In the 1990s, a term began to become propagated around the science community; watermelons. These were people who were 'green on the outside but red on the inside'. And those people were the new generation of environmentalists. Essentially, unlike their ancestors in environmentalism, they did not care about people, they only cared about tearing down institutions, like companies and universities and the free market itself.
That movement only gathered steam through the early part of this century, once science media went into decline while environmental activism shot past the billion dollar mark on its way to the $2 billion it's at now.
It's little surprise that the Russians have worked with the leaders of anti-science groups to leverage their "useful idiots" in the grassroots movement. The top Russian export is fossil fuels and their second largest export is food. Environmentalists are opposed to both. We've been talking about this for a while and recently a group of academics set out to find if we were correct.
1. What they discovered was so startling and so obvious that even media groups that have been opposed to science and are heavily funded by the organic food industry, like Mother Jones, have begun to ask awkward questions about why environmental groups are helping what the pro-science community has known are blatant propaganda groups for the Kremlin, like Russia Today (now rebranded as RT.com so we'll hopefully forget about the Russian part) and Sputnik.
We've had our disagreements with Mother Jones in the past. Because he had the right organic industry cred, they have hired bloggers like Tom Philpott even though he is listed on the reliable "A team" for organic marketing groups who want to undermine conventional farming, for example. And a fired employee of ours took a bunch of funding proposals, commonly available because our transparency, and Mother Jones published it claiming they were "leaked" secret documents. (1) But culture goes in cycles. America is undergoing a sea change in science acceptance thanks to our work at the American Council on Science and Health and a younger generation of journalists, who see the partisan, corporate-driven methods of their predecessors, are rebelling against the tactics of their grey-haired activist predecessors who only pretended to be journalists. It may mean that Mother Jones gets more shout-outs in the future.
2. There are still battles to be fought. Coffee causes cancer or prevents cancer depending on which epidemiology study you look at. In Forbes, Steven Salzberg uses some of our work to sort through the mish-mash of confusing nutrition claims. Without coffee, french fries, and potato chips, where's the joy in life, he asks? And how come people aren't keeling over with cancer left and right, especially in our coffee-loving, french-fry-loving society? It isn't about health at all, he concludes rightly, it is solely about money. Trial lawyers have made a fortune under California's Prop 65 law and the more useful products they get thrown on there, the more they can sue.
3. This week, I am appearing at the Festival du Film et Forum International sur les Droits Humains (International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights) in Geneva on a panel about a documentary called "Poisoning Paradise", which covers the same ground dozens of other documentaries have covered, claiming Evil Scientists are killing Gaia by feeding people. I am the only pro-science person there, the other two are lawyers for activist groups and a politician who hopes to become governor of Hawaii by leveraging a kind of Freak Power vote against agricultural companies.
Or I may not be on the panel. In a bizarre turn of events, the organizers have declared they only want a representative from an agriculture company called Syngenta to be on the dais with lawyers and politicians. The film is basically about Syngenta, which environmental activists want to become their next "Monsanto", a fundraising cash cow. Since I do not represent Syngenta, I represent you, I had to balk when they weirdly insisted they be allowed to claim I represent Syngenta, along with my actual title. If not, they threatened to leave an "empty seat" on the panel.
If you have read this far, you can infer what may be happening. They may have accepted money, or the film backers only agreed to pay the entry fee, if the organizers agreed to have a Syngenta representative there, so they could take video of each of the anti-science groups involved (there are dozens) yelling at the rep. I don't know if that is the case or not, it certainly looks suspicious. And the actual panel organizer did not find that out until recently.
The movie itself contains numerous lawyers and their plaintiffs, who are suing ag companies, and yet does not contain a single scientist, much less a scientist from the University of Hawaii, who they say are co-conspirators with ag companies against Hawaiin nature. So at this point nothing would be a surprise about the secret motivations of the organizers.
4. Pepsi has caved in and accepted science. Pepsi made anti-science theater out of removing aspartame from Diet Pepsi a few years ago, claiming it was due to consumer concern about the chemical. What consumer concern, we asked? The only concern was what Pepsi was manufacturing, unless you drink 7,000 sodas a day you can't possibly ingest enough aspartame to get any harm. And if you can drink 5 Diet Pepsi's per minute for every minute of your waking life you clearly can't be killed anyway. Litigation groups like Center for Science in the Public Interest and Center for Food Safety insisted that because we defended it we must be shills for Big Aspartame, whatever that is. Now their lawyers are stuck with a big old dose of science on their faces.
5. In The Hill, I chided Washington, D.C. city council for attempting to do what we got New York City to stop doing; declaring war on elderly women with incontinence and new mothers by saying flushable wipes were not flushable. Lawyers note it is against the Constitution to compel false speech - to make a corporation claim its product is harmful when it is not - and that the FTC can't be overruled by a local government, I instead went after their science claims and shredded them like toilet paper.
Naturally, the people who find conspiracies everywhere - the other lawyers who help the Sourcewatch lawyers by hacking our Wikipedia page - got a few of their paid toadies to immediately start screaming about ALEC and the other nonsense they get money to manufacture. Yes, they think there is a toilet paper conspiracy, apparently to clog up the sewage system in DC. And apparently they are paid to make sure the sewage status quo in government stays. You can't make this stuff up.
6. Breitbart is worried about 14,000 needles discovered in a homeless camp. It's one thing to create safe needle use under the guise of harm reduction, it is another thing to be enabling drug abuse and they used our work on the violence that comes with homelessness. But mental illness is not a valid discussion in modern culture, despite its prevalence in acts of violence, including shootings. The Inside Monkey statistics site also used our work on homelessness violence in 15 Cities with the Highest Domestic Violence Rates in the US - because homelessness was the best indicator
7. SELF interviewed our Dr. Ruth Kava to try and sort through claims about "ultra-processed" foods. Like what those are. Good luck figuring that out. As with endocrine disruptor, it is a meaningless claim that has a subjective definition.
8. LADbible used our work to poke fun of Dr. Oz hypochondriac claims about a triangle of death on your face. The biggest surprise we have had in 2018 was finding out he's still on the air. And still winning television awards. Because being right never got anyone in the alternative medicine recognition, but being popular sure does.
(1) Why have leaked revenue documents about Mother Jones never been revealed? Because they are not transparent and they created a separate foundation to launder the 84% corporate funding they receive. No low level employee has access to their fundraising requests, which means when one gets fired they can't run off to us and turn them over for a fee.