A new report details a growing fad among a certain sect of conspiracy-minded health and lifestyle influencers on Instagram: climate denial
The whole idea that our society has produced "influencers", people who contribute nothing of substance to anyone's life beyond telling them what to do, just blows my mind. People don't want to think, yet at the same time they want someone to confirm the views that they already have. Influencers fill that void, I guess. It's one more checkmark in the negative column for social media.
I'm curious if it would be helpful to counter the narrative on these influencer posts, with comments such as "Denying science is not mental wellness. Solutions reporting helps combat climate anxiety," or if it just feeds the social media monster 😅 It's hard to have the self-restraint to not engage with blatant misinformation.
Naomi Klein discusses the wellness conspiracy industry towards the end of her book Doppelganger.
In a visit to Kom-Ombo Temple along the Nile River in Egypt, I was struck by a description of the "Holy of Holies" room in the back of the temple. Kom-Ombo is a dual temple: half of it is dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek; the other half to Horus, the falcon god. In the back, there is one sunken room that straddles the two inner chambers. This room was only accessible by the "basement," so only the keepers of the temple could get in there. The room was fairly large, with solid walls that echoed the voices of the priests inside. Consequently, visitors to the temple heard "the voice of god." This voice convinced the workers of ancient Egypt to contribute a significant portion of their earnings to the construction & maintenance of these gigantic temples, and of course the luxurious lifestyles of the priests who tended them.
This business of religion, spirituality, wellness, etc., has taken many forms through the years, but it's all about money & power. And it is always accompanied by an appeal to ignore the reality we see around us. As we know, Galileo was nearly executed by the religious leaders of his day because he based his conclusions on scientific fact rather than religious superstition.
There is nothing the religious/self-help gurus despise more than science. Science has to answer to its peers; religion, conspiracy theories and "self-help" philosophies have no such requirement. They can say anything they can get people to believe and make a profit on - and that's a wide target indeed. So it's no surprise at all that these self-proclaimed health gurus find common ground with the rest of the science-deniers. Just think how easy it is to convince people that a story that supports their preconceived notions is indisputably true, and how much ad revenue comes with a million followers.
I don't know if I agree with King. The question of why people believe stuff that you or I would just dismiss as absolute nonsense is probably impossible to answer.
I don't think these people are at a crossroads and a well developed climate message would push them to the correct path.
Thank you for covering this though, some of their reach is concerning honestly.
Thanks for introducing the term “conspirituality”.
I feel like this is a reminder that even "trusted" news sources may be prone to error and bias, let alone Instagram influencers.
These reports are so depressing. We are talking about, often, well-educated idiots! People without an ounce of skepticism in their thought processes. Also, is there any hint that the fossil fuel company is directly providing the denial talking points?
“We have to ask ourselves collectively: what is it providing that isn’t being delivered by the mainstream?” Well, as a long time interviewer for mostly elderly people on Medicare, the people that I talked to that believed in chemtrails, supplements that cured cancer, Trump, stolen elections, and cancer caused by vaccines were pretty much similar. They lacked an education that gave them critical thinking skills, and were more likely to listen to their friends then to read any information from a "government" source. If their friend down the block had a covid vaccine and then had cancer, the vaccine caused cancer. And old Alex Jones and other supplement hawkers had the perfect cure, didn't they? Not believing in climate change is the easiest way to deal with the supposed government agenda to control them. And of course oil companies would make sure that their message of friendly oil would be promoted.
There is no cure for those of us in society that turn to these solutions as long as profiteers sell disinformation, and as the world becomes more unlivable I expect more and more people to turn to the supplement hawkers for comfort.
This is so disheartening. Influencers are just following the money I suppose and some get paid directly to promote products. Perhaps these people are now getting paid by the fossil fuels industry.
Not long ago I was with an organic farmer and he pointed to the sky and the "chem-trails" left behind jets, supposedly part of some secret weather modification plan, not just water fog and ice. Some of these folks justifiably don't trust "the establishment," (his core issues being pesticides, industrial ag support, etc.) because of years of lack of progress. So even though many of the readers of Heated don't think "the establishment" is really doing what's needed to end GHG pollution and heating, these "wellness" types can feel it's now an "establishment" belief/policy, etc. And if they hear this from a trusted member/leader of their tribe, it's hard to debunk.
Joseph Mercola has been a vaccine denier, a conspiracy theorist, and a certifiable nutjob for decades. I can remember going around and around about vaccine safety 20 years ago, ffs. Them getting on the anti-climate change bandwagon doesn't surprise me, but it is dismaying. One can only feel badly for the next generation of poor deluded souls this crank is going to adversely affect. :(
Could some of this be the result of not teaching science in our schools?
Thank you, Very enlightening read. I wonder if you have researched climate denial from the point of view of far left ideology.