Even as web searches for the word "sustainable" have been declining over the last few years (top graph), media references have exploded (bottom graph). My take on this is that while the media remains fully committed to the global environmental agenda, the rest of us are experiencing eco-fatigue. We are tired of being hectored for just living our lives. Polls support this. No more self-righteous twaddle, please.
- Look at how proponents behave. Do they have quiet confidence in their convictions, or do they tend to shout down at those with differing opinions? Do they willingly share their data and analytical processes with others, or do they shun transparency?
- Consider the incentives of those with the most strident opinions. No one is above responding to personal incentives, and that includes scientists and journalists who are supposedly above such things. All journalists have a philosophical view of the world they are invested in, whether left or right, and their work is infused with it. Sometimes it's subtle, sometimes it's not. With scientists, the left has long accused those being paid by corporations to study, say, cigarette smoke, of being bought and paid for. Now they have discovered their own scientists have a "for sale" sign hung around their objectivity.
- Use common sense. Again, this is hard when everyone at cocktail parties says you're being stupid. But along the way, it's good to listen to your inner voice that asks things like: