Three Degrees of Separation or Less, Part VII: To Green Corps… and Beyond

If the public saw scientists from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) engaged in heated debate with skeptic climate scientists, it would be deadly to the notion of catastrophic man-caused global warming. They’d shrug their shoulders at complicated science terms, dismissing both sides with, “come back and tell us what you know when you really know what you’re talking about.” Do ordinary environmentalists with no climate science expertise kill that situation with carefully memorized citations of superior IPCC arguments? No, they say there are multi-thousands of scientists comprising a scientific consensus against a handful of skeptics who are ‘paid industry money to manufacture doubt’. But how exactly do you get that idea out to everybody?

Simple. You organize and train scores of people to broadcast a specific set of talking points … and you hope nobody questions anything within details surrounding the mantra. Case in point is how members of the public who are otherwise disinterested in the global warming issue would have seen the report last year from a major media outlet about the retiring head of Greenpeace USA moving on to other endeavors. A biographical item from that report like the one below tells them all they need to know about the leader ….

… Radford moved on to other issues working for the Public Interest Research Groups while studying political science and business at Washington University in St. Louis. He later helped organize Green Corps, a nonprofit focused on grassroots organizing, and the group was hired as a contractor for Ozone Action, which prodded politicians to address climate change and protect the Earth’s ozone layer.

… so they move on, satisfied that good people are caring for ol’ planet Earth. For a guy like me who’s had the luxury of time to look into the background of such people, I see bit of pure misinformation within those two sentences.

Misinformation, as I pointed out in my July 14, 2015 blog, can be either deliberate or accidental as the result of ignorance. In this case, the reporter probably misinterpreted his own notes about Phil Radford’s role as an organizer trained by Green Corps. No further than 30 seconds into his 2012 YouTube endorsement video for Green Corps, he says he joined that organization and was taught by them. Logic dictates that someone cannot ‘organize’ or ‘create’ an organization that subsequently educates them.

But this isn’t about who created Green Corps, it’s about who Green Corps holds in high esteem when it comes to accusing skeptic climate scientists of corruption. As I linked to in my April 18, 2014 blog post, Phil Radford says Ross Gelbspan was one of the two most impressive persons he’s worked with. Combine that with Radford being the Director of Green Corps’ Board of Directors, and a fair question to ask is whether he or others mention Gelbspan at Green Corps.

Well, apparently not in current online content. It would be most interesting to see if Gelbspan’s work is spoken of in any of their offline training material. But go back in the past, and we find Gelbspan rather prominently mentioned:

  •  “Melissa Waage, Green Corps” By Grist Staff, 26 Feb 2002 (screencapture here) “I and 35 other recent college graduates began our Green Corps experience with a month of introductory classroom training in Boston …. Our instructors included experienced organizers and other prominent faces in the environmental movement: Bob Bingaman, national field director for the Sierra Club; Lois Gibbs, founder of the Love Canal Homeowners Association; and Ross Gelbspan, author of The Heat is On
  • Job Posting: Green Corps Organizer, 24 Jan 1999 (screencapture here): “Green Corps is hiring for one-year paid positions in our leadership training program. We are seeking the next generation of environmental and social change leaders … As a Green Corps staff member, you’ll attend an Introductory Classroom Training during August, 1999, and four subsequent week-long trainings. Each training includes sessions taught by issue and advocacy experts such as Ross Gelbspan, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Heat Is On…”

This last one is a gem, a glowing writeup written by The Chronicle of Philanthropy‘s Susan Gray about Green Corps ten days before the last item above, which Green Corps reproduced at their own web site (screencapture here):

“Green Corps is one of the most important environmental groups today,” says Lois Gibbs, executive director of the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice, in Falls Church, Va., and the former homemaker who led the landmark protest in the 1970s against dumping toxic waste in the Love Canal … Ms. Gibbs regularly speaks to the young environmentalists. Other speakers have included David Brower, a long-time environmental activist who founded the Earth Island Institute and the League of Conservation Voters, and Ross Gelbspan, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his book on global warming, The Heat is On

An inconvenient truth for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Green Corps and all their trainees: Gelbspan not only hasn’t won a Pulitzer for his 1997 book, he hasn’t won a Pulitzer period. Worse, he never backed up his accusation against skeptic climate scientists with any physical evidence, and his accusation is not independently corroborated.

So when we see the then-current head of Greenpeace USA (himself having just a one degree separation from Gelbspan) say at the 2:55 minute point here….

Green Corps alum are running much of the progressive and environmental movements. … so now you’ll see across the progressive and environmental movement, a lot of the leaders of these groups, their second in charge or first in command, are Green Corps alum.

…. we have a big problem when their core beliefs about an industry conspiracy corrupting skeptic climate scientists to lie to the public comes from just one single source. It could be said, however, that these progressive / environmental movement leaders have an even bigger problem, if their followers and scores of other Green Corps trainees start questioning what they were taught about skeptic climate scientists, and the tactics used in that training that start to look every bit like ‘propaganda’ which they were taught to despise.
Next up: Green Corps, parts 2 & 3.  The Radford / Passacantando angle doesn’t work out right, and the Senator John McCain / “Captain Climate” situation’s problems.