Climate Change Survivor, or: how activists continue to devalue their own argument

11 peaceful activists from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise have taken to the water in inflatable boats to oppose the Statoil Songa Enabler oil rig, 275 km North off the Norwegian coast, in the Arctic Barents sea.

They hold banners that say: “People Vs. Arctic Oil” directed at Statoil and the Norwegian government, which has opened a new, aggressive search for oil in the waters of the Barents Sea.

Actor and activist Lucy Lawless from New Zealand and Climate change survivor and activist Joanna Sustento from the Philippines, are among the 19 nationalities who have travelled to the high Northern waters onboard the Arctic Sunrise. Sustento wants the Norwegian government to take responsibility for its climate commitments and development of a new oil frontier in the Arctic. She lost her entire family, except for her brother, to Super-typhoon Haiyan in 2013 which left large parts of her hometown, Tacloban, in ruins.

“It is hard for me to grasp and accept that a government like Norway’s is opening up new Arctic oil drilling, knowing full well it will put families and homes in other parts of the world at risk. I’m here in the Arctic to see this irresponsibility with my own eyes; share my story about the human consequences of climate change; and call on the Norwegian government to put a stop to this dangerous search for new oil,” said Sustento.

Just two weeks after signing the Paris Climate Agreement, the Norwegian Government awarded 13 oil companies 10 new licenses in a completely new area, for the first time in more than 20 years.

“It is scary to think that super-typhoons could become the new normal if governments like Norway’s allow more oil drilling. I couldn’t stop the typhoon that destroyed my home, but Norway could play a role in curbing the severity and frequency of these storms right now. It gives me hope to see that right now people are taking peaceful action for the climate all over the world and holding governments accountable,” added Sustento.

I choose to be upset about language constantly being devalued by activists that have no respect.

First we had “deniers”.   The only deniers that existed were Holocaust deniers.   For decades, the word “denier” was more or less used most frequently as a short version for Holocaust deniers.

Then of course the Global Warming people were losing the argument and they needed to vilify people who felt AGW was not an issue.   Skeptic wasn’t strong enough.   They stole “denier” from an historical event where 10 million people were killed by an evil regime and applied it to Climate Change.   Not Global Warming.  Climate Change.

So now, you are labelled a Climate Change Denier with all the baggage that comes with the word “denier”.  All the intrinsic meaning that has grown around “denier” was immediately heaped on people that said “hang on, it’s not getting warmer at all.  I need to see more before I agree”.

And so it is that we now have another word stolen.  Survivor.

We all know we label people that have been raped as Rape Survivors.   The inference is that it didn’t kill them, but it has deeply damaged the person.

This word is now misappropriated for the phrase “Climate Change Survivor”.

Here’s the thing.

Climate changes all the time.   If you are alive, you have so far survived it.  You are, by definition, a Climate Change Survivor.

But once again, the left abscond with all the emotions, pain and meanings and misapply it to a political end, thereby showing little to no respect.   Be that to 10,000,000 dead people by the hands of the Nazi regime, or 10,000,000 victims of rape.

It turns my stomach, and we need to say “no”.  No.   We don’t accept this.

I’m happy to know Joanna Sustento survived a Cat 5 “Super” Typhoon.  But then Bill down the road survived Cyclone Bola,  Erica in Edgecumbe survived the recent flooding, and tens of thousands of New Zealanders are still alive even though they faced adverse weather at some stage in their life.

Are they all Climate Change Survivors?  Literally, yes.

But please, let’s not be stupid nor disrespectful to real survivors.  Survivors of torture,  kidnapping, rape or attempted murder.

Joanna Sustento and her friend Lucy Lawless disgust me.   Joanna Sustento survived one of the most extreme weather events that claimed over 6000 lives.   But that does not make her a Climate Change Survivor.


– Greenpeace



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.