COVIDspiracies and climate denial

Hey Trash People!

This is Nature N8, thank you for signing up! You guys either really hate social media or really love newsletters. More than 100 of you are reading this right now.

Share with your friends. Let’s get everybody in here! We even got parties prepared for you! (Digital parties, that is. The first one is coming up next week.)


Waste Not Why Not will be joining the AAAS Virtual Paperless Media party on Twitter next week (April 1st, 1-3pm EST). Hop online and chat with us. Click me for more information!

Now, to other news.

Here’s Some Trash:

This following piece is a thinker, y’all.

What Can We Learn From COVID About Climate Change?” (Fast Company)

“If you can debunk [COVIDspiracies], and a person all of a sudden realizes that it’s wrong, then yes, I would expect them also to be responsive to corrections of other conspiracy theories [such as climate denial],” Lewandowsky says.

Stephan Lewandowsky, quoted here, actually just had a conversation with me on our new episode (wee woo see below).

This article tries to find parallels between common misunderstandings of climate change vs. COVID-19. It argues that we can shift the climate conversation based on our great response to the pandemic, such as a more rigorous control over disinformation on social media.


You need to read past the headline here, because the title frames Lewandowsky’s research in a way that doesn’t truly reflect what he’s saying. Lewandowsky highlights the conspiratorial nature of climate denial, yes, but the article omits his research on the deep financial ties around climatic disinformation.

Companies have a financial incentive to deny climate change; but, they only face losses with COVID (at least in the short term). So, tighter Twitter control on disinformation isn’t going to stop their vested interests in climate denial. The premise of this article just doesn’t hold up.

COVID and climate change aren’t comparable for another reason. The time-scale is wrong. Two weeks to direct illness is murderously fast, compared to the two-hundred-year scale of the climate crisis.

At the end of the day, this headline fits with a climate optimist’s way of thinking. They think climate change is fully an “education” problem, that we just haven't found the right argument for climate change. If we can convince everyone that the climate is serious, we can inspire action. Yet, we’ve advocated this for almost a century with no results. Without shifting economics and foundational structures, emissions will stay high.

We won't find the right argument to convince policy makers, because the climate crisis is a power problem, not a perception problem.

New Podcast Episode


It’s finally here! Our first interview from AAAS!

We talked with Dr. Lewandowsky because I wanted to go over climate denial without giving deniers an actual platform—not going to debate anti-science.

… And Environs

This week, I wanted to give you a book instead of articles. You have time these days, right?

Slow Violence by Rob Nixon (Harvard University Press)

In an over-saturated media environment full of anxiety, it’s hard to prioritize which problem to tackle. COVID or climate? Media or manslaughter?

The mind seeks out danger that is visual, exaggerated, loud, eye-catching. We like that kind of violence and ignore the longer, slower, much more damaging forms of Slow Violence that eat away at our societies.

Rob Nixon’s book uses diverse case studies to apply this lens of slow violence to topics ranging from permanent oil spills to depleted uranium bullets.

Highly recommend if you want to think like N8.

Behind the Bin:

N8 ate some almonds.

Meme Space!

What do you think about this 💁💁💁💁💁
March 26, 2020

What the heck was that Britney Meme?

Send us a question at <>.

Our Links

Support us on Patreon: “Waste Not Why Not

Follow us on Twitter @wastenotpod

Follow our mom on Instagram @ghostislandme

Listen to the show! Now available on audio devices near you!