A segment of a popular United Kingdom morning show has gone viral after a young climate activist endured obtuse hectoring from the hosts in a manner reminiscent of the cringe-inducing morning show scene in Don’t Look Up—the Netflix film satirizing the lack of political will to act on the climate crisis.
Reporting on fears of fuel shortages and possible panic buying over the Easter weekend, Good Morning Britain hosts Richard Madeley and Ranvir Singh took 20-year-old Just Stop Oil activist Miranda Whelehan to task for her recent efforts to stop oil operations by chaining herself to equipment at major oil terminals alongside her peers, writes Inside Climate News.
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By turns condescending and abusive, Richard Madeley hammered away at Whelehan, calling her organization’s name “childish,” suggesting she failed to understand the complexities of weaning the country off fossil fuels, inferring that her actions would lead directly to ambulances with empty gas tanks, and heckling her for “hypocrisy” in joining climate actions when the clothes she was wearing owed their existence to production and transport processes that depend upon oil and gas.
Visibly angry, and clearly bemused by this inane line of argument, Whelehan retorted: “We’re talking about crop failure by 2030, we’re talking about people in this country right now in fuel poverty because of the prices of oil, and you’re talking about the clothes that I’m wearing?”
Saying that she regretted disrupting the lives of ordinary people, she stressed that she and her organization felt their actions had become the only way forward as other forms of protest (including a hunger strike outside the U.K. parliament that has been ongoing for over a month now) have fallen on deaf ears.
Invoking the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Whelehan urged her hosts, and all other media, to start speaking the truth about the climate crisis.
Whelehan directly countered Madeley’s implication that Just Stop Oil aims to turn off the oil spigot immediately. Noting that the country has an eight-year supply of oil in hand, she reiterated her organization’s mission: to stop all new oil projects.
So Madeley, together with guest and former fashion journalist Lowri Turner, descended into personal attacks on Whelehan and climate activists in general.
While Madeley made a point of telling Whelehan that the efforts of Just Stop Oil were getting a solid thumbs-down from Good Morning Britain viewers, the Twittersphere quickly took flight in the young activist’s defence, with many posts noting the unsettling similarities between her morning show experience and that suffered by astronomers Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) in Don’t Look Up.
Inside Climate points readers to the side-by-side version of the two scenes created by MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan Show. At the end of that segment, host Hasan describes it as an instance of life imitating art, “if such a term can be used when life itself hangs in the balance.”