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Today I will look at how one of my environmental heroes is now betraying the science. When I taught ecological classes, I would eagerly incorporate many of Attenborough’s beautiful wildlife videos.
But after just recently viewing his 2021 video, "Breaking Boundaries: the science of our planet", I’ve been disturbed, to see Attenborough’s magnificent cinematography increasingly used to distort the science, instill fear and shill for “a globalist agenda”
The video alternates between parallel narratives from Attenborough and narratives by a Swedish scientist, Johan Rockstrum. Together they pushed a myth that we are turning a planet that was once our friend, into a planet that is our foe.
But anyone with the least amount of knowledge about earth's history knows the earth has always been both friend and foe to wildlife and humanity. Deadly weather commonly unleashed throughout history, eliminated all that did not adapt, causing mass extinctions and collapsing civilizations.
Oddly, Attenborough argues that by simply adhering to globalist Johan Rockstrum’s planetary boundaries, we can save the world.
And like all demagogues and false prophets, he offers a utopian fantasy that his guidelines ensure the earth remains the "perfect home.”
Attenborough and Rockstrum begin by suggesting that this graph of Greenland’s ice core temperatures is science’s most important and most relevant for guiding human civilization.
Rockstrum points to the great instability of temperatures over the past 100,000 years during the last glacial maximum. The numbered peaks are Dansgaard–Oeschger events, caused when accumulating ocean heat that had been transported from the tropics into the Arctic, periodically melted enough of the insulating ice to let heat ventilate, causing temperatures to rapidly rise by 10 ºC (18 ºF) in just 10 years. That instability, Rockstrum claimed caused great environmental hardships for humans.
But during the most recent 11,7000 years, a period called the Holocene, the average temperature stabilized, and varied only by plus or minus 1 °C. However they don’t mention that stability was due to less ice.
Despite the fact that humans did not create the Holocene, they suggest humans can now magically maintain the Holocene’s stable climate, if only we follow Rockstrum’s guidelines and keep the earth within his so-called 1 ºC planetary boundary.
Attenborough repeats a false narrative that he frequently espouses, bemoaning, "The Holocene has ended. The garden of Eden is no more. We have changed the world so much that scientists say we are in a new geological age: the Anthropocene, the age of humans"
Therefore, to prevent further catastrophes and return to Eden our “immediate priority, is to reduce carbon emissions to zero and stabilize temperatures as low as we possibly can”
In contrast, according to the executive committee of the International Union of Geological Sciences, the official group of scientists who define the earth’s geological ages, the Holocene has not ended. And despite political efforts by some scientists to declare the Anthropocene as an official age in order to highlight humanity's negative impacts, there has yet to be any consensus on the proposal that the Holocene has ended.
Instead of formalizing the Anthropocene, the International Union of Geological Sciences officially defined 3 distinct ages of the Holocene The first 2 ages are defined by dramatic changes in Greenland’s ice core. Accordingly, the Greenlandian Age began 11,700 years ago marking the end of the last glacial maximum, the re-arrangement of ocean and atmospheric circulation and a rapid warming of about 10 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, the transition from the Pleistocene’s last glacial maximum into the Holocene resulted in one of the world’s greatest mass extinctions, mostly of large animals, and the loss of biodiversity.
In contrast to Attenborough’s stable Garden of Eden, Greenland’s ice cores also reveal just how unstable the Holocene climate has truly been.
The Northgrippian Age, named after the location of one ice core, began when temperatures plummeted to the lowest point in the entire Holocene 8,200 years ago. Temperatures then rose, reaching 1 to 2 degrees Celsius warmer than today, that warm period has been informally called the Holocene Climate Optimum. Then a cooling and drying trend occurred that established many of the world's deserts.
The most recent period, the Meghalayan began 4,200 years ago marked by a 200-year global mega-drought that collapsed many Eurasian civilizations, as well as a megadrought in sparsely populated North America, stretching from Massachusetts to Idaho.
