Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum that focuses on Middle East studies. I was a political columnist for (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, The Jewish Policy Center, J-The Jewish News Weekly of N. CA, Intellectual Conservative and many others. More info at

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Apocalyptic Environmentalism on the Streets of San Francisco

In the months since once-presidential contender Al Gore's documentary (otherwise known as "docu-ganda") "An Inconvenient Truth" came out, we have seen the Powerpoint progenitor transformed into a Nobel Peace Prize winner and a veritable object of worship. Not to mention his film, which did for global warming acolytes what the 2000 election did for George W. Bush's opponents: induced mass hysteria.

I forced myself to sit through Gore's tedious, overwrought, and stunningly inaccurate film in order to write an SFGate article on the subject. In said article, I came to the conclusion that Gore's brand of fear mongering was based on a secular religion that I labeled apocalyptic environmentalism.

Since that time, global warming lunacy (these days dubbed the "climate change crisis," as if there was a mythical time in which the climate remained static until, of course, human beings came along) has reached epic proportions, no doubt helped along by a healthy dose of advertising savvy. "Going Green" has obviously caused advertising executives to see green, hence the proliferation of environmental slogans designed to make consumers feel good about themselves while consuming.

But apocalyptic environmentalism's true believers are in earnest and they walk the streets of San Francisco, looking for all intents and purposes like normal human beings. That is, until one is unlucky enough to chance into a conversation with these prophets of doom and stupid enough to bring up the formerly banal subject of the weather.

Weather used to be the only safe subject for those trying artfully to avoid the twin topics of discord: religion and politics. But, these days, merely remarking that "it's a nice day" or "stormy weather we've been having lately, eh?" is enough to elicit a tidal wave of doom and gloom. And it matters not whether it's hot or cold outside. All variations in temperature, I'm told by these self-described experts, stem from "global warming."

Where once it was the crazy homeless guys standing on Market Street (or whatever main drag is at hand in one's respective urban environment) with signs reading, "The End is Near," now it's your average, everyday citizen who, upon the slightest provocation, launches into a diatribe about how the end of the world is imminent.

Such a creature wanders my neighborhood looking for potential converts and a friend and I once had the unfortunate experience of running into her. It was Christmas Day and in the spirit of the season we wished her a "Merry Christmas" (not a "Happy Holidays," mind you) in passing. She took this as an opening to start rambling, in a glassy-eyed manner, about how strange the weather had been lately, which soon morphed into dead polar bears, melting ice caps and, you guessed it, the end of the world.

Having lived in the Bay Area all my life and grown accustomed to the ever-changing weather ("Always wear layers," I tell visitors), I took issue with her contention that "We haven't had normal weather in the Bay Area in twenty years!" "What's normal weather?" I asked her, and then proceeded to note that local weather has always varied and that certainly hadn't changed over the past twenty years.

My companion chimed in with a few facts to contradict the global warming alarmism on display and concluded with the statement, "I'm not buying it." Ms. Prophet of Doom looked confused and, glazed expression intact, soon wandered off in search of a more gullible audience. Undoubtedly, she'd never encountered anyone who didn't agree with her apocalyptic scenario and cognitive dissonance set in.

Another locale for such exchanges are the plethora of health food stores in San Francisco, several of which I frequent. It tends to be assumed that all health food store shoppers are lefty wingnuts, but a few of us are ex-lefty wingnuts turned conservatives who simply like a little wheatgrass juice with our warmongering. My visits to local health food stores often result in revealing encounters with the young, hippie types who work in them and who, if the exchanges I've had with them are any indication, are among apocalyptic environmentalism's true believers.

I remember once, upon checking out at Trader Joe's (the more mainstream chain of the bunch), commenting innocently on what a lovely, sunny day it was outside. Boy, was that a mistake. The young woman manning the cash register suddenly looked downcast and mumbled something about, "Yeah, but what about all those cars running on oil, global warming, yadda, yadda, yadda." "Yeah, but a 100 years ago, we were knee-deep in horse shit," I reminded her, "and then we invented automobiles." "When it's time, we'll come up with the next technological advance," I added. "Hmmm," she answered, "I never thought of that," and saw me off with a smile. Let's hope my optimism rubbed off, for it is a sad day indeed when youth can no longer enjoy sunshine without feeling guilty.

