Armageddon. A fascinating and terrifying prospect.
As a species, we are obsessed with the possibility of our own annihilation. We revel in the idea of humanity’s potential demise, consuming an array of apocalyptic films, each depicting the coming of the end in many and various imaginative guises.
From the safety of our sofas, we observe Bruce Willis with biceps akimbo – and god lord that man simply does not age – deliver mankind again and again.
When a meteor crashed into the Russian Urals last week, the media found itself in a state of semi-orgasmic rapture. A rock from outer-space colliding with the service of the earth. Melancholia? Not quite, but terrifically exciting nonetheless.
The images broadcast inspired awe in those who saw them. It piqued a fascination with something other-wordly and impossible, allowing us to toy with the idea of our destruction, while apart from an unfortunate few, never being in any real danger.
So if we are so intrigued by the end of the world, why the heck are we not more worked up climate change?
The story simply seems to fallen off the daily news agenda. Perhaps it’s not quite Hollywood enough. Or perhaps it is simply a bit to close to home.
Whatever the reason, there is reluctance to contemplate the very real possibility that, in the not so distant future, our planet will perhaps no longer be able to support life as we know it.
Talking about climate change remains a little bit like talking about a Harry Potter-style world of magic; it’s entertaining to imagine but basically we all know that it isn’t real; the impression being that climate change is fundamentally a topic that should be left to people who eat grass and live in tents woven from hemp.
Except that it isn’t.
It is an issue which affects everyone, with those in “the poorest developing countries hit earliest and hardest by climate change,” according to a recent report by World Vision UK. This seems especially rough as they have contributed little to causing the problem.
Thankfully there are those who are working and campaigning to change raise the profile of this critical issue.
Yesterday, February 17th, 50,000 people joined in the biggest climate action in US history, coming together in Washington DC in order to call upon President Obama to take action on climate change and reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline project proposal.
The organisers were 350.org, “a global movement that’s inspiring the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis.” The action in DC was accompanied by rallies across Europe, each of which represented a stance of solidarity with those resisting extreme fossil fuel projects.
The pressure on Obama to move forward on the Alaskan pipeline is immense. As is the push for him to embrace fracking, as it will help the US reduce its carbon emissions and meet environmental targets.
Although it would seem that there is little that could stand in the way of big business and powerful lobbyists who are keen for such projects to go ahead, from direct experience with the Oil and Gas industry, environmental activists and local campaigners are more difficult to dismiss than one might imagine. Especially once the media gets behind an action.
So let us hope that those who dictate our current news agenda opt away from chasing scoops on Bird Flu or space-rock-near-misses, and see that one of the biggest and most important stories of our time is right under their noses.
It may not be as immediately alluring as a flesh-eating virus let’s say, but our rapid acceleration towards runaway climate-change is a huge deal. It is already directly affecting millions of people every day, while quietly sealing the fate of generations to come.
Furthermore, despite his amazing defiance of the ageing process, he’s not getting any younger… Brucie won’t be around to save us forever.