In George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, documents that contradicted Big Brother’s enforced worldview were burned by sending them down the Memory Hole by the Ministry of Truth. It’s a frightening concept really, that the government could control our thoughts and memories by eradicating any it doesn’t like.
That is no longer a concept, it’s being put into practice by the Trump administration when it comes to climate change:
Staff at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been told to avoid using the term climate change in their work, with the officials instructed to reference “weather extremes” instead.
A series of emails obtained by the Guardian between staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a USDA unit that oversees farmers’ land conservation, show that the incoming Trump administration has had a stark impact on the language used by some federal employees around climate change.
A missive from Bianca Moebius-Clune, director of soil health, lists terms that should be avoided by staff and those that should replace them. “Climate change” is in the “avoid” category, to be replaced by “weather extremes”. Instead of “climate change adaption”, staff are asked to use “resilience to weather extremes”.
The primary cause of human-driven climate change is also targeted, with the term “reduce greenhouse gases” blacklisted in favor of “build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency”. Meanwhile, “sequester carbon” is ruled out and replaced by “build soil organic matter”.
This revelation comes as at the same time we learn that a major federal climate change report has been leaked that says climate change is negatively impacting the USA right now with climate scientists fearing the Trump administration will quash the report and prevent its official release:
The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration.
The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited.
“Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” a draft of the report states. A copy of it was obtained by The New York Times.
The authors note that thousands of studies, conducted by tens of thousands of scientists, have documented climate changes on land and in the air. “Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change,” they wrote.
The evidence that human-caused climate change is upon us and is actively harming us is clear. However, Trump administration officials want us all to look the other way, go back to our happyhappyjoyjoy lives, and assume our dutiful “What me worry?” attitude toward climate change. What they are attempting to do is nothing short of pure pro-corporatist propaganda. The constant drumbeat of accusations of “fake news” from Trump and his supporters supplements their efforts to put proof of climate change into the memory hole.
Many of us often joke that we are more stupid/less smart after listening to conservatives talk. If President Trump and the climate change deniers in his administration are successful, that will no longer be a joke. It will be the frightening present we live in.