In todays Guardian the most read article is currently one about Jeremy Clarkson joining the global divestment campaign.
Of course it is an unlikely scenario which was given away as an April Fools joke by the following quote:
He plans to boost the campaign by founding a charity to garner support for a 20mph speed limit on most British roads, rising to 45mph on motorways and dual carriageways.
But; there is also great method behind this April Fools joke.
A few weeks ago Alan Rusbridger announced that he was going to spend his remaining days at the helm of the Guardian focusing on climate change and trying to get the topic seriously onto the political agenda.
One of the key strategies for helping us to NOT exceed the estimated 2 degrees of warming necessary to trigger serious and irreversible impacts is the global divestment campaign, which is led by 350.org and the amazing Bill McKibben.
Alan Rusbridger and his team at the Guardian have been supporting the campaign through this petition that aims to encourage The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust to divest from fossil fuels as the investments are at direct odds with the stated aims of the organisations.
So where does Clarkson fit into all of this?
Jeremy Clarkson has been the centre of a massive media scandal recently after punching his Producer so is the centre of attention, he is also someone who has publicly stated that he does not care about the environment on numerous occasions so perhaps the most unlikely candidate to join the Global divestment campaign which adds controversy.
This blend makes it a very newsworthy story.
Additionally the Guardian’s major news stories are all syndicated out to a large number of news portals that pick up the majority of stories and help disseminate them automatically.
Therefore if you now go to Google and search “Jeremy Clarkson joins global divestment campaign” you will see many many results on this story from different news websites.
There were 5,000 social shares of this article when I stared writing and now there have been 6,000 shares so it is obviously travelling very fast.
The problem that we face in the battle with climate change is that most people are ill informed on the science and are unaware of the dangerous situation that we are now in. The politicians have their pockets full of cash from the fossil fuel companies so are keeping their minds and/or mouths shut. The media is owned by people with large investments in fossil fuels such as Rupert Murdoch who owns 20% of the UK media and the likes of the Barclay Brothers.
So; by using a joke like this the Guardian are managing to mainstream the story beyond their readership.
I am sure Clarkson will appreciate the joke, and who knows maybe even he will pay attention to the campaign after all 😉