Last week, the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History unveiled the $20.7 million David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, a new exhibit on the evolution of our species. Koch is the billionaire scion of Koch Industries and founder of a vast network of conservative organizations that deny the threat of global warming pollution and other environmental crimes. Such pollution is essential to the Koch Industries business model, an oil-coal-chemicals-agribusiness giant. However, Koch’s new endeavor, the Human Origins Initiative, recognizes that manmade global warming represents an unprecedented threat to the survival of mankind:
The question ahead is how well our sources of resilience as a species will succeed as our alterations to the landscape, atmosphere, and water sources interact with the tendency of Earth’s environment to shift all on its own. This is an ‘experiment’ just now unfolding, one that has never been tried before. The intensity of environmental change seems likely to create entirely new survival challenges for the lone hominin species on the planet, and many other organisms as well.
Oddly enough, the phrases “global warming,” “greenhouse gases,” “pollution,” or anything else admitting that the human influence on our planet now vastly outweighs “the tendency of Earth’s environment to shift all on its own” do not appear. But however obscured, the truth is out there. David Koch’s lifework — polluting the planet to acquire billions of dollars — has put the human race at risk. “The problem that we face today humans are pulling on the strings that in the past led to climate change and extinction,” Human Origins Initiative director Rick Potts described in a 2008 interview. “We live on a volatile planet and we’re doing the same sorts of things that lead to instability.”
Randall Kremer, director of public affairs for the Natural History Museum, told Newsweek what Koch’s $15 million in greenwashing purchased:
There are not many philanthropists who have given as much as Koch to arts and science. I think his interest lies in the scientific verification of a whole range of things.