Newsflash: Glenn Beck is "totally weird," or so one organization of local governments focused on sustainability says. But that criticism only goes so far: consider that the same group mocking beck, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, actually thinks Beck is a good example for how to gain a following.
The founder of ICLEI, Jeb Brugmann, was speaking to members over the weekend in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, at its World Congress 2012 meeting ahead of the United Nations sustainability summit -- Rio+20 -- that begins on Wednesday. In his speech to enliven his audience with the "spirit of audacity that started our movement," Brugmann looks to Beck as a method for effecting change.
He begins asking the audience to repeat this phrase: "I am a species that re-engineers the environment to establish the ecosystem that is required to sustain my growing urban region. Just like a beaver."
Asking a member in the audience who is a mayor in Arkansas, Brugmann wonders if this phrase could be used to get re-elected. The consensus is probably not and that it could be too "weird." But here's where Beck comes into play.
"We often think we have to be safe. We often think we can't say the bold thing," Brugmann says. Cue image of Glenn Beck in a Fox News screenshot and Brugmann identifying him as "one of the leading media pundits."
"This guy is totally weird," Brugmann said, explaining that even in light of that he makes millions per year and mobilized a national political movement. "Weirdness isn't all bad is it?"
Brugmann goes on to cite how Beck's "weirdness" has "convinced a large part of the population that ICLEI -- "you" -- are part of a global conspiracy to take away the freedom of the American people."
Cue audience laughter.
Not wanting "these" people to lead the debate on global sustainability or the environment, Brugmann uses Beck's success to suggest his audience "get more audacious and weird."
Watch the video taken from CFACT:
At this very same conference, CFACT reported, ICLEI members were using new terminology to reference climate science:
Huxley Lawler, Executive Coordinator of Environment and Climate Change of the Gold Coast City Council in Australia (an ICLEI member), told CFACT Executive Director Craig Rucker bluntly that “we don’t use the term climate change anymore. It’s sustainable development.” [emphasis CAJ] Rucker and CFACT staffer Abdul Kamara confirmed this in conversations with other delegates, including Paul Chambers, a Sustainability Manager for the Auckland Council in New Zealand. Chambers said it is important to use inexact environment protection terminology when dealing with conservative governments, like the one he says currently heads his nation.
This wouldn't be the first time of late that language changes were being made to appeal to a conservative audience. The Blaze reported last week in order to help pass legislation in Virginia for a study on sea level rise, linguistic modifications were made to a more "politically neutral" tone.