A Game Of Bones
The Climes, They Are A'Changing...
Alexander Gordon Jahans
I do not say this often, because I don’t think it’s often true, but George RR Martin is a genius. A Game of Thrones opens with the introduction of the White Walkers. Every scifi and fantasy tv show or film ever has programmed me to believe that the threat will be dealt with by the end of episode one or will at least be an ongoing major threat. Instead the threat lingers and the stakes and danger rises but the vast majority of people don’t give a shit because as the show illustrates, they’ve got their own damned problems to deal with.
I came into politics because of the danger posed by climate change and then I got lost. Trans rights, the Feminist movement, Black Lives Matter, Islamophobia, the horror of Israel’s Foreign Policy, North Korea, Russia stirring, the rise of Fascism, Neoliberalism and the creeping threat of Technological Unemployment. There are so many political footballs in play, so many ideological wars being fought.
Then today after two weeks or so of unnaturally glorious sun in cocking England I am woken by thunder and lighting. Do you know why global warming is a bad thing? Why climate change is truly terrifying? You see weather is a complicated system of interdependent physics phenomenon. Wind speeding up through this valley here, heated up here, cooled there and the interactions where hot and cold air meet. The thing most people don’t appreciate about global warming is that the weather gets wilder because it isn’t a uniform temperature increase.
Oh icecaps will melt under global warming but will take a long time for all cold spots to diminish. Storms happen where hot air and cold air meet. Global Warming increases the likelihood and intensity of storms by increasing the temperature differential between hot air and cold air. It’s like pouring boiling hot water on a frozen pipe, the intense reaction caused by the difference in relative temperatures causes the pipe to crack and break where a cooler heat would have allowed the pipe to thaw.
The other thing to consider is how hard it is to cool stuff down once things get hot and how much of life needs to live within a precise goldilocks zone of temperatures. Temperatures that climate change is moving us out of. Already we have witnessed mass extinctions as climate change destroys so many different forms of life. This shit is real, it is happening and things are dying right now because of it.
Which brings me back to Game Of Thrones. The walkers are established early on and they are the big threat for all mankind but George RR Martin shows that nobody gives a fuck. It’s not that they’re stupid, it’s just that with their lives already in danger, believing in a far off threat being more important seems ridiculous. The Lannisters are playing a long game to consolidate power. The Baratheons are trying to claim the throne that is rightfully theirs and the Starks just want to survive while the Boltons don’t give a shit about anything or anyone. It is so tempting to get frustrated at how the clans can’t see the importance of this existential threat to all their peoples and yet you can also so easily get caught up in the personal struggles that don’t advance the cause of fighting the white walkers.
We are just so stupid. We focus on the axe in front of our face, not the avalanche coming to destroy us and our attackers. Heck I’ve done the same. I got caught up in the struggle against the evil empire, I stressed out about the death of capitalism and how will our economy survive the removal of jobs. I have written article after article debating the morality of revolution and the bloodshed it causes when all the while climate change has been slowly increasing.
It is two years since I graduated university, two years since my parents first separated, two years since I got diagnosed with Kallman’s Syndrome, two years since the fascists became obsessed with me. I am tired, in pain and I have long since abandoned what fucks I had to give but as I feel my own time running out I find myself returning to what got me caring about politics in the first place. Our climate is changing, our planet is warming and none of our struggles hold a candle to the truly existential threat that poses. Fascists can get deposed, empires get overthrown, revolutions stabilise after so many different rounds of bloodshed, even nuclear war does not pose as existential a threat as climate change.
Except in a way Game of Thrones has a far easier problem to solve. Humans understand the concept of allying against a bigger enemy and an army of the undead can be killed. There is no way to ‘kill’ climate change dead. We don’t have the liberty of waiting until the undead horde pricks the sides of the powerful. By the time the powerful realise the truly existential danger of climate change and treat it like the apollo space program and put the whole country towards achieving a solution, it will already be too late.
Which is of course the point where stupid fuckwits insist there’s no point in even fucking trying. Oh... You poor fools are so fortunate I have morality because otherwise there would be a special section of hell reserved for me to have my fun with these arrogant condescending negligent morons. We try because the alternative is giving up on humanity and I am not ready to do that. If I had such a defeatist attitude I would already be dead because after all if the solution is going to be hard and it’s unlikely to be enacted, what’s the point in even living out the time I have left?
We need to combat climate change because if we don’t it is going to destroy everything we care about. This is serious, this is happening and we need a global mass organised movement to counter it and I do not give a slightest fuck what arguments you have against it.