Save The Planet

Political Rhetoric, 1970

What happens when you feed a generation of bipedal apes superhero movies, iPhones, and Al Gore TED Talks.

No-one could have articulated the absurdity of human conceit more hilariously than comic George Carlin in his 1992 HBO Special “Jammin In New York” - indicating how long this kind of Messianic rhetoric has been going on. Apocalyptic literature has existed for thousands of years and the apocalyptic film genre since the 1950s, but the “religious” aspect can be traced to not only the Y2K bug but the (often secular) umbrella belief structure of Millenarianism. Henri Desroche observed in “Dieux d’hommes. Dictionnaire des messianismes et millénarismes de l’ère chrétienne” (1969) adherents shared a tripartite ideology of increasing oppression, “resistance” to it, and a resulting Utopian finality of liberation - which we have all heard before. This latest round was almost undoubtedly triggered by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claim in its 2018 report regarding the number of years we have left until the carbon budget is used up for 1.5°C of warming (approximately 12). Letters signed by “hundreds of scientists” turned out to be mostly… social scientists, such as psychotherapists and gender studies professors.

We were to be in dire famine by 1975 (Salt Lake Tribune, November 17, 1967), disappeared in a cloud of blue steam by 1989 (New York Times, August 10 1969), in an ice age by 2000 (Boston Globe, April 16, 1970), food rationing by 1980 (Redlands Daily Facts, October 6, 1970), yet another ice age (Washington Post, July 9, 1971, NOAA, October 2015, Guardian, January 29, 1974, TIME, June 24, 1974), all life was in peril (NASA), endless cooling (New York Times Book Review, July 18, 1976), days over 90F (1988), 30ft underwater in 2008 (Agence France Press, September 26, 1988), obliterated by rising seas by 2000 (Associated Press, June 30, 1989), famine again in 2010 (The Independent, March 20, 2000), Siberian climate by 2020 (Guardian, February 21, 2004), ice-free arctic by 2013 and 2018 (Al Gore, Associated Press, June 24, 2008), had only 8 years to save the world (Prince Charles, 2009), were 50 days from death (Independent: October 20, 2009), were 500 days before ‘climate chaos’ (French Foreign Minister, 2014), and in 1970 “Earth Day” issue of The Progressive magazine, 4 billion people would perish in the “Great Die-Off”. By far the most spectacular however, was Al Gore’s infamous prediction Earth “would reach a point of no return within 10 years” - in 2006.