Child prophets and proselytizers of climate catastrophe

Reposted from Dr. Judith Curry’s Climate Etc.

Posted on July 29, 2019 by curryja

by Andy West

The role of children in the culture of climate catastrophism

1.Serious scenarios for children: reality or culture?

1.1 Frightening our children: When do we find it acceptable to institutionally frighten children? While our first thought is perhaps that this should never happen, in practice there are at least two scenarios where it’s considered morally acceptable. The first is where dangerous hard realities beyond adult control, require that children must be taught a respect of such realities. This may often involve a certain amount of fear among other techniques, in hope that this will help children autonomously keep themselves safe. An example is gas-mask training in WW21, because adults can’t be everywhere at once to assist all children with their masks in time. The second scenario is where it’s morally acceptable by virtue of supporting a culture that has defined the moral landscape (or an up-and-coming culture that is attempting so to do). In this second case, instilling culturally approved fears is considered normative, to achieve desired social behavior, grant access to group benefits, and provide supposed cultural rewards. An example is scaring children about sin or Hell or the Crucifixion2, in order to reinforce Christian social behavior and introduce the partnering carrot of going to Heaven (instead of Hell) for conformance.

1.2 Children Protesting: When do children band together to try and make a communal voice of protest heard by society? As above, there are at least two scenarios where this happens. The first is a reaction to an existing and widespread serious wronging of children (and possibly adults too) of some kind. The second is in reaction to strong culturally instilled fears, which have incorrectly been interpreted as a real and present threat or harm (section 5). In both cases some action is sought from adults, in order to remove or mitigate the problem. Some adults are typically involved in the organization of a children’s movement, having aligned interests; anything from genuinely safe-guarding their children (or children’s interests) to virtue signaling. Example scenarios follow later.

1.3 Children in charge: When do society’s leaders advocate and implement (or attempt to) main policy expressed by a child? Once again, there are at least two scenarios where this happens. The first is where a widespread wronging such as in the paragraph immediately above, promoted to social leadership by a representative child victim, is deemed to cry out for redress. Whether children are seriously disadvantaged or suffering psychologically or physically or all of these, and indeed whether or not causation involves cultural elements, this is essentially a hard reality issue of present harm. The second scenario is where leaders are emotively disabled from resisting / contradicting the child’s policy, even if impacts are likely net very negative, because this expresses some culturally approved fear that the former are already primed for. Or at least for an up-and-coming culture, resisting is still a major challenge for leadership. Cultural bias blinds folks to downsides, and our ingrained instincts to avoid stigma are likely sharpened in those who want to retain leadership; a lack of support risks serious cultural stigma, including shame for failing to acknowledge moral censure by a ‘wronged’ (i.e. according to the accepted cultural narrative) child. Example scenarios follow later.

1.4 Which is which? A secular, reasoning and reasonable society should aspire to avoid the cultural scenarios from all these cases, which lead to needless fears, trauma, false hopes and inappropriate social actions. A reasonable religious society should aspire to limit context to core values, and prevent alarmist / extremist leverage of our emotive concern for children, plus damage to children who are pushed beyond benign religious participation. Yet for any given protest, or policy expressed to leadership, or instilling of fear, how can we know which scenario is which? And so indeed whether the constant fear about climate change instilled into our children (section 5, last para), the consequent children’s climate strikes, and the dramatic aspirations expressed by Greta Thunberg, fall into the reality bracket or the cultural bracket? Is Greta’s pitch to the UN as reality based as Malala Yousafzai’s pitch, yet needing from them immensely more support for worldwide change? Is the nature of the school climate strikes ultimately as material and justifiable as the 1963 children’s crusade, yet where the scope of the problem being protested by children is hugely more extensive? Large swathes of society enthusiastically support the school strikes and Greta; they’d surely say ‘yes’ to the latter two questions. But how do detailed comparisons actually pan out?

2.Comparative cases of children in charge: Malala, Greta, and Nongqawuse

The article Child Soldiers in the Culture Wars3 notes: ‘The value proposition represented by politically active children is obvious. Sensitive subject matter that withers under dispassionate scrutiny thrives when that kind of analysis is taboo.’ Added to which, the emotive influence of the meme that children by virtue of innocence possess special insight / veracity, significantly enhances the persuasiveness of all these girls. (Despite this meme is false4, irrelevant of personal aspects such as Greta’s Asperger’s syndrome). These factors create an emotive smokescreen that can amplify the irrational in our perceptions. Determining per section 1 whether reality or culture dominates the pitches made to authority by these three girls regarding major, complex social issues, some questions to be asked are:

  1. a) Is the child morally sponsored by a culture?
  2. b) If yes to a), is the child’s pitch rooted in / driven by the culture’s main narrative?
  3. c) Does the pitch represent an issue of current or future wrong[s]? Future is more likely cultural.
  4. d) Does the child dictate a specific solution (and timescale)? Even with great complexity, culture may.
  5. e) If yes to d), and whatever is a)/b), does the solution seem irrational5? Strongly cultural solutions are.
  6. f) How big (behavioral and infra-structure change) is the ask? Cultural asks can be astronomical.

(Level of respect is also interesting, fervent belief ultimately respects no authority above its own). The answers tell us whether emotive enhancement is merely an extra push to an already sound reality pitch, or a critical means to guarantee the invocation of cultural fears6.

The answer to a) is ‘yes’ for all three cases. In her UN pitch advocating education for children (especially girls) and protesting the extremism / bias and poverty that closes this down, Malala, the girl shot in the head by the Taliban, makes very clear that she is a religious adherent. She starts out with thanks to God and later cites inspiration from Mohammed and Jesus Christ (among others). However, regarding b) it’s also clear her case isn’t mainly driven by religious narrative. Indeed, her own victimhood was a result of an (extremist) interpretation of religious narrative, as Malala herself puts it, a ‘misusing of the name of Islam’. Her promotion of the supreme value of knowledge, plus plea for peace, prosperity, universal free education and the protection of rights, is consistent with her religiously framed principles. Yet these aims are nevertheless largely secular, and certainly not owed to culturally (religiously) instilled fears. Question c) is ‘current’ for Malala’s pitch (for details see footnote 7). Regarding d), albeit calling for a rejection of prejudice and for developed nations to pull their weight, Malala doesn’t dictate a specific solution, nor a date by which major progress must be achieved. So e) is n/a. But with an implied goal of assisting current sufferers, the ask is still big. Likely a major acceleration of longstanding efforts plus new initiatives are both needed; however regarding f), this isn’t astronomical8. Malala shows respect to leadership9.

