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Miranda Whelehan

British climate campaigner Miranda Whelehan endured condescension from both hosts and a fellow guest during her appearance on ITV's "Good Morning Britain" on Tuesday. (Photo: ITV screen grab)

Life Imitates Art in UK Climate Activist's 'Don't Look Up' TV Interview

"We're asking everyone to #LookUp," said the activist group Just Stop Oil, accusing the government of "signing a death sentence for us all by approving new oil and gas projects in the U.K."

Brett Wilkins

The deeply condescending treatment endured by a British climate activist during a Tuesday television interview bore what many observers are calling an eerie resemblance to a scene from the dystopian Netflix film Don't Look Up.

"The budget for Don't Look Up was $75 million. Turns out, they could have saved all of that money by just playing this interview."

"The parallels with scenes from Don't Look Up were hard to ignore in that shambles of an interview," the activist group Just Stop Oil (JSO) tweeted. "We're asking everyone to #LookUp and realize how our government [is] signing a death sentence for us all by approving new oil and gas projects in the U.K."

Miranda Whelehan, a 20-year-old JSO member, appeared on ITV's "Good Morning Britain" as a guest in a segment questioning whether the group's protests currently occurring across Britain are justified.

Seated beside another guest who called protesters "incredibly irritating," Whelehan fielded questions from co-presenter Richard Madeley including, "This 'Just Stop Oil' slogan is very playground, isn't it?"

"The clothes you are wearing, to some extent, owe their existence to oil, but you don't acknowledge that," he argued, accusing climate protesters of "hypocrisy."

An exasperated Whelehan retorted: "We're talking about crop failure by 2030. We're talking about people in this country right now in fuel poverty because of the prices of oil. And you're talking about the clothes that I'm wearing."

The other guest, former fashion journalist Lowri Turner, opined that climate protests are all "about ego."

"As soon as the sun comes out, oh, it's eco-festival time. And it is a festival," she said. "It's a big jamboree. It's let's get on social media. Let's sit down with a placard. Let's advertise to my friends what a great person I am while the rest, ordinary people who have to go to work, can't get to work."

Asked to respond, an incredulous Whelehan said, "I just can't believe that's what you're saying."

"The United Nations are telling us if we get to 1.7°C of warming, half of the population will be exposed to climate conditions that are unlivable," she added.

Co-presenter Ranvir Singh wondered, "For those who are planning to get away over the Easter holidays, could they expect more disruptions?"

In a Guardian opinion piece published Wednesday, Whelehan wrote that "the worst part is that these presenters and journalists think they know better than chief scientists or academics who have been studying the climate crisis for decades, and they refuse to hear otherwise. It is willful blindness and it is going to kill us."

"When the interview finished, I tried to speak more to Ranvir Singh and Madeley to stress how serious this is; Madeley just told me to be quiet and watched the weather presenter," she continued.

"My fear is that they will only understand the reality of the climate crisis when it is on the doorstep, perhaps when the floodwater is uncontrollably trickling into their homes, or when they can no longer find food in the supermarkets," added Whelehan. "Maybe then the brutal reality of losing a 'livable planet' means would actually sink in. Maybe then the journalists, presenters, and climate delayers would think, 'Oh, maybe we should have listened, done something.' And, of course, it will be too late."

Whelehan said that "the response to the interview on social media has been very supportive, but we need to translate that support into action. If the thousands of people on Twitter who disagree with Madeley's approach joined the actions of Just Stop Oil, the possibilities for change would be endless."

"Time has quite literally run out," she wrote. "It only takes one quick search on the internet to see what is happening. Somalia. Madagascar. Yemen. Australia. Canada. The climate crisis is destroying lives already and will continue to unless we make a commitment to stop oil now."


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