I once heard an interview with an old reporter. They asked him what was, in his opinion, the most important thing he’d learned in his career. His answer was; “No trend ever reaches it’s ‘logical conclusion’. I find this quite comforting, as the ‘logical conclusion’ to all of the grim environmental news we get paints a pretty depressing picture. Certainly it has been fodder for any number of dystopic science–fiction scenarios, and I’m quite confident that these will continue to be produced. In fact, I wish them the greatest success.
Personally, I do not want to live in some post ecological catastrophe world. I doubt it would have the internet, or good coffee. And then there’s the whole eating other people thing. I’m told people taste like Spam™. To Hell with that. I hate Spam™.
Luckily, I don’t really think it’s going to happen. And not because the librul media is trying to destroy jobs and take away our assault weapons. If anything, I think the ecological problems are severely under-reported, because most people are too stupid to care. No, if these terrible things fail to materialize, I firmly believe that it will be because of the science-fiction depicting it in various horrible ways.
There are people, a lot of people, who don’t think about long term consequences. They cheerfully pour seventeen tons of pig manure into the river behind their house every day and never give it a second thought. But show that same person a movie (Yes, yes, I’m sure there are pig farmers who are voracious readers. I’ll bet they write poetry too. I got news for you. The other pig farmers mock them) about an ecological disaster brought about by improper waste disposal, and there’s a chance he might think twice before dumping. Maybe. But his neighbors will think about it. As will the people downstream, and their legislatures.
There is a story about a researcher who went to some out-of-the-way jungle somewhere. There was a local stone-age tribe who he employed to find a particular flower. He explained that the flower was yellow. They had no idea what he was talking about. They had no word for yellow, and were completely unfamiliar with the concept. The researcher patiently explained what ‘yellow’ was and provided examples. He said that almost instantly they came back, very excited, exclaiming; “This ‘yellow’ stuff is everywhere!”
I think of writers of science-fiction disaster novels as analogous to that researcher. They patiently explain some astonishingly new concept, show us what to look for, tell us where to look, and try to extrapolate what could happen if we let things keep on going the way they are going.
When the writer his his job successfully, we put down the book, look around and exclaim. “Holy cow! This stuff is everywhere!”