One of the largest issues I have focused on this semester and throughout this class has been broader than just climate change. I have been reading and focusing a lot on a small portion of the population’s ability to weave false narratives that impact the majority negatively. This was masterfully covered in the film we were shown, “Merchants of Doubt,” but it is also an issue that my dad and I have been discussing this past year. He is an attorney who in the 80’s was representing many different people in a class action lawsuit against the American Red Cross. This was when HIV/AIDS was first exploding across the United States. It was affecting a large portion of the lgbt community but according the media, the Reagan administration, right wing groups across the country, and most religious organizations, this was the only community this epidemic was affecting. They labeled it as a “Gay Plague,” or, “Gay Cancer.” This in fact is not only homophobic and disgusting but it also is factually untrue. During this time period, the American Red Cross neglected to screen incoming donated blood because this would be an endorsement of the opposing scientific viewpoint that this is in fact a blood born virus that can affect anyone, not just a gay person. As a result of this negligence, over the course of a couple years, millions of people were affected. We almost lost an entire generation of hemophiliacs and my father even represented three little girls who were triplets and upon birth needed a blood transfusion. They all contracted the disease and the oldest lived to be 12. This is not because the science indicating that this was more than an act of god to absolve the world of gays didn’t exist. It was a result of neglecting the science and sowing doubt in the general populace that the science was wrong until the problem got so bad, and affected enough straight people, that this issue was addressed.
We have seen the same unfortunate series of events unfold before us many times. When a large corporations interests are contradictory to the interests of the public and the reality of the world, we see them dump insane amounts of money into disorienting and confusing the public by attacking the science. This happened with Big Tobacco, this happened with Teflon, and this is currently happening with climate change.
It is undeniable that we would be better off as a species if we relied on renewable energy. Life expectancy would increase, we would provide thousands of jobs, and fundamentally change the world. There is only one loser in this scenario and that is the massive industry that’s income solely relies on renewable resources and the human consumption of them. Whether it is the huge beef industry or big oil, all these industries benefit from the discretization of the science community. On top of this, it seems to be the same small circle of “scientists” that are basically being paid exorbitant amounts of money to stand as an “expert,” on these issues that contradict the scientific community as a whole and represent a detriment to the public.
I’ve spent this semester opening my eyes to this reoccurring thread that is this issue. My dad even wants to figure out some sort of project we can do to expose this issue further but we aren’t sure what to do yet. The photos I am posting represent just a fraction of the issues affected by fake scientists.