"Someone my age," writes John Lanchester..., "is likely to have spent a couple of formative decades trying not to think too much about nuclear war"...There was a fact of life that combined "individual impotence and prospective planetary catastrophe". Then along came climate change. "I suspect we're reluctant to think about it because we're worried that if we start we will have no choice but to think about nothing else."The mention of nuclear war resonates. See my post from last December, The day before yesterday.
"In respect of the science," writes Lanchester,"...there is one school of thought, and a few nutters. There is an urgent requirement in the public arena," he continues, "for the issue to be considered now as one of plain fact."
The relations between politics and the arts are complex, especially when it comes to imagining catastrophe. What are the responsibilities of 'cultural workers' in times of crisis, and what to make of, for example, Danny 'Trainspotting' Boyle's Sunshine (Voiceover man: "Every second, somewhere in the Universe a Sun dies. In 2007 it will be ours")? Is it distraction, confusion and bogus science at a time we cannot afford to take our eye off the ball or is it (as I imagine the movie makers would riff) an artistic approach to facing and dealing with massive and inchoate fears?