Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fear From Above: Chemtrails vs. Conspiracy Theory in the Bay Area

[SF Weekly] Patrick Roddie films the sky every day. Two years ago, he rigged a camera on the roof of his apartment building in Lower Pacific Heights to record timelapses of the sun's dawn-to-dusk arc, along with the sky's usual bland traffic of birds, airplanes, and clouds.
Many of Roddie's timelapses — which he uploads to YouTube — capture something else, too: hazy, white threads that thicken in the wake of airplanes and sometimes tattoo the sky in grids. To the uninitiated, these are contrails, the harmless water vapor that commercial planes spume as they track across the sky at 30,000 feet. To Roddie and his followers, however, these are chemtrails, the toxic signature of a covert government program to slow global warming and control the weather.
Roddie knows this sounds like boilerplate conspiracy theory. "Don't trust me," he says. "Assume I'm full of crap. I'm just some Irish guy."
Roddie, who was born in Belfast, has the beard of a Confederate general and the doggedness of a street preacher. His day job is photographing portraits, mostly of weddings and children (he also has a Burning Man portfolio dating back to 1998), but his passion is cataloging and protesting "the global chemtrails program."
Roddie runs a website, Stop Spraying Us - SF, helps admin a Facebook group called California - Bay Area Residents Against Chemtrails/Geoengineering that has more than 2,000 members, manages a YouTube account that's 200 videos strong (with most view counts in the low hundreds), leads small monthly rallies at City Hall and the Ferry Building, and travels widely to speak out against chemtrails. Roddie estimates that over the course of his three-year chemtrails activism career he's burned and distributed more than 30,000 informational DVDs.
Last month, he raised $5,000 on GoFundMe to fly to Paris, where he presented a paper to climate scientists about the health effects of geoengineering. And this month, he addressed a public Environmental Protection Agency hearing in Washington about the dangers of aircraft pollution.
If you ask him the million-dollar question — Why are they spraying chemtrails? — his stock answer is: "Because they're assholes." Read More