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What’s Common to Greta Thunberg, Disha Ravi, Rupi Kaur? The Hypocrisy of the ‘Woke’

22-year-old Disha Ravi has been accused of sharing the farmer protests toolkit with Greta Thunberg | Image credit: File Photo/AP

22-year-old Disha Ravi has been accused of sharing the farmer protests toolkit with Greta Thunberg | Image credit: File Photo/AP

It turns out one doesn’t actually need to know anything about the ecology or India to be an ecological activist in India.

Wokeness is a disease—a disease vastly complicated by the phenomenon of intersectionality. If proof were needed, one only needs to look at the fix that “climate change activists” and Hollywood have gotten themselves into. Not that it matters that they’re making a fool of themselves, in fact that is the whole point—mediocrities would rather celebrate the public stupidity of the incurably stupid, than ponder over the nuanced argument of an expert that would anyway go over their heads. What is amazing is the sheer depth of the stupidity and the complete and utter hypocrisy.

Let’s start with the alleged climate activist Greta Thunberg. Her now infamous “how dare you” speech was a product of her sailing in an alleged “zero emission yacht” transatlantic since she refuses to fly, given the carbon footprint of air travel. It later emerged that a crew of 5 to 7 people had to be flown transatlantic in order to bring this alleged zero emission yacht back to Europe with the associated 5X to 7X increase in carbon emissions. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, she waded into the Indian farm imbroglio—supporting farmers who not only are responsible for some of the worst annual carbon emissions anywhere on earth through their crop burning, but also for significant health problems, including asthma and cancer.

Unsurprisingly, being at the heart of India’s ill-conceived green revolution, the so-called “agricultural miracle” of Punjab was based on a destruction of crop diversity and hence food security, rampant use of chemical fertilizers that have poisoned the soil, unsustainable irrigation practices that leave Punjab’s water table depleted in the next 10 to 15 years, and the unchecked growth of eucalyptus as a commercial crop that is known to play more havoc with water tables than any human intervention possibly could.

Amazingly her Indian colleague—Disha Ravi who has been posited as a “climate change activist”—seemed equally clueless about the environmental consequences of Punjab’s unsustainable farming practices. While one could excuse Greta, a foreigner, for being clueless about India, one would have expected an alleged local working in the climate sphere for a few years to be at least rudimentarily familiar with such problems? But no, turns out one doesn’t actually need to know anything about the ecology or India to be an ecological activist in India.

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What is amazing is that these ‘ecocidaire’ on tractors have also won the tacit support of one Ramachandra Guha, who is by no means clueless about the ecocide these farmers wreak, given he is one of the most authoritative environmental historians of India. The problem then seems to be that far from scholarly and knowledgeable voices like Guha exercising a calming influence on clueless celebrities, clueless celebrities are influencing scholars to tacitly support the ecocide in Punjab through calculated and deliberate acts of omission.

Some of the other celebrities who weighed in were a certain Rihanna and a certain Rupi Kaur. One just needs to run a search for “Rihanna” and “Leather” to understand this lady’s love for animal hide. There are enough photos of her to have butchered an entire herd of cows to satiate her fashion needs. Remarkably, it seems nobody pointed out to her that tanneries are a great source of pollution too. But then again, the high school drop-out never even bothered to check the carbon footprint of her cars. The fleet which includes Chevrolet Suburban SUV, two Porsches (a 997 Turbo and 911 Turbo S), a Lamborghini Aventador, a Mercedes SLR McLaren, and a Mercedes Maybach limousine, is one that nobody would ever describe as remotely sustainable or remotely eco-friendly. Even from an equity and wealth re-distribution angle, surely a person who has built a $600 million ‘failed’ business with so many cars should be re-distributing her own wealth than espousing socialism while enjoying the benefits of capitalism?

The last in this line-up is someone called Rupi Kaur, a person of non-existent talent, whose singular claim to fame was that her “visual poetry” of staining clothes and bedsheets with menstrual blood to draw attention to women’s health issues got absolutely no attention from anyone till Instagram temporarily took them down. Leave aside the sheer ridiculousness of the statement, the chosen medium of her “visual poetry” was cotton—one of the most ecologically destructive crops in existence, not to mention the dark history rooted in the transatlantic slave trade. She now labels the farmers’ protests a fight for climate and environmental justice.

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The undeniable fact is, climate will only get worse if we listen to the policy prescriptions of these shockingly untutored “celebrities”. The 2006 cult classic ‘Idiocracy’ had drawn linkages between celebrities and environmental collapse, long before this farce played out on Twitter and TV. When a comedy movie predicts the future of climate change more accurately than seasoned experts, you know you’re in serious trouble.

Disclaimer:Abhijit Iyer-Mitra is Senior Fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. Views expressed are personal.

first published:February 17, 2021, 20:58 IST
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