The culture sponsoring Greta’s pitch to authorities is characterized here. The core narrative of this culture, propagated for decades by numerous authority sources from a raft of the highest in the world downwards, is a high certainty of imminent (decades) global climate catastrophe. Greta’s words10 leave no doubt that her pitch is driven by this narrative, so b) is a ‘yes’. Notwithstanding some secondary claims of current harms11, Greta’s pitch mainly concerns future and overwhelmingly greater damage, albeit she emphasizes imminence (to ‘irreversible’). So, c) is ‘future’. Where the main event is clearly occurring already, this cannot be a cultural fear; for a projected future occurrence, it could be (although even in the former case, causality could potentially still be attributed to a fairy tale). Regarding d), Greta does dictate a solution and also a timescale12. Answering e) involves subjective views. However, although Greta takes climate catastrophe, the ‘sacrifice of civilization and the biosphere’, for granted in her short UN speech, her longer UK13 and French13a pitches cite the IPCC as confirming this catastrophe. But the IPCC science13b doesn’t support a high certainty of imminent (decades) global climate catastrophe. [Note: this confirms the assumption from observed social characteristics per the above link, i.e. the policed central narrative of catastrophism is emotively emergent, aka wrong]. Applying this benchmark, Greta’s solution is geared to address emotive invention and not reality. This is indeed irrational; e) is a ‘yes’. On f), Greta is pitching to world authorities, and her ask for the world is astronomical. To fix imminent global apocalypse requires humanity’s largest behavioral / infrastructure adaptation since the industrial revolution, maybe since the invention of farming, on essentially a crash timescale14. Whatever policies mainstream science might call for, it doesn’t justify this radicality. Greta shows no respect to leadership14a plus claims they (generically) lied15; emotive conviction to the catastrophic no doubt makes this seem irrefutable.

In 1856 the Xhosa nation in South Africa, whose lifestyle and economy were largely based on keeping cattle, was under pressure. From a century of serious colonial encroachment, from a fatal lung disease (brought out of Europe) afflicting many of their cattle, and from internal political rivalries as the nation struggled to deal with their difficult situation. In April 1856 a young girl, Nongqawuse, the niece and adopted daughter of a councilor of the overall king, Sarhili, brought a prophecy of salvation to the Xhosa leadership (Sarhili and tribal chiefs). The prophecy was communicated to Nongqawuse, who is variously described as 14 to 16 at the time, by ‘the spirits of two ancestors’. To achieve salvation, she said, all of the Xhosa’s cattle must be killed, grain destroyed and cultivation cease. Plus, new houses / enclosures must be built; essentially nothing ‘contaminated’ must remain. Upon full compliance, new unsullied cattle would be resurrected from the dead, (new) granaries replenished and the European settlers swept away. In time, albeit not across the entire nation as some chiefs resisted, the prophecy gained majority adoption. So, several hundred thousand cattle were killed (of which the meat couldn’t be eaten) and much food was destroyed. The nation soon descended into famine and chaos. The Xhosa homeland population dropped by three quarters (~78,000), from a combination of starvation (~40,000) and withdrawal for colonial wage labor or slavery16. Xhosa independence, already weak, was lost.

The full story is highly complex, see footnote 17 for much more, yet this doesn’t invalidate applicability of the same set of questions. For a), ‘yes’, spiritual beliefs including ancestor worship and blended with elements of Christianity. For b) ‘yes’, in that the pitch came directly from ‘ancestors’, who appeared to Nongqawuse by a river. For c), ‘current’. For d), ‘yes’, Nongqawuse dictated a dramatic solution and a hard date. For e), ‘yes’. Notwithstanding complexity and some disputed secondary aspects17, historians view the Xhosa cattle killings as the millenarian response of a stressed society18. Nongqawuse’s irrational solution could only ever have made things far worse, to the point of mass fatalities. For f), sacrificing the personal resources plus economic basis of the entire nation, can only be viewed as astronomical.

These simple checks are not without value judgements21. Nevertheless, the above table indicates that Malala’s pitch is reality based, and Greta’s is cultural. Notwithstanding the wrongs to Nongqawuse’s society were current, her pitch is cultural too (highly irrational solution). There are striking parallels between the cases of the latter two girls, who are both essentially prophets of salvation demanding full and strict compliance to a narrow cultural (and astronomical) ‘solution’, which they say is the only way to escape dire calamity. In Nongqawuse’s case, the solution is a cultural invention; in Greta’s the emergency is a cultural invention, the corresponding imminent global catastrophe being unsupported by mainstream (and skeptical) climate science. In both cases their leaderships were strongly primed by the relevant cultural narrative22, which when reiterated in distilled form from the mouths of innocent girls, formed a critical means to invoke the cultural fears and hopes that override objectivity, plus unite a wide spectrum of public belief22a. The power of guilt in such pitches is noted by Greta herself22b. In comparison, Malala’s pitch characterizes her as an ambassador for the wronged, presenting serious pleas but not astronomical demands. And yes, spurred by (positive) emotion and some cultural context, but not pitching acutely urgent existential stories carrying an overwhelming weight of emotive (false) persuasion.

From the platform of socially protected mouthpieces of cultural expression, the young girls Greta and Nongqawuse urge swift elimination of what’s been the relevant society’s main means of sustenance and success for generations. While the sacrifice doesn’t necessarily have equivalent impact for very different societies, there’s an equivalent emotive conviction to irrational heritage rejection. In dictating absolutes, both girls effectively command this rather than plead24, albeit in performance of long emergent cultural narrative23. While Greta talks of her own idiosyncrasies being an advantage for her self-perceived role, the personal (including her courage, passion, dedication) isn’t a unique key. Without Greta there’d be a Hreta or Ireta or… to Yreta or Zreta and so on. And not necessarily young and female20. Strong cultural movements create conditions which will surface, from an immense diversity of humanity and numerous adherents, those who’ll most closely identify with the culture and most effectively wield its narrative as commands.

