Her name is Agnes Walton, and in her environmental fanaticism she makes Greta Thunberg look half-hearted and Al Gore look irresolute. Let’s start with her 2017 video for HBO’s VICE News Tonight, in which she noted that “more than half of all consumer goods” contain palm oil – often labeled on packaging as “vegetable oil” or “vegetable fat” – and, over images of trees being felled and cute animals running for their lives, claimed that the growth of palm oil plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia was causing “massive deforestation,” “killing the rainforest,” and “driving forest species to the brink of extinction.”
Only one country, Walton said, had “taken on the industry.” That country would be Norway, where, she explained, the entire population boycotted palm oil products; consequently, the substance was removed from all Norwegian food products. (I live in Norway, but somehow I entirely missed this people’s crusade.) Since Norway’s population is so small, alas, this glorious local success “didn’t put a dent in the global market.” The only answer, then, instructed Walton, is for the rest of the world to follow Norway’s example prontissimo – or consider itself responsible for a genocide of both flora and fauna.
Or check out Walton’s video editorial from August of last year. In this one, produced for the New York Times, Walton warned of another existential dilemma: American lawns, which, she solemnly asserted, “are damaging our planet, ruining our health, and wasting our time.” Maintaining them depletes precious water and involves the use of dangerous fertilizers. And why should we want lawns, anyway? Walton flashed an image of the Stars and Stripes, and another of a wholesome-looking traditional white family (mom, dad, two sons) standing behind a white picket fence – thereby linking lawns to those two appalling phenomena, the American dream and middle-class suburban life.
That wasn’t all. Over paintings of nineteenth-century bluebloods cavorting outside their stately homes, Walton charged that American’s “obsession” with lawns “has its roots in the manicured lawns of the European aristocracy” – in other words, suburban U.S. lawns are tainted by Old World imperialism. Bottom line: our planet is in peril, and it’s all the fault of selfish, suburban, stateside caucasians (read: hard-working, law-abiding taxpayers) who’ve allowed their lifestyle choices to be influenced not by virtuous lefties like Walton but by the vile Europeans of yore who colonized the global south. “Local laws need to be more progressive,” Walton insisted, “and get real about the climate emergency.” Translation: cities from Boston to Burbank need to put even severer restrictions on individual liberty – and put even more pressure on the deplorables to obey their betters.
A couple of months later, Walton returned to the Times with another clarion cry in visual form, this one entitled “Brazil’s Presidential Election Will Determine the Planet’s Future.” This time, her contention was that the Workers’ Party candidate for president of Brazil, the corrupt, far-left, pro-Chinese Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, absolutely had to win the upcoming election over the America-friendly, pro-economic development incumbent, Jair Bolsonaro, because Lula “wants to save the Amazon” while Bolsonaro “wants to burn it down.” Bottom line: “The most important day for Planet Earth – and your survival – is October 30.”
Who is Agnes Walton? Born and raised in Norway, she’s (surprise!) a daughter of privilege – specifically, the daughter of Stephen J. Walton, a professor of languages who splits his time between Norway and the U.K. and who, in a 2012 profile for the scholarly journal Kjønnsforskning (Gender Research), explained that he and his wife live apart so that he can have sex with men. He contributes a column on feminism to Klassekampen, Norway’s self-described “revolutionary socialist” newspaper, and has written a book deploring the “Americanization” of Norway: “Norwegians have forgotten how to speak German and French….Linguistically, Norwegians are becoming a kind of Americans who happen to be very good at Norwegian.” Oh, one more thing: his son, Agnes’s brother, is an ardent Communist.
So, by all indications, is Agnes, who, having studied French at the University of Oslo, political science in Sweden, and environmental science at Yale, has had a busy transatlantic career, working (just like Dad) as a Klassekampen columnist and as communications manager for a Swedish commission on “food, planet, [and] health” before becoming, as we’ve seen, a “climate researcher” for VICE News in New York and, then, a “senior video journalist” at the Times.
But now she has a new job. As reported by Mats With Gregor in a September 25 article for Journalisten, she’s been hired to be the “climate/environment specialist” at the Norwegian Institute of Journalism, where her task will be to “educate” the nation’s reporters about the environment and the alleged climate crisis. To that end, she’ll be teaching a course in October and November about how to cover climate issues. This is vital, you see, because, as Walton explained, the climate has a profound impact on every kind of news – whether about finance or sports or showbiz – and every last person on earth is, or soon will be, “affected by…the crisis in which we find ourselves.”
Yet in Norway, at least, lamented Walton, journalists tend not to do a great job on climate. Why? Too often, they report on forecasts, predictions, prognoses. And this can be problematic. How so? Because climate forecasts – especially truthful ones – may not be dramatic enough to get news consumers sufficiently worked up about the environment. Something, obviously, must be done. And Walton knows what it is. “Talk more about feelings and less about figures….Don’t get hung up on numbers, prognoses, reports, and graphs.”
So what if the actual statistics show that the number of hurricanes or tornadoes or whatever hasn’t soared in recent years? So what if the doomsday stories about Arctic ice and polar bears are utter nonsense? So what if the talk of sea levels rising so high that they’ll soon drown the Obamas in their Martha’s Vineyard mansion is sheer claptrap? Who cares? Because, as Walton was implicitly admitting, climatism isn’t about science. It’s a faith, a sect, a cult, that replaces God with nature and that views the human race as a blight on the planet.
This being the case, “journalism” isn’t even remotely the right word for what Walton has produced for Vice and the Times and what she plans to teach her students to produce for the Norwegian news media. No, as she makes clear, she’s going to teach them to be even less sober, less responsible, and less skeptical in their coverage of the climate scam than they are already. She’s going to teach them to remove from their articles the slightest shreds of fact that they might be tempted to include. She’s going to teach them to ratchet up their rhetoric to Goebbels levels.
Because the goal isn’t to communicate the truth. It’s to ensure that even more children will grow up into hysterics who truly think that we’re just around the corner from Armageddon and will end up blocking traffic and glueing themselves to paintings in museums. So we owe Agnes Walton a nod of gratitude: in her interview with Journalisten, she gave the whole game away. In 2023, the job of a reporter isn’t to try to figure out the truth behind the climate-catastrophe hyperbole; it’s to persuade governments and businesses to deprive, tax, fine, and oppress the rabble in the name of saving the planet – and to get the rabble to believe that if they don’t knuckle under and sacrifice their freedom, the Earth, within a few years, will be as barren as the moon.