I want to start out by addressing younger readers in particular. And what I have to say to you is stark. It is this: your leaders have failed you; your governments have failed you; your parents and their generation have failed you; your teachers have failed you; and I have failed you.
I’ve just published a book, called A Film-Philosophy of Ecology and Enlightenment. In this book, I discuss films such as The Road, Melancholia, Gravity and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
But what’s it all about? What does the title of my book mean?
I’ll briefly explain, by way of an example. Which constitutes a kind of ‘trailer’ for the book…
I’ve just published a book, called ‘A film-philosophy of ecology and enlightenment’. (You can read the early part of it for free here
…Don’t attempt to buy it unless you are independently wealthy — it’s madly expensive. Wait for the paperback next year — or, much better idea, order it for/through your library, now.)
Climate-nemesis is near-certain. But “near-certain” is not yet “inevitable”. On the contrary, it is still uncertain. By making it sound inevitable, we run the risk of fomenting inaction at the worst possible time. We need to prepare for what is near-certain. But if we give up trying to stop it then it will become inevitable. We need to try to stop it: roll on the eXtinction Rebellion.
Green World, like the Green Party itself, has been ahead of the curve on so many issues. Possibly the most important issue of them all is the climate crisis.
But we have to be honest with ourselves; there has not been nearly enough success on this. This is the age of consequences. There are already consequences – and these will only multiply – of the human failure to act adequately on climate.
Instead of facing up to the reality of the climate crisis, even we Greens tend to slip into a sort of lived denial of what we humans are doing to our climate.
I had a chastening experience the other day. I went to my local municipal dump (aka ‘the recycling centre’), to recycle (or, as it turned out: to dump…) some old carpets that had been covering ground where no growth was occurring, at my allotment. What chastened me was something that I, perhaps like you, somewhere deep down knew was true, but had managed to make myself forget. Namely: how much of our rubbish is still just that. Stuff that cannot be recycled, but is simply destined to be stockpiled, burned, or landfilled.
This winter, now finally ending, has seen disturbing early signs of the Earth’s climate starting perhaps to go out of control. The fierce cold snap in the UK occurred because the Arctic’s normal weather came down here; meanwhile, the Arctic was off-the-scale warm.
It’s time we faced up to reality: humanity is almost certainly going to have to learn to live in a world that has been radically damaged and transformed by human-triggered climate change. We are – virtually all of us, either softly or (less often) explicitly – in climate denial. The greenhouse gases we have polluted the atmosphere with have already set us down a path of serious and possibly irreversible environmental disruption, and the prospect of technocratic rescue is as unlikely as it is worrying on its own terms.
For those tens of millions of us who have been watching the extraordinary
‘Blue Planet II’, the final programme in the series (which looked at the human-caused threats facing the seas) may have come as both a wake-up call and a disappointment. Disappointment, at what we’ve done to this beautiful planet. And perhaps also, disappointment that the BBC didn’t look deeply enough into why these harms have happened.
What emerges when we reflect more profoundly in this way?