My musings on cover-ups, propaganda and lies
I recently watched the HBO series Chernobyl. Basically the movie reflected the problems of a government that uses propaganda to cover up the mistakes caused by using technology without putting in investments for safety. One of the largest problems beyond the actual nuclear disaster was the time wasted by government officials who were trying to cover their asses or hide the truth, seemingly sourced in national pride and hubris. And to some extent clinging to beliefs in the face of facts and evidence, which forced scientists to fight propaganda politics to save lives and perhaps, the northern hemisphere.
On August 8th, there was another nuclear incident at a remote naval base in northwestern Russia’s Arkhangelsk region. At first it was reported that it was an accident from a nuclear test propulsion rocket engine. As scientists around the world examine the radioactive isotopes released by the accident (radiation has no boundaries), they are certain the isotopes came from a nuclear reactor core. Intelligence services are claiming that the Russians were actually trying to recover a nuclear test missile lost in the Barents Sea.
So, here is a government that cares most about national pride and is willing to put our world at risk to meet their ends. They are willing to lie and cover up nuclear incidents. It seems one of the leftovers from the Soviet government was a masterful system for propagandizing their own population and the rest of the world. Their meddling in democratic election processes has affected many nations including our own.
The current administration seems to be following the same playbook, consistently denying facts and promoting false ideas in the name of nationalism. This year at the G7 meeting, POTUS refused to attend the climate change meeting. Unlike the rest of the world, POTUS does not ‘believe’ the preponderance, convergence and consensus of evidence provided by the scientific community. There is actually a concerted effort by this administration to rid government of the researchers whose work directly contradicts the administration’s anti-environmental policies. Scientific review boards at the EPA were among the first to go followed by the dismantling of one of the premiere research groups on the planet at the USDA. EPA scientists were replaced by petro-chemical lobbyists and the important food security research from the USDA will just simply be ended. NASA was told to stop studying planet Earth and focus purely on space exploration. Even NOAA’s budget was cut.
It’s as if the administration cares less about reality than their own opinions about reality. And when the facts don’t align with their agenda, facts are suppressed. This is a dangerous and precarious position. It’s the perspective that led to the Chernobyl incident, the worst nuclear disaster in the history of mankind. And the peril, the fact that that core nearly blew up, which would have put the northern hemisphere into a nuclear winter, has not fully come out of the darkness that hid the truth. With a scientifically illiterate, reactionary POTUS ungrounded in facts, we could end up in similar peril at his whim. And the public may not even gain full understanding because it will first be covered up, then spun into a blame game, then buried in the next sensationalized media cycle. POTUS seems to be Teflon, keeping the rest of us on shifting sands losing focus from one insult to the next lie, while terrible policies continue to be enacted and enforced.
My main discussion focuses on climate change and this administrations woefully short-sighted environmental policies because this blog is about the environment. But the ethical challenges of the administration go well beyond impacting just the environment. The heart-less immigration policies are quite concerning. From separating families at the border to deporting deathly sick children, the mindset that some people are less than others is at the root of so many social justice issues and also at the root of environmental exploitation. If we value life, we must nurture and protect it, ALL OF IT. And yes, I’m going to get all corny, but we do live in relationship with all the other life on the planet- the web of life permeates earth. You can’t pluck out one part without sending a ripple throughout it.
Media is set up these days to distract us. Our materialistic comforts keep us focused on minutia. We mindlessly eat nutrition-less fast foods without a thought to the former living thing we are consuming. And the internet which could be an awesome tool for mankind has turned into a narcotic. I could go on and on. We’ve become domesticated, living like sheep while our world fills with our own crap.
World governments are becoming oligarchies and we need to wake up to that. Let’s start with voting for people that have humanistic values- such as creating nurturing space for all children, which includes a sustainable future. Really look at the people, learn about them, vote- let’s not be fooled again.