While much of the mainstream media has lauded or at least not explicitly criticized Greta, a millenarian19 angle has not gone unnoticed at more fringe outlets, which also cover the dangers (exampling Greta) of adults over-reacting to messianic children, the major issue stemming from the taboo nature of challenging a school-girl, which results in gross over-simplification, plus the irrational response of adults (UN leaders included) to an uninformed delivery from an (inappropriately) scared child demanding that we all panic. The millenarian sense of a critical change-point for everything can encompass a ‘renewal’ in which the old must be rejected, is somehow contaminated. This angle comes across strongly in the Xhosa case, and potentially explains why many ardent adherents of climate catastrophism reject emission free nuclear25, or natural gas as a ‘bridging’ solution, or indeed anything that smells even vaguely of pre-renewable energy infra-structure25a. The nuclear issue may eventually cause a heretical split within climate catastrophism25b.

3.Comparative cases of children protesting: the 1963 crusade and the school climate strikes

Regarding mass protests of children, the same section 2 questions clarify the cultural or reality nature of the events. The 1963 children’s crusade in Birmingham, Alabama, took place within a wider campaign to desegregate the city and bring wider attention to racial discrimination. Although a non-violent protest (in which techniques the children were schooled), the use of children was considered controversial by many, including some adults within the desegregation campaign itself. In the end, campaigners were gambling that the protected social status of children, the shaming of authorities and emotive reactions in potential wider audiences, would gain them significant advantage. But at risk to their children; and if perceived as cynical, at risk of backfiring too. President Kennedy disapproved, though added that just grievances must be resolved. Churches were physical bases and protesters were supported by their faith, so there was a cultural sponsor. Yet as with Malala’s pitch, the crusade’s aims were secular. Children were themselves wronged (a critical factor) and currently, albeit likewise for their parents and all the community of color. These children weren’t pawns; directly and indirectly they’d suffered injustice and their resistance was genuine. They called for negotiation, but ultimately a specific solution, the end of segregation (the issue scope is pretty narrow). As seen today and wrt principles in the wider US and the world at the time, this was certainly not irrational. And definitely not astronomical, albeit requiring behavioral change from an empowered minority.

Greta being the main spokesperson for the children’s climate strikes, her answers stand for them too:

Would a robot from Mars find the same answers? We can’t know; it’s impossible to free ourselves from bias. Yet the climate strike children are largely privileged plus not suffering current wrongs; their fear is a myth not strangled by adults. They faced no risk of heavy reaction, which doesn’t alone invalidate their cause but they appear to be pushing on an already opened cultural door. There’s been much approval from adults and influencers globally, and essentially no formal opposition from authority. Pushing on an open door seems like a paradox for a protest. It is, because cultural fears aren’t real, but via subconscious mechanisms certainly can’t be admitted as such. This doesn’t mean the children are pawns, except in the sense that they and adult adherents too are subconsciously pawns of the cultural narrative; as Greta herself notes many are (genuinely, see 5 below) anxious plus sad, angry or scared. But it does mean they’re essentially emotive proselytizers of a cultural narrative30b, i.e. climate catastrophism, and this culture will drive them as a wedge into power. In comparison, the 1963 children faced a very heavy-handed response: water-canon, dogs and jail. They definitely pushed against a closed door, which we know retrospectively (and really, even at the time) was bolted by local sub-culture. They certainly weren’t proselytizers acting out the bid of their own strong culture to capture authority commitment in support of belief; they weren’t demanding conformance to emotive existential narrative. Despite deploying their social advantages as children, they represented equity and reason that was countering a long-entrenched sub-culture of racism. History has smiled on their gamble back in 1963, but such cannot be foreseen.

4.Children and cultural absorption

We’ve exhibited cultural behavior since before we were homo-sapiens-sapiens26. Due to long gene-culture co-evolution our brains are geared for cultural behavior, including support for an in-group / out-group recognition and reinforcement system. The latter can bypass our reasoning for the sake of group unity, via strong cultural belief and alignment. Religions are the most familiar class of strong cultures, and due our above inheritance cognitive scientist Justin Barret makes a case in ‘Born Believers’ that children have a default ‘affinity’ or instinct for the concept of god / gods. A religion-shaped hole if you will, just waiting to be filled by a matching social ‘shape’ within the child’s environment27. The theory doesn’t remove a significant role for religious indoctrination (though Barret makes clear his view this isn’t an exclusive / primary enabler of belief take-up), which reinforces default affinity plus delivers details of the particular religious system acquired.

The author speculates that significant effort and re-framing can ‘force-fit’ alternate concepts into this ‘hole’, e.g. the theory of Natural Selection as a world-view foundation. But apart from major potential downsides28, this is a very poor fit. No reasonable framing can imbue this theory with existential hopes and fears, cogent emotive cocktails and of course deeply felt identity, which are all standard features of cultures that for most of our history were figure-headed by god / gods / spirits. However, secular cultures are in essence religions with different details, working via the same mechanisms and exhibiting the same range of behaviors, including emotive convictions that bypass reason. Hence during child development climate catastrophism, with its anthropomorphized climate apocalypse29, carbon sin and tenuous hope of salvation based upon articles of faith such as renewables30, will slip very easily into such a ‘hole’ when children are exposed to this culture. And whatever the affinity / indoctrination mix, climate catastrophe claims carrying this major emotive pay-load are part of school and home life in many societies now. Via repetitive teacher30a / parent / peer / media promotion, indoctrination (not typically the aggressive sort) will occur. And the claims evolve, e.g. to XR’s: ‘Such claims are having the desired effect of terrifying children into supporting the aims of Extinction Rebellion: Thunberg is one of those children.’ [free].

Given enough years / exposure, the above morphs climate catastrophism from ‘learned in adulthood’, so overlaying / modifying existing beliefs, to a ‘received’ culture, absorbed, indeed just like religion, during childhood. This creates much more ingrained belief, and far less opportunity for reason to prevail against bias. Not to mention much more associated (and morally legitimized) fear, and simultaneous hope plus a wide range of other emotions. A problematic byproduct is moral approval of children acting in normally intolerable ways, e.g. public chants30b grossly denigrating a leader, or anyone who is perceived (rightly or wrongly) to be blocking the cultural ‘solution’ for catastrophe. This genie won’t go easily back into the bottle.

