The illusion of truth. It is in the manifesto of every propagandist’s agenda. Repeat a lie till it becomes the truth. Say it with conviction or dazzle ‘em, and they’ll never be the wiser. The propaganda minister of the Third Reich Joseph Gobbels, right wing IT cells, internet trolls, advertisers have all used it for marketing, cover-up, PR and smear campaigns. One of the most abused areas is the climate crisis. Despite extreme weather, rising greenhouse gas emissions, plastic and industrial waste, melting ice, changes in flower/plant growing patterns...the irony of 400 private planes chartering world leaders to the UN’s 2021 COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow was lost on many.
Some know no better. Even those who do, switch off once their heating/cooling/air purifying gadgets are switched on. This is why inaccurate statements on the environment continue to be blatantly issued by those in power. To save face after international condemnation of his governance, as also his own government data showing a rise in forest fires, Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro claimed: “Tropical rainforest doesn’t catch fire. So, this story that the Amazon is burning is a lie, and we have to fight it with real numbers”. On home turf, former Goa environment minister Rajendra Arlekar in 2016 claimed, “Botanically, the coconut tree is not even a tree, because it does not have branches,” after the government passed a law in 2016, removing the need for the forest department’s permit to fell a coconut palm tree. While issuing a proposal to fell over 3,000 trees in Aarey Colony to construct a Metro car shed, former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis said: “The proposed site [Aarey] is the government’s land and it neither comes under bio-diversity nor is forest land.”