Indeed, it has been droughts and famine, during cooling trends that have destabilized the environment and human civilizations.
The Meghalayan’s cooling trend was interrupted by warm spikes lasting several decades such as the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods. In addition, more intense El Nino and La Nina events evolved. Such instability has made it difficult for scientists to determine if recent extreme weather events are just more of the same, or perhaps signal an end of the Holocene and the start of the Anthropocene.
During the Greenlandian Age, the Sahara was a rich grassland with scattered shallow lakes, supporting a wealth of wildlife that supported several tribes of hunters and gatherers. Those stone age people celebrated that abundance of wildlife in numerous cave paintings
But around 6000 years ago as rainfall decreased, the green Sahara transitioned to the Sahara Desert, again greatly reducing biodiversity, and forcing humans to seek more hospitable conditions elsewhere.
The Sahara’s reduced rainfall was largely caused by a shift in the location of the Intertropical Convergence Zone, or ITCZ. The location of the greatest solar heating within the global tropics, causes intense currents of rising air which then draw in moist surface air from the north and south via the Trade Winds, and concentrates that moisture where the winds converge.
As the moist air rises, cools and condenses, that moisture rains out, bringing a heavy rainy season to the land below. The remaining dry air continues to circulate, eventually sinking further to the north and south, bringing deserts and arid climates to those regions below.
The ITCZ moves seasonally with the sun Bringing a rainy season to the tropics north of the equator during June and July, while simultaneously causing a tropical dry season south of the equator.
By December and January, the ITCZ has brought a rainy season south of the equator, leaving a dry season to the north
In addition, the ITCZ also migrates over millennia due to the sun's orbital cycles. Throughout the Holocene, the ITCZ has exhibited a trend that has continuously contracted southward, and it is that migration that reduced the rains that once supported a green Sahara.
In response to the Holocene’s drying trends, humans either perished or moved to the great river valleys where ample water enabled civilizations to continue. Great civilizations emerged in the mid Holocene along China's Yellow River, within India and Pakistan’s Indus River Valley, and along Egypt’s Nile River. Great Stone Age civilizations emerged in Mesopotamia along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
But as the ITCZ continued to migrate, the Akkadian empire in northern Mesopotamia and dependent on rainfall, collapsed during the 200-year drought that marks the beginning of the Holocene’s Meghalayan Age. Regional rainfall decreased by 20-30% and water levels of the Dead Sea abruptly fell by 100 meters.
The Old Kingdom of Egypt, also known as the Age of Pyramids, also collapsed as drought reduced the Nile River's flow and the floods that had previously renewed the fertile soils and maintained Egypt’s agriculture.
Late Bronze Age civilizations such as those that flourished in Greece, or Troy or had re-emerged in Egypt, collapsed due to megadroughts 3,200 years ago
The greatest droughts and deadliest famines occurred during conditions of low CO2 and cooler temperatures of the Little Ice Age, under the very conditions that Attenborough and Rockstrum argue that we must return to.
The Great El Nino and resulting droughts of the 1790s devastated east India and caused widespread civil unrest. The Victorian Great Drought of 1876 resulted in 30 million deaths The mid–1700s Strange Parallels Drought caused famine and substantial societal upheaval across southeast Asia, India, and the Siberian plains.
Climate change during the Little Ice Age also brought murderous diseases such as the Bubonic Plague, but that was never mentioned by Attenborough. Instead, despite mounting evidence that the Covid pandemic was caused by an escaped virus designed in China's Wuhan laboratory by medical experts whose gain of function research was globally funded, Attenborough featured a cholera expert who fear mongered that the Covid epidemic is evidence of the world exceeding our planetary boundaries.
