What I Learned From a Week of Responding to My Haters

When you write about the climate crisis, getting hate mail comes with the It shouldn’t, of course, but I’ve gotten used to it over the years. Mostly, I just brush off, though I’ll admit the occasional threats of bodily harm do get to me.

Curated via Twitter from Gizmodo’s twitter account….

But most surprisingly of all, many folks said they agreed with me on the need to get off fossil fuels, that the system was propped up by monopoly, that the political class had failed Americans, and that all communities needed to be part of a transition to a post-fossil fuel world. “Your bias is so blatant that it makes the rest of your content worthless,” one reader wrote to me in their first email. “If you want to be a bellyaching snowflake, then carry on.

Rather than ignore the stream, I wrote back to every email I could, including one with the subject line “You’re a fucking fool,” and the body that read, “Just saying dumbshit! Sent from my iPad. ” The experience actually taught me a lot and gave me a strange hope that the new climate movement’s focus squarely on justice and telling stories can win over people, including those in the heart of oil country.

The principles of the Green New Deal and the future the new climate movement is envisioning aren’t based on depriving individuals of what they like or need or making judgments of everyday people caught up in the system.

That meant this piece left the Earthersphere and the context it provides as a site that does analysis and is unafraid to call out oil companies on a decades-long campaign of climate denial, reaching the eyeballs of people who were perhaps just expecting some CNBC-type wrap-up.

Still, talking with people who at first seemed to fundamentally disagree with me about imagining a better, oil-free future made me realize how powerful the vision of something like the Green New Deal is, at least in a vacuum where Fox News isn’t playing in the background.

But both approaches sweep under the rug decades of misdeeds, from lying about the climate crisis to human rights abuses, to the fact that a tiny, tiny group of people have gotten wealthy off those strategies.

Many of the emails I got were angry about what I wrote, calling it biased. “I’ll put my money on you being a tree-hugging liberal that believes in the Green New Deal and has a couple of pet cats at home,” one email read. (Fact check: I only have one cat, but he is the size of two cats.

As you can perhaps tell by the screenshot above, many people were upset about a piece I wrote about Exxon, which was taken off the Down Jones Industrial Average after a 92-year run. It was… not well received by some.

I should add the caveat here that I realize full well I’m a white guy who can can push back on people and have a much better chance of people listening in good faith than someone who is a woman, nonbinary, or a person of color.

Speaking of the climate strikers in the streets, she notes they were from “generations who had grown up under neoliberalism’s vice grip struggled to picture something, anything, other than what they had always known. ” But the same may as well be true of Baby Boomers, the younger of whom came of age voting in an era where Ronald Regan and trickle-down economics, along with the idea of “starving the beast” (aka the government), had taken over the Republican Party.

Link to original article….

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