Dr. Alan K. Betts
Green energy businesses in the Northeast all understand that trust is central to developing and deploying new technology. Trust depends on honest, truthful and clear explanations to the public. The climate crisis requires a long transition of more than a decade.
The COVID crisis has clearly shown how trust is central to public communication. Vermont was the first state to reach the key 80% vaccination coverage for those over age 12. Governor Scott and Health Commissioner Dr. Levine and staff held weekly on-air press conferences, explaining how to manage COVID, encouraging vaccination, and outlining the steady progress towards re-opening the state. With public questioning by reporters, it was clear that the Governor and his staff were telling the truth and could be trusted.
I am stressing this because the critical value of the truth has faded during the last five years, as the webs of lies in the public arena have grown. The Fact Checker web site lists over 30,000 false or misleading claims made by the recent ex-president during his four years in office. Of course, politicians have long misrepresented the truth to justify their political agendas and please their financial sponsors – but never on this scale. Even after he was defeated in the recent election, Trump and his supporters have continued to spread lies.
Finally, the Big Lie arrived, the opposite of the truth that Trump lost the election by a large margin. The bizarre aspect is that this term was coined by Adolf Hitler in his book Mein Kampf (1925) to describe the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” Trump loves big lies, so this fits him very well. He can pretend to believe in his personal Big Lie that he won the election, even though he lost. Then I realized he chose Hitler as his hero because he admires him as a dictator who used these lies to destroy democracy. Remarkably, most of the Republican Party (but not the Republican Governor of Vermont!) have abandoned the U.S. Constitution to join him in following Hitler as the party of the Big Liers. Now many Republican states are using lies about election integrity to pass bills that restrict voting by citizens whom they fear might vote for Democrats.
The web sites of lies about the vaccines for COVID-19 are another disaster for America. Trump was responsible for the deaths of a quarter of a million or more people from COVID by lying about its severity, and the need for testing and protective strategies such as wearing masks. Now web sites run by mostly Trump supporters are lying about the vaccines and encouraging others not to be immunized. This will prevent the country from recovering quickly from COVID. Tragically some of his own supporters who are trapped in this sticky web of lies are now suffering most from ongoing COVID infections.
So, take a deep breath and join the real living world of summer. The direct teaching of the indigenous Aramaic leader Yeshua (known to us as Jesus) was crystal clear: “Step with me into the living world of the Creation and ye shall see the Truth and the Truth will set you free.” This is about joining with the Creation, not proclaiming human power over nature. This was and still is heresy to human power. Jesus was crucified and the early Christians were persecuted for centuries for not obeying human power and authority. But in 325AD the Roman Emperor Constantine (whose wife had converted to Christianity) summoned the Christian bishops to the Council of Nicaea and offered them a clever deal. Persecution will end if you destroy the holistic Aramaic gospels and drop the fundamental truth about joining with the living Earth system. Rewrite Christianity as a basic creed. The Roman Church was created based on human and Imperial power, but not the Truth that sets you free.
The misuse of human power in relation to the Earth has continued and evolved for 1700 years (see Climate Change and Society at alanbetts.com). Today we have a real vivid choice. We must either accept the Truth that sets us free, or the many evil webs of lies that trap us in a desperate effort to destroy society.
As your summer vegetables grow, see the living truth grow in the sunshine and warm your heart. This spring we had a huge crop of spinach and lettuce that overwintered under glass. The winter climate has warmed a lot over the last ten years (as the Arctic is melting), and the broccoli planted in April are ready for harvesting. I chuckle because the warming Earth is ignoring the 139 politicians that have been bribed by the Fossil Empire to deny climate change. While these politicians choke on their webs of lies, every head of broccoli and bunch of peas that we grow is a reminder that the Truth is free, and tastes so good.
Many find it hard to face both truth and freedom, so the way forward for America seems fuzzy. Fortunately, the Earth backs the Truth every time, and humanity has so little power unless we back the Earth. Remember that trust, truth and freedom cannot be separated.
Dr. Alan Betts of Atmospheric Research in Pittsford, VT is a climate scientist: see alanbetts.com.