5.Interpretation of cultural fear

Fears inculcated by cultural entities aren’t real. We are not meant to believe them literally. Indeed, our brains appear to have a system for subconsciously knowing they’re not real, albeit we don’t yet know how it works31. As part of a ‘moral’ map, their purpose is in-group reinforcement. But sometimes the system goes wrong, producing real fear. For example, regarding: a) a new rising culture or cultural variant where equilibriums aren’t yet established, especially regarding a secular culture using the authority of science as a cloak. b) children, who lack mental experience of distinguishing between culture and reality. And c) likely for certain conditions (e.g. Asperger’s) where communication subtleties aren’t processed, such that cultural narratives not normally interpreted literally, are nevertheless perceived this way32.

a) results in some fearful adults. a) and b) results in many fearful (neurotypical) children. c) may add to a) and b) resulting in fearful young ASD individuals, like Greta. Even where the system works, cultural fears have some impact, are still scary to an extent. But not typically enough to trigger the same intensity and type of reaction as for reality fears33. Ironically, Greta correctly identifies an apparent hypocrisy in relation to this effect, the true cause of which her literal interpretations may have obscured for her32a.

What constitutes scary information and how exposed to it children should be, is subjective, given adult believers and nonbelievers in strong cultural narrative will hold differing views. However, much more objective is the actual manifestation of scared children (and young adults), and the acknowledgement of psychologists and guardians that this is major. Believers in imminent global climate catastrophe might claim ‘moral failure’, or maybe ‘useful discomfort’, but can’t claim the issue doesn’t exist. (Psychologists are generally believers so their advice is unhelpful at best, e.g. ‘grieve for how f** bad it all is’, possibly exacerbating). And there may be a less noble side to the inculcation of cultural fear in children34. Note: emotive cultural engagement isn’t less when failing to internally process that the fear isn’t real. Possibly the reverse; real fear might amplify cultural behavior still more, albeit for most this would be a behavioral stage. The cultural nature should eventually register, causing adjustment (some may lose belief entirely).

6.A cultural spiral

Decades of propagation of highly emotive (and per mainstream and skeptical science, false) catastrophe narrative by rafts of authorities, from the highest in the world downwards and reaching into all areas of society, has provided moral legitimization to foster catastrophic climate culture upon our children throughout their development. Aided by instinctive affinity for a cultural template and indoctrination within some social settings, this has resulted in large-scale take-up of the culture. In turn, this transforms children into mass vocal proselytizers for culture as transmitted by catastrophic / emergency stories, not actual protesters of reality-based wrongs. Per section 5 above, associated and genuine fear is widespread among children (and some adults) where the cultural nature of the threat hasn’t been internally realized, amplifying still further the pressure on society to act irrationally. These fears, along with the millenarian aspect of the culture36, have surfaced protected social mouthpieces for the culture and its uncompromising narrative for salvation, such as Greta and other children’s strike representatives. Such prophets then feed back to the culturally primed (and themselves long propagating) leadership, the ‘morally irrefusable’ plus ‘popular’ grass-roots verification, required for the culture’s next level of expansion and dominance. Yet ultimately, they’re all serving an entity that does not possess agency let alone sentience; it works purely via emotive selection and the consequent engagement of long evolved behaviors.

Swathes of frightened children and the nature of the children’s climate strikes, absolute demands to world leadership made by a child who instructs them to panic about imminent apocalypse (with little serious challenge37), these phenomena should be a big red flag with ‘culture’ written on it. But those disciplines studying such phenomena appear to believe en-masse the piece of the cultural narrative which states that (absent dramatic action) imminent (decades) global climate catastrophe, is an undeniable output of hard science. This is false; mainstream science doesn’t support it. Society is inappropriately scaring millions of children.


A question raised by the millenarian aspect of catastrophic climate culture and its quest to eliminate plus re-imagine our behavior and energy / infra-structure at ‘emergency’ speed, is: ‘what stress are we under that could cause such a response?’ Plus: ‘how much is real, and how much merely perceived?’ Cultures can potentially create the artificial stresses that keep them in business, and / or utilize prior real / artificial anxieties35. The externally generated stress upon the Xhosa was severe.


Link to [Endnotes ]

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July 29, 2019 6:31 pm

I remember what a yahoo I was as a child, and taking advice from me when I was a child would have been insanity. Child soldiers are banned by convention, as they are prone to committing atrocities.
The Children’s Crusade or the Red Guards are other examples of the rashness of youth, as well as extremism.

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 30, 2019 6:07 am

It is a combination of not having the more extensive frame of reference or sense of responsibility that an adult has that leads children to such foolish ideas and protests. Actually, only when an adult has learnt to be responsible, holds down a proper productive job and supports a family that such a person begins to make more intelligent choices and wiser decisions. Some adults, however, do not especially those that wholeheartedly believe socialism can work. The children in these protests are simply being used as pawns in the game their parents are playing and do not realize that this is not that different from other forms of psychological abuse.

July 29, 2019 7:40 pm

The use of children by self-serving ‘elites’ will backfire.
Likely some of the children will become vocal public critics of climate change alarmism.

Clyde Spencer
July 29, 2019 7:55 pm

The story about “The King’s New Clothes” not withstanding, children are not known for their wisdom. That honor is usually reserved for people who have lived many decades. Similarly, it takes decades for a person to acquire the life experiences necessary to acquire knowledge about how the world works. Society tries to help with that by requiring children attend school for at least twelve years, preferably longer, to be exposed to a curriculum that has been designed by well-educated adults who have had those life experiences. Formal schooling also assists children to acquire specialized knowledge, such as science, that they are unlikely to to be exposed to ‘on the street,’ or even on a paid job.

Yet, the liberal press lionizes someone who hasn’t even finished her general secondary education, let alone mastering science, particularly climatology, meteorology, physics, chemistry, geology, and physical geography.

If a single decade of education is sufficient to provide someone with all the knowledge necessary to be successful personally, and to guide society, why does every advanced country in the world spend huge sums of money on 12 or more years of public education? Why are students encouraged to go into debt to get even more education if all that is necessary is a single decade?

