CLIMATE CHANGE: THAT’S FUNNY?
Satirists have been trying to keep up with report after report by eminent scientists warning us that the way we live is imposing strains on our planet; that already we have threatened the existence of a million forms of life; and the rest could be eventually extinguished unless we prevent global temperatures rising less that 1.5 degrees Centigrade.
On the face of it the possible extinction of the human race ia not very promising material for humor. But there has always been an audience for gallows humor. Moreover, in this context satirists are not mocking our imminent extinction, but using their genre for its traditional purpose of deriding our failure (and especially the failure of our leaders) to do what must be done to save us from disaster.
So from the early days of Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert on cable TV the decline of the environment has been a prime subject for jokes, and this continues to be the case on all the late night shows. The Onion comes back to it repeatedly. Cartoonists draw scary pictures of ruined landscapes and defunct species.
Even scientists, impressed by the persuasive power of satire, have joined the chorus. Four French scientists have warned in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evoluion: “We do not care about Planet Earth…Should Planet Earth stick with its hardline ideologial stance…we will seek a second planet.”
Of course, climate deniers can also use satire, arguing that this is all part of an over-excited, leftish plan to panic us into the destruction of our traditional systems. For example, the conservative cartoonist, Ramirez, seizes on interruptions in global warming to depict a particularly uncomfortable scene of global freezing. But while Ramirez can look to scientists who challenge the prevailing consensus on climate dangers, a John Oliver show nicely presented the balance of expert opinion, pitting 97 climate change scientists against three deniers to create a “statistically representative climate change debate.”
Here’s my own assessment:
1.5 in Centigrade, not even two degrees
Although it seems a small amount, don’t go there if you please.
You wouldn’t think this modest change disasters would inspire
And yet we’re told the consequence is likely to be dire.
Inside of three or four decades or maybe even less
The heat throughout the tropic lands will cause tremendous stress
Melting of the arctic ice is not a wild surmise
And coastal cities face the threat of oceans on the rise
The latest expert warning has been causing much dismay:
Extinguishing a million forms of life is on its way
Though Trump and his supporters say it’s all a silly fuss,
That sad endangered species list will soon extend to us.
We live mostly in the present, our priority is now.
But scientists are telling us to face the fact somehow
That instead of our proposing all our comforts to enhance
We have to change our thinking so our grand-kids have a chance.