Yet the Bubonic Plague, the greatest killer of all, that had truly been affected by climate change, was ignored. That plague killed over 200 million people worldwide, even though we were well within Rockstrum’s climate boundary. The Bubonic Plague periodically disappears when temperatures rise above 81.5 ºF (27.5℃), because its transmission is greatly reduced by that warmth. But that fact does not support Attenborough’s CO2 driven global warming climate crisis narrative
Furthermore, La Ninas drive Asia’s wet periods, increasing vegetation and promoting greater rodent populations. In turn, more rodents support more fleas that transmit the deadly bubonic bacteria. When El Ninos bring dry periods that reduce the Asian rodent population, flea populations are forced to seek other hosts and so bite and infect other animals and people.
By the end of the video the reason for Attenborough’s sins of omission and fear mongering become clear. By Rockstrum’s own words, they reveal their true motive for the video's "end of the world" fear mongering.
They want Rockstrum’s planetary boundaries to be the guide for a global governance that could be enforced by the United Nations Security Council.
The natural causes of climate change, a migrating ITCZ, the El Nino cycles of droughts and famines, or the cool conditions that enabled several Bubonic Plague outbreaks, don’t support their arguments that there is a need for a world government, and so, get ignored.
Like all demagogues and false prophets, Rockstrum combined climate fear with a promised utopia, but only if we follow their mandates. He promises clean air, healthier children, longer life spans, stable markets, stable jobs, and less conflicts. But such pie-in-the-sky promises should make all sane people wonder just how badly his politics have biased his science.
Unsurprisingly, Rockstrum is on the board of directors of the "global challenges foundation" whose founder states, “our intention is to start a debate on the need for an international political system” …"the need for a world government” … “one that can enforce its rules”
Rockstrum is also on the board of the "Eat Foundation" that proudly announces it is working to build consensus for a grand food system transformation. You got to wonder what could go wrong when such experts' control the economy? Well, Venezuela, Ghana, and now Sri Lanka quickly come to mind?
The Holocene’s southward migration of the ITCZ also caused increasing climate instability by promoting greater El Nino and La Nina events.
Alternating El Nino-like and La Nina-like ocean temperatures in the Pacific cause a natural global see-saw of droughts, floods, and heatwaves, but those events have been falsely portrayed as evidence of co2 driven climate instability.
During La Nina-like conditions, strong trade winds cause warm water to pile up in the western Pacific and Indian Ocean warm pools, promoting strong summer monsoon rainfalls that sustain the crops that feed half the world's population. La Nina-like conditions may only last a few years, or for 30 or more years during a negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and even longer when strong solar irradiance strengthens the Trade Winds. Simultaneously, La Nina-like conditions force cooler surface temperatures due to upwelling in the eastern Pacific Ocean, which then promotes descending dry air and drought conditions over portions of western North and South America.
Conversely during El Nino-like conditions, warm water stored in the warm pools, more readily slosh eastward, surfacing somewhere between the central and far eastern pacific, bringing heavy rainfall to the Americas but drought to Asia and Australia. El Nino-like conditions dominate during periods of a positive Pacific Decadal Oscillation or periods of weak solar irradiance as was the case during the Little Ice Age sunspot minimums.
Cooler little ice age temperatures and low CO2 concentrations, never spared the world from massive droughts, famine, or collapsed civilizations and millions of deaths.
The El Nino-like conditions that dominated the 1300s and 1400s, brought decades-long droughts that collapsed Cambodia’s Khmer empire, as well as the Victorian Great Drought and other previously mentioned droughts.
During more La Nina-like conditions during the Medieval Warm Period, extreme drought conditions in the American southwest forced the Anasazi civilization to abandon that region.
To achieve their political aims, demagogues and false prophets always fear monger impending doom. Edmund Burke warned in the 1700s “no passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers to act, ...and to reason, ...as does fear.”
Tragically, instead of educating the public about the complexities of Holocene climate change and droughts, Attenborough chose to stunt the public's ability to reason by pushing fear. To that end, he included parts of a speech by Greta Thunberg, the teenage actress who first learned to fear climate change at the ripe old age of eight years old.
Although the media has systematically denigrated and silenced knowledgeable skeptical scientists, Greta’s handlers easily featured her so-called in-depth knowledge of climate science at the "World Economic Forum" in 2019 at Davos.