Either money is being wasted, or we should be unwilling to place any stock in the opinions of a minor who is unlikely to be able to defend her beliefs, using facts and mathematics.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 30, 2019 12:58 am

The king’s new clothes parable wasn’t about wisdom; it was about innocence. Here was a child who hadn’t been told (brainwashed?) to see what it was politically correct to see. We are still waiting for that ‘child’ to emerge in the context of climate change.

The first chink, oddly enough, may have come from France where some parliamentarians are arguing against Greta being invited to address them. It is only a matter of time before somebody in a position of authority and influence (the two are not the same) asks “why am I listening to the ramblings of a 16-year-old (pretending to be an eight-year-old) with mental health problems, a manipulative family, and a claimed ability to see carbon dioxide?”

That will be the “king’s new clothes” moment and it won’t come from a child; it will come from a respected leader who looks in the mirror one morning and sees a donkey looking back at him!

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 30, 2019 7:56 am

The problem with the Emperor’s New Clothes story is that in real terms it gives bad advice.

Sure, the observant thing to say is ‘Seriously? Put some pants on!’, however it needs to be remembered that we have an extremely powerful supreme leader with an unstable ego problem. So yes, the observant thing to do via the innocence of youth is to blurt out the truth, but the WISE thing to do is nod and smile. If the Emperor wants to strut around in his ‘new clothes’ then who are we to publicly judge him.

Remember, this isn’t just a naked fat man, it is a naked fat man who owns a secret police force and dungeons.

Wisdom, ladies and gentlemen, is a life skill that helps you work out when you need to start telling lies.

Reply to  Craig from Oz
August 1, 2019 8:22 am

Who the he!! are you talking about? Kim Jong Un?

J Mac
July 29, 2019 7:58 pm

The adage “Children should be seen but not heard,” has validity here.

July 29, 2019 8:00 pm

Greta is a prime example of child abuse, nothing more, nothing less.
Parents are enablers, politicians & activists are abusers.

Komrade Kuma
Reply to  Mr.
July 29, 2019 9:16 pm

Spot on.

CAGW Groomers.

Just like most cult figures.

Reply to  Mr.
July 30, 2019 4:31 am

I am reminded of two historical incidents. The first is Joan of Arc who all accounts portray as quite mad. But maybe she also had abusive adults pushing her.

The other is the Salem witches where children played an instrumental role in stoking up the madness … but again, perhaps they too were being manipulated by adults.

Reply to  Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
July 30, 2019 1:13 pm

Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)

With all do respect,
Please explain in context of history the Joan of Arc being mad, or perhaps being pushed by abusive parents or other adults there…

As far as I can tell there is no such evidence supporting your claim, in contrary it shows that the rest were quite really mad and bad, not her.

Joan of Arc, you like it or not, is one of the most incredible, quasi ” magical”, historical human characters within the whole known human history.
Amazingly so, but please do not stop your self from considering and thinking that such as part of history product happened as due to madness or child abuse.

Knock your self out with such as insupportable silliness.

In consideration of Joan of Arc, all this modern day propagation of “saints” child crusades happen to be the real madness in steroids…


July 29, 2019 8:02 pm

“The second scenario is where it’s morally acceptable by virtue of supporting a culture that has defined the moral landscape (or an up-and-coming culture that is attempting so to do). In this second case, instilling culturally approved fears is considered normative, to achieve desired social behavior, grant access to group benefits, and provide supposed cultural rewards.”

Really? Do you think it’s “morally acceptable” to lie to your children in order to impose “culturally approved fears”? And that you call “culture”? Exactly in what type of environment did you grow up?

Reply to  Tom van Leeuwen
July 30, 2019 2:54 am

?? every culture no matter what you pick lies or misleads its kids for the societal contruct in which they live.
be it santa and the bunny or dreamtime stories from Aus EVERY culture has its methods of fear or restrictions on their kids.
however most arent intent on RUINATION of the cultures they live in.
Gretas version is outright upheaval globally.

Reply to  ozspeaksup
July 30, 2019 8:14 am

You can call me a barbarian, uncivilized or whatever… but I never ever have used any of those fear imposing ‘tactics’ on my four children.

Mike Bryant
July 29, 2019 8:16 pm

Teach the children to clean their own rooms. Let the Democrats straighten out their own cities. Let the adults continue managing power generation.

July 29, 2019 8:22 pm

In number 2: I would have pointed out some of the actual data (observed) that show no increase in Global cyclone, Hurricane, typhoon etc. strength, No drought deviations globally, No increase in tornadoes worldwide,
No overall flooding, no increase, decrease, in yearly snowfall, no acceleration in sea level rise above 7 inches per 100 years, And minimal actual observed global warming, etc. No increase in extreme climate weather…
Just sayin . . .
Maybe some of these children would actually understand.

July 29, 2019 8:32 pm

Weaponizing children for any cause is not acceptable. Any cause, until they are old enough to make up their own mind.

July 29, 2019 9:26 pm

Younger people give a higher weighting to the future than older people do, after all they have to live in it.
Many 15 year olds have a better idea how how the world works than most 70 year olds.
Older people are probably also more susceptible to shock doctrine that gets promulgated by populist politicians.

David Guy-Johnson
Reply to  Simon
July 29, 2019 10:45 pm

Simon. Please show your evidence that most 15 year olds know better than 70 year olds. Anecdotal I suppose. Well my anecdotal evidence suggests that most 20 year olds, let alone 15 year olds have a grossly simplistic view of how the world works. 70 year olds however have a much better grasp of all the nuances involved.

Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
July 29, 2019 11:33 pm

Simon is probably 15

Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
July 30, 2019 7:08 am

Simon reminds me of the college undergrad lecturing a CEO on how he SHOULD be running his business.

Reply to  Simon
July 30, 2019 1:36 am


Utter nonsense.

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

― Mark Twain

Reply to  Simon
July 30, 2019 7:07 am

Someone who hasn’t spent a day in the real world knows how the world works better than someone who has been working in the real world for 40 to 50 years? Really?

Tell me, have you hit puberty yet?

J Mac
Reply to  Simon
July 30, 2019 7:24 am

Good grief, Simon. (face palm) And you wonder why no one takes you seriously…..

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Simon
July 30, 2019 8:24 am

Oh yes. The ‘young persons’ argument on how they are the future, and hence deserve to have a ‘greater say’ in it.