Then just yesterday, at one of my local Real Foods stores, which seems to be staffed largely by young men on various mind-altering substances and/or who haven't bathed in many a day, I had another such encounter with the check-out clerk. Noting the newspaper in my hand, he asked eagerly, "Hey, does that have the weather forecast in it?" "I guess so, " I answered, not really having thought much about the matter. It's true we've been suffering a series of storms in Northern California and Nevada this past week, but, like all weather, I assume it's par for the course and don't tend to obsess on it. And I must say, I can't recall a twenty-something ever getting so excited about a weather forecast in my life.

The young man then proceeded to comment on the stormy weather, at which point I knew where all this was heading. And, sure enough, he concluded by looking meaningfully into my eyes and stating, "I think it's God, punishing us." While he didn't elaborate, it's a safe guess that he meant God (or Gaia?) was punishing us evil human beings for our presumed environmental sins, that being one of the tenets of this particular religion. "Actually, " I responded, "I think it's called Winter." "You know, that time of year when it rains and we have storms?" I added, not without a touch of sarcasm. The young acolyte merely looked away, no doubt retreating back into a comforting never-neverland of end time visions. I deemed him beyond hope, took my change, and moved along.

No doubt many more such depressing encounters are in store, as leftist-dominated San Francisco provides fertile ground for the enviro-wackos. As G.K. Chesterton put it, "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything." And as the latter case indicates, even if they believe in God, it is the God of Apocalyptic Environmentalism.


Blogger Steve Shaffer said...

Ah yes a very very very slow death by climate change. Not!
This week's climate hysteria features congressional histrionics over adding polar bears to the endangered species list (the last census (2001) put the worldwide population at a new high since hunting stopped in the 60's)... reality that would ruin the green politcal campaign...

"Cool It" by Bjorn Lomborg is great at providing some perspective on global warming. Dr Lomborg's work at providing a rational framework for evaluating environmental costs is outstanding.
Read "Cool It" with either "The Pentagon's New Map" or "Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating" both by Thomas P.M. Barnett's

Amazing synergy, if we work to connect the world we can deflect the realistic cost of global warming and we could live in a mutually beneficial society, all of it driven by economic growth.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 4:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Looney toons in Frisco !!!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008 5:16:00 AM  
Blogger Irwin Chusid said...

CS wrote: "Having lived in the Bay Area all my life and grown accustomed to the ever-changing weather"

A longtime baseball fan, I recall a wisecrack by a play-by-play announcer during a Mets-Giants game at Candlestick Park about 25 years ago: "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008 8:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard a radio ad for something the other day which concluded with "climate change is a choice."

The deranged control freaks actually think they can control weather.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 9:59:00 AM  
Blogger Russ said...

And have you noticed NPR's daily series on 'Climate Change'? This is where they accost some attention-starved Maldivean fisherman and point-blank ask him: "Have you noticed the weather changing? Have you? Did your grandfather say the weather was different when he was a boy? did he? DID HE??? AHA!!!"

Thursday, January 10, 2008 2:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Romat said...

But what about the dissappearing tropical forests!!!! That means more CO2 not being absorbed so FASTER GLOBAL WARMING!!!!

It ain't happening. See this article

Thursday, January 10, 2008 8:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Boris said...

"My companion chimed in with a few facts to contradict the global warming alarmism on display and concluded with the statement, "I'm not buying it." Ms. Prophet of Doom looked confused and, glazed expression intact, soon wandered off..."

Well, of course she was confused. It's not too often you run into someone smarter than the National Academy of Sciences, The American Geophysical Union, The American Institute of Physics and the rest.