Her words are repeated in his video, clearly echoing Attenborough’s intent! Greta ranted “I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic, I want you to feel the fear I feel everyday”
Like most mainstream media, every bad weather event becomes a click-bait story about the impending doom of climate change. The NY Times reviewed "Breaking Boundaries", calling it a documentary about the end of the world. Although many outlets criticized the video's animations and presentation style, mainstream media never challenged its abundant distortions and misleading omissions.
Likewise, in the political struggle for power in the USA, the Senate Democrats created the "Special Committee on the Climate Crisis". Their goal was not to uncover the truth by fostering robust scientific debate, but to shut down debate. As their first priority clearly stated, the Committee's purpose was to provide "oversight and investigation of the efforts of special interests to foster climate denial". Gee, how dare our democracy allow citizens to challenge the climate crisis fears pushed by demagogues.
So, it is not surprising that the NY Times just published on July 8, 2022, an article titled “Democrats can win [upcoming elections] if they Embrace the Politics of Fear”. Accordingly, climate fear has been a staple of so many democrat politicians and policies.
Finally, one last example of how Attenborough and Rockstrum distorted the science. Early in the video's narratives they claimed the polar ice caps reflect just the perfect amount of sunlight to prevent the earth from overheating. But now the warming and melting from rising CO2 is disrupting that perfect balance. Yet the history of Greenland’s ice cap tells a very different story.
During the early Greenlandian age, Greenland’s glaciers were still growing. But during the Northgrippian age, glaciers such as the Jakobshavn retreated 100 meters per year and its margin remained behind the glacier's current boundary for 7000 years. Despite reflecting much less sunlight than Attenborough’s perfect balance would suggest, that lack of polar ice never triggered a tipping point or runaway warming. Instead, the earth entered a cooling trend. The recent Meghalayan age had been informally called the neo-glacial as glaciers expanded at higher latitudes with maximum extents culminating in the Little Ice Age.
But due to natural climate oscillations, glacier growth and retreat has oscillated. Between 1960 and 1990, the Jakobshavn did not retreat, and Greenland gained ice.
Similarly, alternating periods of ice growth and retreat, frequently happened between 6500 and 2600 years ago as summer sea surface temperatures alternated between 2–4 °C cooler to 6 °C warmer than present while sea ice ranged between 2 months more ice and 4 months more open water than today. Accordingly, the so-called paleo-Eskimo cultures periodically abandoned and reclaimed the arctic ocean's coastal habitats. So, is the current loss of arctic sea ice simply a continuation of the Holocene’s natural oscillations?
Scientists tell a similar story about Norway’s glaciers that completely melted away at least once during the Holocene. The Hardangerjøkulen glacier, seen here, (and I do apologize to native Norwegian speakers for any mispronunciations) it melted away 8000 years ago when the mean summer temperatures were 1 °C higher than today.
The Jostedalsbreen glacier melted away 7600 years ago when mean summer temperatures were 0.7 °C warmer than today.
But most informative, the Folgefonna glacier melted away 9700 years ago when temperatures were similar to today but precipitation, had been reduced by 70%.
Likewise, glacier advances and retreats during the little ice age, in both the Swiss Alps and Africa’s Kilimanjaro, have correlated with changes in precipitation, as evidenced by simultaneous changes in surrounding lake levels. And despite the doomsday narratives, correlations between temperature and ice extent are often lacking. Yet again, Attenborough and Rockstrum ignored those scientific observations so they can push their warming crisis.
Climate truths will always be resisted by those who profit from fear and those who have been naively convinced by chicken little scientists and cinematographers. But the truth will set you free. Indeed, these truths provide the critical thinking to minimize to what degree you will be manipulated by dishonest political agendas.
So please, share these truths!
Our democracy depends on a diverse array of good critical thinkers. So, please shun mindless group think.
Instead embrace renowned scientist, Thomas Huxley’s advice Skepticism is the highest of duties and blind faith the one unpardonable sin.