You want a quick life lesson, Simon? Do you know who really hates dealing with 18 year olds? 19 year olds.

Youth who stamp around holding their breath demanding that they be given the keys to the kingdom are basically selfish little entitled… ummm… people. They know, in real terms, sod all. Borrow a high schooler’s text book. Even if your common or garden 15 year old actually bothers to turn up to school on Fridays the subject matter literally aimed at children. It is basic. Because they are children.

However despite this they expect to be the only ones bright enough to take the world into the future, using some sort of demented logic that assumes that everyone else in the world has stopped learning the moment these new wonderchildren screamed their way into existence.

This is, in many cases, how these children think. They have been told how special they are and how their new skills they are learning will make them bigger stronger faster than all these old people… once they finish their uni degrees, while totally ignoring the fact that the real world is not only not going to just sit back waiting for these newly educated geniuses to finally finish their degrees in 5 or so years time, but also fail to understand that in order to be taught a subject at university, someone else needs to previously sit down, understand the subject matter, and create a course structure.

At the very very best what you are going to be learning at university is already a semester beyond bleeding edge, and even to get to that level of behind the times detail you still have to sodding turn up to classes on Friday.

Also, these kids are 15. As they moan and demand there are new children being taken home for the first time. In 15 years time they will be the same age as the original tyrants in training, who in return will now be 30. Just how willing do you think these newly 30 year olds are going to be to step down and submit to the new youth?

“I am only 30! You are 15. Stop calling me old you little brat!”
“No. You shut up. We are the future. YOU had your chance back in 2019 and you STUFFED it up. WE are future now!”

Not going to happen people.

Face it, anyone who publicly states that we should be giving more power to children is either a child themselves, has the actual intelligence of an even younger child, or is using the child to hide their own selfish objectives.

Get over yourself Simon. Your logic is bollocks.

[Thank you for responding…now I don’t have to. -mod]

Reply to  Simon
July 30, 2019 9:58 am

Tell me, Simon, how was the pie man?

Reply to  Simon
July 31, 2019 10:54 am

Yes, Simon.

And I bet the thing you draw come true.

Reply to  Simon
August 1, 2019 6:38 am

“Many 15 year olds have a better idea how how the world works than most 70 year olds.”

Wow, really? We should require all elected officials to be under the age of 20, then I suppose.

Jack Roth
Reply to  Simon
August 5, 2019 6:28 pm

Simon, this has to be one of the dumbest statements you have ever made. I was a quite precocious 15 year old by any standard, but I was still inexperienced, undereducated and opinionated compared to any normally functioning adult. The brains of fifteen year olds are not yet fully developed, and most have not had nearly enough experiences to make through out decisions. They lack empathy and have not yet developed the ability to understand the repercussions of their actions. This is why since the beginning of time they have been highly susceptible to being used in the fashion similar to what is being done to Greta.

Joel O'Bryan
July 29, 2019 9:27 pm

Moral relativism at work.
With that, any means can be justified. Including a campaign of intentional global genocide to “return to sustainable levels.” Population levels of course defined by those seeking more power.
So this Child emotional abuse by Greta’s parents pales in that light.
So the people behind Greta’s abuse have far more sinister plans in mind than a lifetime of emotional trauma for an autistic child.

July 29, 2019 9:31 pm

Greta is off to Lausanne Uni in Switzerland in August (before sailing to US for CAGW summit etc) along with hundreds of children. there are more articles online about children who will be attending, not all in English though.

press release in French, which won’t copy and paste:

18 Jul 2019: Smile for Future Press Release (French)

however, final para (p2) states:
In addition to Greta Thunberg, the Summit of the Climate Strikes in Lausanne can count on the presence of Nobel Prize winner Jacques Dubochet who will be there to assist the militants/activists. Other personalities will also be present in Lausanne with her –

(following info gleaned from Wikipedia & bios on other websites)
Jacques Dubochet, Nobel Laureate, Swiss biophysicist, member of the Vaud Socialist Party, thinks that “the world is not doing enough” to address the issues of migration and climate change –

Roger Hallam, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion;
Rupert Read, Green Party campaigner and a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion;

Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, who currently serves as co-president of the Club of Rome jointly with Anders Wijkman;

Kaveh Madani, formerly the Deputy Head of Iran’s Department of Environment (also Iran’s Deputy Vice President). He also served as the Vice President of the United Nations Environmental Assembly…Madani is a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Environmental Policy of Imperial College London and a Henry Hart Rice Senior Fellow at the Department of Political Science and the MacMillan Canter for International and Area Studies at Yale University.

Reply to  pat
July 30, 2019 1:42 am


Our outgoing govt is setting aside a trillion pounds -without debate- to try to slay the climate dragon . Many ordinary people have joined (or are sympathetic to) Extinction rebellion without apparently being aware that, according to a former head of the Metropolitan Police counter terrorism command, it is an extremist organisation whose aims go far beyond the climate in working to overthrow democracy and capitalism.

“As this paper shows, however, the leaders of Extinction Rebellion seek a more subversive agenda, one that that is rooted in the political extremism of anarchism, eco-socialism and radical anti-capitalist environmentalism.”


Michael H Anderson
Reply to  pat
July 30, 2019 6:59 am

The Club of Rome – weren’t they the ones who issued a policy statement saying that “the Earth has cancer and the cancer is Man”?

Why yes – so they were. Filthy scum!

Chris Hanley
July 29, 2019 9:43 pm

Greta Thunberg is the daughter of an actor and an opera singer, Greta meets the Pope, Greta lectures British politicians, Greta sails across the Atlantic to attend UN etc. etc., the entire palaver is just show business. Seriously what 16 year-old girl these days wears pigtails other than as fancy dress?
The Greta Show must go down as one of the most frivolous episodes in recent history and will cause great hilarity in years to come.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
July 30, 2019 1:39 am

If you want hilarity read her book ‘no one is too small to make a difference.’

Arrogance, insolence and naivety go hand in hand from this personage. It is embarrassing to watch our politicians fawning over her


Reply to  Chris Hanley
July 30, 2019 4:41 am

I’ve studied history for a while, and history is filled full of ridiculous incidents that we look at and can’t imagine how people could be so naive in the past.