Sunday, January 13, 2008 6:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you still live in SF, Cinnamon. Your distaste for about everything San Francisco stands for would make me want to leave. I guess it's just that S&M in you.

Thursday, January 17, 2008 4:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Brianbee said...

Hi Cinnamon,

Thanks for this posting. I am of the lefty nut job persuasion, from San Francisco originally, young, and probably the person you despise. Upon further thought, I am most certainly the person you despise. It's silly, we both have our beliefs, but you are so busy seeing differences that you don't seem to be able to acknowledge some obvious truths. A more encompassing approach would be valuable, all-around. Even though I am supposed to recoil as a missionary for my cause, I can definitely acknowledge various points you make about me and my acolyte comrades.

While I understand that your post wasn't intended to be a full-blown expose on the topic, there are a couple of points that aren't usually discussed by either side street, and certainly not here.

1) Unless a person is a scientist and conducted research his or herself, we are ALL basing our information on some from of propaganda. Including you.
2) Nobody ever tends to dispute the very basic fundamental science that atmospheric gases regulate the Earth's temperature. No naysayer's article has ever disputed how temperature is regulated, that I’ve seen. Forget everything beyond that for one second just to acknowledge that atmospheric gas levels are a factor in temperature. Also, everyone needs to just stop debating if we are in global warming based on immediate, thumb-licking weather observation.
3) The cyclical phenomenon and the impact of humans are not mutually exclusive. Any environmentalist that is worth their weight in carbon should know that change is eminent; and every ~whatever you might call yourself~ should acknowledge that just because the earth is big and we can’t see everything that is really happening doesn’t mean we might not be accumulating a tab somewhere we can’t see that someday, someone will need to pick up. Or not pick up.
4) Sure, horseshit and the crude-oil-based product life-cycle (including processing, end use and byproducts) are both unpleasant, however only one isn't a major manipulation of the bounds of nature. Pollution in the form of feces is a much different animal than synthetic chemicals. Also, the science around the impact of the introduction of thousands of petro-chemicals into life is limited in the same way most other science is, it only accounts for the observable.
5) When we begin to address ”global warming”, we inadvertently begin addressing mega and provable issues that face us such as pollution, resource-depletion and national security. Referring to resource-depletion, it is like a bank account that we comatose consumers (including you AND me) want to just act like we don’t have to balance because we can just refi the farm. If you keep withdrawing money while earning a pinch of interest, and then withdraw even more money, eventually the account hits zero. It is pretty simple. I’m there myself, until this Friday at least.

Green-washing annoys the $hit out of me too!! It’s the latest ~fuel~ for consumption! It is an unregulated claim to manipulate the gullible consumer looking for the latest fad. I can slap a label that says “natural” and/or “green” on a bottle of melathyon and somebody would buy it by the case the do good for the environment while dabbing it under the eyes for a natural lift. The real “green” thing to do is just use less, dispose of properly, yadda, yadda. These basic concepts transcend modern environmentalism, and the lemmings that defecate on your light conversational attempts about weather, and are more about pure logic.

It is like I tell people who praise me for driving a Prius! I ask them if I punched them in the face 10 times everyday, and then one day began only punching them 4 times, is it ~good~ for their face? The Prius is pretty ugly, yuppie, and, well, you know the rest. It is still a major advance in technology. And when did everyone start criticizing technological advances? Right, when ~their~ cognitive dissonance got involved (and you thought it only happened to lefties). Did we all bash people who thought a Plasma TV was pretty cool, or an iWhatever? I didn’t.

p.s. I also think Gore-Bore is an ego hound, or something. The positive impact might not have been purely beneficial to the fight against climate change (clearly), but rather by being a catalyst for some serious public discourse for issues that—I don’t care who you are—are very real and need to be looked at. Look at us, case-point. In a celebrity obsessed and disposable culture that votes more for American Idol than government, THAT is a major accomplishment.

I look forward to reading more posts. Even though I am obviously charged—like all the lemmings you described—I do enjoy the way you write.



Wednesday, April 02, 2008 6:08:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home