Teen Vogue pushes dangerous lies on environmental issues
April 6, 2023
There are times when the media are simply casually misleading. Then there are times when they are guilty of dangerous misinformation. Teen Vogue crosses this line with its reporting on environmental issues. This is dangerous, not just wrong.
A student-led class at UC Berkeley has since grown into a non-profit and a no doubt glorious career for the instigator, Sage Lenier. Life depends upon the environment that surrounds us. This is why it’s so important to get reporting on environmental issues correct. More, why it’s so dangerous to be telling the young something diametrically opposed to the truth.
The problem is in this, very short, quote:
“We start with consumerism as capitalism as climate change”
That’s entirely the wrong place to start. In fact, it’s the opposite of that truth.
Sure, it’s possible to make criticisms of consumerism. Perhaps we should be more concerned with our souls that the soles of our Air Jordans. Capitalism has its faults, unequal outcomes can be described as one of those, certainly. Climate change is a problem to be dealt with.
But running the three of them together is so hugely misleading as to simply be that wrong thing. Consumerism is the desire to be able to consume things. Hunger, the desire for more things, that lust for the pretty dress or the flash auto, these are not things specific to capitalism. They’re things humans are prey to, sure, but it’s not the surrounding form of economic organization that causes them. Any observation of the socialist societies that have existed will show that’s true.
Equally, climate change isn’t caused by capitalism. Those socialist societies had greater, much greater, climate warming emissions per unit of economy than the free market and capitalist ones do. Climate change isn’t, therefore, a capitalist problem, it’s a human one.
Then there’s where this all gets dangerous. So wrong as to be the opposite of the truth. Which is that capitalism is the cheap, lower climate change-producing, method of doing things. Think of resource use to sate that consumerist desire. To a capitalist resources are a cost. Spending on resources makes the capitalist sad because it reduces profits. So the capitalist economizes on resource use in order to maximize profits.
The capitalist uses less oil, less steel, less cotton, produces fewer emissions and devastates smaller amounts of the surrounding environment than all of the alternative economic systems – most especially those socialisms which have existed. It wasn’t the capitalists who killed the Aral Sea, after all, that was the communists.
Capitalism sates human cupidity with less climate change than all the other -isms ever tried, invented or even dreamed of. Telling people the opposite is to misinform, to peddle disinformation. And it’s to do so in a grossly dangerous way. Because when people try to solve those problems – climate change say – they’ll be doing the opposite of what is needed if they believe the opposite of the truth.
After all, Teen Vogue advertises itself as “Educating the influencers of the future.” Perhaps it should try educating them then, instead of just repeating the latest fashion coming out of Berkeley.