So, what is interesting with the climate cult, is watching the same ridiculous incident being played out in real time in our own time period. Of course future generations will look at the barmy things that are being said … with the benefit of knowing the climate wasn’t changing, that CO2 was well contained by negative feedbacks, that other factors are “known” to control climate … and think our generation was especially stupid.

But, every generation is really the same. The Germans supporting Hitler were barmy … but like the Climate Cult, at the time it looked the right thing to do. I’m sure the same is true in China with the cultural revolution and Russian before the famines. Throughout history people regular fall for these silly ideas.

But despite the ongoing evidence that generation after generation do get deceived in their own time, every generation looks back at other generations and thinks that it is somehow superior in knowledge & understanding and couldn’t possibly get deceived by some ridiculous cult.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
July 30, 2019 5:33 am

“But despite the ongoing evidence that generation after generation do get deceived in their own time, every generation looks back at other generations and thinks that it is somehow superior in knowledge & understanding and couldn’t possibly get deceived by some ridiculous cult.”

Someone said more concisely, “We look at history and wrongly conclude, ‘Men were foolish,’ not ‘Man is foolish.'”

Michael H Anderson
Reply to  Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
July 30, 2019 7:51 am

Given that you mention the Third Reich and the Chinese and Russian revolutions as examples, I fail to see how “silly“ is an appropriate adjective here. Humanity may very well see future generations not laughing at the climate crusaders but sneering contemptuously at us for being the Neville Chamberlains of our age.

July 29, 2019 10:41 pm

On Bizarro planet children are in charge of adults

July 29, 2019 11:16 pm

If it is so simple a child could understand it, it has been oversimplified, both the problem and the solution.
I wonder how much she knows about Pol Pot?

He began by declaring, “This is Year Zero,” and that society was about to be “purified.” Capitalism, Western culture, city life, religion, and all foreign influences were to be extinguished in favor of an extreme form of peasant Communism.

Izaak Walton
July 30, 2019 12:16 am

What exactly is the point of this essay. It appears to be a long rambling incoherent way of
saying “I don’t believe in climate change and therefore Greta is being exploited”. Otherwise
it would appear that Malala is a much better example of culture exploitation than since reality
doesn’t care whether or not people can read and widespread literacy is a relatively recent cultural

Also the authors checklist appear designed to ensure that the answer is the one that the author
wants. The check about costs appear completely contrived and doesn’t not have any rational. Why
should “reality based” problems not require a large sum of money to fix. Protecting the economy from
the effects of the great recession for example cost Trillions with the costs still being felt.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 30, 2019 2:58 am

reality based problems?
sure fix em
but Co2 is NOT a reality based problem but a fantasy
by all means collect waste plastic stop dumping crud into rivers force sewage treaatment plants to really clean water and ensure solids are dumped inland not into oceans thats real that is fixable.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 30, 2019 4:42 am

Perhaps it is your Belief in manmade climate change which is preventing you from understanding. [Snip.]

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 30, 2019 7:12 am

Embrace the power of “and”.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 30, 2019 6:22 am

What is the point of the essay? At least one point is to develop a taxonomy of the ways in which children and fear are used to advance social causes. And from there to judge whether the use of children and fear is legitimate in addressing real dangers. The distinction between a real problem (existing bigotry) and an imagined one (presumed climate catastrophe) is helpful for understanding the operation and manipulation of cultural influences. The essay is complex but by no means pointless.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 30, 2019 7:11 am

Protecting society from the effects of a recession has never worked. Huge costs and no measurable benefits.
In fact such protections always end up hurting the economy and making the average person worse off.
Of course rich liberals make out like bandits, which is why these programs remain popular.

Michael H Anderson
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 30, 2019 8:10 am

Your sociopathic lack of empathy is showing: women in Malala’s part of the world are murdered and disfigured for simply wanting an education. How is listening to her story “cultural exploitation“? Are you going to demonstrate the integrity of tour beliefs by suggesting that because gay peoples’ desire for human rights is also recent that there is cultural exploitation occurring? [Snip.]

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Michael H Anderson
July 30, 2019 11:15 am

I agree with you 100% regarding the right of women to get educated and what happed to
Malala is appalling. But whether or not anyone gets an education is determined by culture
since there is no law of physics that says people have to learn to read. Malala is indeed a remarkable person but she has also been exploited by people wanting to demonise the Taliban
(who deserve it) and to popularise the idea of women’s education (which again I am passionate about). Malala received the Nobel peace prize when she was 17 and again in order to do that
there must have been a concerted effort behind the scenes to put her into the spotlight and keep her there.

July 30, 2019 4:35 am

Well, all those Greta disciple children (anyone under the age of 69) who blame all us oldies for the terrible perceived destruction of our wonderful world, please confirm that as devoted followers of the new saviour, pledge the following new environmental doctrine:-

1. They shall not engage in any form of travel or movement from their place of residence that in any way contributes to CO2 levels(includes exhaling of CO2 while walking, cycling, running, swimming or any other form of sport or exercise)

2. They shall forgo the purchase, use, or promotion of any electrical appliance or product (mobile phones, tablets, music appliances, vehicles, any other form of transport, clothes, food, that causes CO2 to be produced either in their use, production, or manufacturing.

3. To promise to beg forgiveness from any children they may have and everyone else in 2030 when they are made to look complete deluded idiots for believing their fanatical leaders about the world ending.

If they are true believers they should get total support through the social media for this new doctrine and promote this to all those who are the true believers of manmade climate change and global warming

Reply to  james
July 30, 2019 8:58 am

Thank you James for commenting, thus, “If they are true believers they should get total support through the social media for this new doctrine and promote this to all those who are the true believers of manmade climate change and global warming”; Correct!! In the Winning Hearts & Minds, via propaganda: The Religion of Environmentalism is discussed at length this month, in light of the heresy of recent Papalganda ‘environmental pronouncement’ of current pope.

July 30, 2019 6:00 am

I’m actually reminded of the Children’s Crusades in Medieval time. It’s the same manipulative behavior on the part of adults trying to gain $$$ at the cost of children’s lives. There were and are evil people in these “movements”.

