Climate Activism Goes Mainstream


#VoxSoWhite celebrated its voxiversary earlier this week by posting a photo of a bunch of white people wearing Vox t-shirts, and also by announcing some new hires. One of those new hires is climate writer Dave Roberts, formerly of Grist, a website dedicated to “making lemonade out of looming climate apocalypse.”

Grist covers environmental issues from the perspective of a “climate hawk,” a term Roberts invented. It refers to activists who are very serious about climate change and “understand what is best about America and love her the most,” as well as those who are willing to “attack on as many fronts as possible” in order to neutralize the threat posed by deniers and sucky presidents like Barack Obama.

Roberts has described the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline as a “defining moral confrontation” that has succeeded in helping the green movement amass “power, intensity, and funding,” regardless of whether blocking the pipeline will have any measurable environmental impact.

In other words, he should fit right in at Vox, where everyone (probably) agrees with editor-in-chief Ezra Klein: when it comes to climate change, “action needed quickly to prevent a disaster.” One of the first articles published on the site was an interview with environmentalist author Elizabeth Kolbert, who explained how the human race might be global warming itself into extinction.

This is why Vox is such a smart investment for General Electric, a giant corporation liberals love to hate because it doesn’t pay taxes thanks to some generous write-offs for “investing” in green energy, as well as tax deductible donations to the Center for America Progress. GE was one of the top proponents of cap-and-trade legislation, which makes sense given that the company stood to make a fortune if the legislation passed.

It also helps that, unlike Grist, is considered a “mainstream” news source, even though it seems increasingly less focused on its initial goal of “fixing the news” and more on getting all the clicks while promoting a particular brand of politics.