“You know the reason I really love the stars? It’s that we cannot hurt
Them. We can’t burn them. We can’t melt them or make them overflow
We can’t flood them or blow them up or turn them out
But we are reaching for them. We are reaching for them”
In a strange way, the influential 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth might have unintentionally and semi-ironically doomed us all. It has had very inconvenient consequences, you could say. But absolutely don’t, because that’s a rotten line.
Now, I’m not arguing that An Inconvenient Truth didn’t do a lot of good. I was.. younger… when it came out, and I have to say that, while maybe not a climate change denier, I was probably sceptical of the threat based on my own scientific research uncovering statistics like the fact it snowed a couple of years back and it was sometimes really cold. The film actually convinced me of the facts, using simple statistics and arguments that, if I’m being honest, I was probably too lazy to read for myself. I was a child, I decided that believing that climate change was at least overstated would mean I needn’t change anything about my behaviour, and so only searched out articles and columns that supported the theory I had chosen to believe. I was a child. I saw An Inconvenient Truth and realised what a child I was being. And how stupid I was. I imagine many people had similar epiphanies upon watching it. I was a child, and I still can’t believe how stupid I was. A child,
However, all the good the film did may have been tragically outweighed by the fact Al Gore presented it. Al Gore is a notable member of the Democrat party, was vice president to Bill Clinton and might have lost to George W Bush in the 2000 election, nobody’s really sure yet. The actual ‘left wing’ credentials of Al Gore, or anybody involved in the Bill Clinton administration, are ‘debatable’ at best, but still the film couldn’t have been fronted by a more pronounced figure of the left wing in the US if it had consisted of Jane Fonda illustrating global warming’s effects by burning her bra. Suddenly, climate change and global warming was a ‘left wing’ idea, and science had been politicised. Rather than inspiring a wider acceptance and understanding of how we’re all slowly destroying the planet because we want nicer cars and soy sauce delivered in under an hour, the science behind global warming suddenly became left wing, and trusting in scientific evidence was somehow a political statement. It really was the start of the belief in the existence of #FakeNews*.
(*#FakeNews: /feɪk//njuːz/, noun, news that you don’t wish to accept or deal with the consequence of)
Because of this politicisation, there is no consensus over the existence of climate change and man made global warming. This is, I just want to reaffirm, fucking insane. It’d be like if in the 1970s people still debating whether dinosaurs existed. Hell, It’d be like people in 1993 arguing whether dinosaurs existed, despite Jurassic Park coming out that year and proving that they did!! No, fuck that: it’s like we’re all stuck slowly filling with water and, rather than furiously debating how to get out of the box, we’re fucking debating the very existence of water while we all slowly and painfully drown in it!! It’s… infuriating.
Now, your views on climate change are likely to fall into one of five groups
- Boo! Climate Change! That Sucks! You’ve read at least the bare fucking minimum of proof, you have the tiniest grasp of the science, and as a result you know that climate change is going to destroy us all and drastic measures are needed to stop the human race from, y’know, dying. There are not enough of these people.
- Boo! Climate Change Doesn’t Exist! OK, so you either think that all the science is just wrong, and there hasn’t been a more widely held incorrect scientific belief since Isaac Newton claimed in 1723 that the whole universe revolved around his erect penis (he wasn’t well toward the end). Or, and this is the one that always gets me, you think that it’s invented as a conspiracy to make more money!! By… whom, exactly? Those huge multinational wind farm corporations? To boost Al Gore’s DVD sales? So you’re saying that all the car and oil companies, the biggest companies in the world, who benefit from polluting the planet, are being out muscled financially by… First Solar? Whole Foods? It’s like the recent study that showed 34% of Brexit voters and 44% of Trump voters believe there’s a secret plot to make Islam the majority religion. Like, that’s fine, believe what you want, but why?? Who is that benefiting?? Why are there all these conspiracies seemingly aimed at just pissing you off??
- Boo! Not Man Made! This is a slightly more palatable type of idiocy, as you at least recognises that global warming is happening, but you don’t think human beings clogging the air with a ridiculous amount of smoke and crap for the last 200 years has anything to do with it. Climate is cyclical, yeah? You read an article on The Daily Stormer saying how the Romans died out because of climate change, and you never heard Caesar bitching about it.
- Boo! Not As Bad As We’re Making Out! I consider this ‘The Dick Position™’, because it means you don’t have to do shit, and the only way you’ll be proved wrong is when the Earth is destroyed, so you know that everyone will be too dead to really gloat. You’re such a dick!
- Boo! So Bad There’s NOTHING We Can Do! Sigh, the lazy environmentalist. This is a very tempting position to take- you’re smart enough to realise how big the crises is, and what the potential consequences are, but you don’t believe there’s anything we can do to stop it, so we may as well just keep doing the awful shit we do and face our imminent destruction. Nihilism is always so appealing because it means you don’t have to do anything. Also, way more chicks.
You’ll notice that, because we’re humans, four out of those five positions require us to do absolutely fuck all. We’re a lazy, lazy species.
I’d probably put myself in the sixth camp, because I a unique angel that defies categorisation (I am so special!). I know it’s real, much like I know penguins are real, and I find it hard to comprehend adults still refusing to acknowledge the existence of penguins despite all the evidence. I also know it’s going to destroy us all.
But I welcome the artistic beauty of it!
I’ve dabbled in writing. In fact, I’m writing this right now. I just stopped then, but I had to start again to tell you that I stopped. Do you see? As an amateur writer, I’m very conscious of the need of a good character arc. The character arc of humanity will be wonderfully complete if man made climate change destroys the entire species. We evolved through necessity, only creating the tools and instruments that we needed to survive, then we industrialised and began to discover the beauty of commodity and the rewards of capitalism. At one point, we discovered what our industrialisation and capitalism was doing to the planet. We first discovered human induced climate change in 18-fucking-96! For more than 120 years we have known about climate change. Even the people who say they don’t believe are only lying to themselves in order to keep enjoying your coffee and your cars and your beef and your iPhones, you fucking knew! Humans knew they were slowly destroying the entire planet since 1896, but didn’t want to stop. We loved our soy sauce so much. Rice is so plain, otherwise, right??
It’s not a narcissistic position- I am still trying to do all I can to be environmentally aware and climate change conscious, but I believe it’s more of a moral choice now than something that’s going to make any difference, like vegetarians don’t believe they’re going to shut down the meat industry. I just really hope I live to see the end of the world. 2025?
69 Minutes (dude)
‘Landfall’ is a pretty stunning piece of work, a legitimately succesful art project. It’s essentially all built to lead up to one extraordinary song, but when that song hits
Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet: Built You A Mountain
Hahahahahaha… ha… hahaha! Wh…wh….what?? You can’t seriously think… Really?? One of the best songs off His best album?? Have a word.