Curious George
Reply to  wsbriggs
July 30, 2019 11:39 am

From Wikipedia: The variants of the long-standing story of the Children’s Crusade have similar themes. A boy begins to preach in either France or Germany, claims that he had been visited by Jesus, who instructed him to lead a Crusade in order to peacefully convert Muslims to Christianity. Through a series of portents and miracles he gains a following of up to 30,000 children. He leads his followers south towards the Mediterranean Sea, in the belief that the sea would part on their arrival, which would allow him and his followers to walk to Jerusalem. This does not happen. The children are sold to two merchants (Hugh the Iron and William of Posqueres), who give free passage on boats to as many of the children as are willing. The pilgrims are then either taken to Tunisia, where they are sold into slavery by the merchants or else die in a shipwreck on San Pietro Island off Sardinia during a gale.

The parallels are striking. This time it is Sweden rather than France, and in a politically correct way it is a girl, not a boy. In the end they’ll sell us all into slavery.

Michael H Anderson
July 30, 2019 6:12 am

Me, dreaming of being in Parliament right after Greta began her speech:

“Hey KID! Shut the F*CK UP!”

But then, I have actual gonads. That’s why I could never be a politician, or a leftist of any sort. Too much of that toxic humanity.

July 30, 2019 6:17 am

Climate Change Denier, Atty. Christopher Ferrara (at Seattle conference week of Jul 19, 2019) -gave speech “Care of the Environment: The New Greatest Commandment?” He gets into Law Reviews

July 30, 2019 6:35 am

Ahhhh, the Xhosa, the world most stupid ethnic group in the world who tried to commit ethnic suicide, and were rescued by the kindness and humanity of the British (their sworn enemy).
As their great teenage prophetess said; “To achieve salvation, she said, all of the Xhosa’s cattle must be killed, grain destroyed and cultivation cease. Plus, new houses / enclosures must be built; essentially nothing ‘contaminated’ must remain.” – and they blindly obliged.
The only other ethnic group approaching this level of ethnic madness are the Germans, with their demented Nazi crusade.
So, an ethnic mix of Xhosa and German is likely to be curious – enter Trevor Noah!

July 30, 2019 10:35 am

Interesting possible culture shift – I was watching Big Little Lies on HBO and there was a subplot where the kids are being taught about climate change and sustainability at school. The kids were clearly bored and repeating the teacher’s words which were indoctrinating and silly, except for one child who had a panic attack because she was afraid the world was ending, and her mother began a campaign to stop the school from scaring the kids with all this at such a young age because 8 year olds are too young to be worrying about the end of the world.

John the Econ
July 30, 2019 10:40 am

Really want to scare the kids? Tell them that if we’re going to be serious about stopping carbon emissions, we’re going to have to draft them into the military and send them to China and India to fight a shooting war to get them to stop. Because asking them to isn’t going to work.

July 30, 2019 4:30 pm

Greta is nothing more than a pawn in this nonsensical attempt to turn a branch of science into a new religion. Next thing you know, those who are pushing her forward will be demanding money from us. Oh, wait – they already have that part going on, with taxes of all sorts.

It is child abuse for profit, nothing else. It is disgusting. My cats can see things that I can’t see, but cats can see in the UV spectrum and I can’t. So when they’re chasing air, they are probably chasing fairies or jinn or something. As long as those members of the Choir Invisible don’t torment my kitties too much, they can stay.

Therefore, if Greta says she can “see CO2”, someone should ask her what color it is. I can see it if it’s presented as dry ice sublimating into vapor, because that’s what dry ice does – sublimates quickly into white vapor and then disappears. If she says it’s green or blue, she’s doing what she was told to do by some adult directing her AND NOTHING ELSE.

See what I mean now? This is child abuse and nothing else. The people pushing this by enabling this kid to preach her religious twaddle are the worst kind of con artists. When she finally says she can’t see anything any more, or gets too grown up-looking to have that childish appearance and appeal she has now, she’ll be tossed aside like a useless rag.

Count on it.

Reply to  Sara
July 31, 2019 3:35 am

Greta’s mother is an opera singer.
That just about says it all…

They live and work in a world that has absolutely no relationship to reality.
They encourage the audience this suspension of reality is helpful as well as entertaining, despite the dubious value of say some girl dying of TB live, but falling in love within 30secs to some dude who is a good for nothing Bohemian who can’t pay his rent.

What is even worse, a whole raft of “artist” wannabees decorate their CVs now with Angst about “climate change”, from violinists to solo cello players.

Virtue signalling is endemic to artists, so Greta who is an even nuttier version of a crackpot mother can be forgiven for pure emulation.

“give us a child until the age of 15” is even more alive today than it was 500yrs ago with the Jesuit brain washers!

David L Hagen
July 30, 2019 6:17 pm

Copy of post at Climate Etc.
Andy West
Thanks for an interesting exploration on cultural trends. Your discussion particularly helpful in contrasting the pitches by Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg. However, you then cite secularists on: “instilling culturally approved fears is considered normative, to achieve desired social behavior, grant access to group benefits, and provide supposed cultural rewards. An example is scaring children about sin or Hell or the Crucifixion2, in order to reinforce Christian social behavior and introduce the partnering carrot of going to Heaven (instead of Hell) for conformance.”
Your argument apparently rests on the presupposition that Christianity is but a cultural concoction for a social good. That logically fails by ignoring the objective historic eye witness evidence of Jesus’ resurrection. That reality of Jesus resurrection is detailed by numerous Christian apologists. E.g., see
Josh McDowell in Evidence that Demands a Verdict. For more detail, see William Lane Craig in his 400 page doctoral dissertation, Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus, popular articles on Jesus’ Resurrection, scholarly writings on The Historical Jesus, posted on Reasonable Faith, and books.
While some may use emotional arguments to encourage belief, please clarify your analysis to incorporate these detailed examinations of historical facts. I encourage you not to “throw the baby out with the bath water.”

Reply to  David L Hagen
August 1, 2019 6:51 am

“That logically fails by ignoring the objective historic eye witness evidence of Jesus’ resurrection.”

Objective? Really?

July 31, 2019 7:27 pm

Key difference between Malala and Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg (to give her full name) is the powerful PR company in the background, the same outfit behind Extinction Rebellion.
That the autistic, obsessive compulsive sufferer Greta sees CO2 is not a surprise. Google Images labels the white water vapour from power station cooling towers “CO2 pollution”.

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