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Its interesting that one of the pieces that most clearly identifies the similarity between green ideology and religion is one that praises both.

I think the comparison is valid, but not for the favourable reasons the author implies. Rather, the hypocrisy he advocates represents religion at its worst smug, self-righteous, intolerant, hectoring, obsessive and more concerned with appearance than substance.

These attitudes actually impede good policy making on environmental issues, whether its water supply and management or greenhouse gas emissions.
Posted by Rhian, Monday, 14 May 2007 3:41:30 PM
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