It seems Hollywood these days can’t make a movie set more than a couple hours into the future without the earth dying due to human abuse. Global warming, pollution, whatever, it is hard to find a futuristic movie whose premise isn’t based, in whole or part, on humanity destroying the planet.
Thanks to one of my sons, I’ve learned that there is actually a technical term for this genre of film—cli-fi.
The term is a take-off of sci-fi, of course, only with the base premise that humanity has screwed up the climate of planet earth. Usually so badly that the planet is dying, or humanity is dying, or we have to head offworld to find a new planet to live on/destroy, etc. This isn’t a new premise for sci-fi (my absolute favorite movie is Blade Runner, and a more dystopian view of the future you’ll be hard-pressed to find), but Hollywood currently seems unable to envision a future where everything is just fine, or no worse than today. Just about every sci-fi movie is now a cli-fi movie. Because we’re killing the planet, you know.
I don’t buy into this view of the future. Both my novel Bestiarii and its upcoming sequel Fire and Bone are set 30-40 years from now, and while there are still a lot of wars around the world (because people generally suck, always have, always will) the planet itself is just fine. Yes, there’s a bad drought in Fire and Bone, which I use as a plot mechanic to enable wildfires, but there have always been wet years and dry years, droughts and floods. In the book I don’t blame it on anyone or anything. Nature is cyclical.
I’m old enough to have lived through these kinds of environmental scares before. Overpopulation. Acid rain. Global cooling. The hole in the ozone. Polar ice caps melting. None of the predictions were accurate, so forgive my skepticism.
Acid rain…turned out not to be a thing. Global cooling…didn’t happen. The hole in the ozone…turned out to be natural, and not caused by CFCs (so can we please please get back to using freon?). Average global temperatures actually haven’t gone up since the 1990s, and the polar ice caps are just fine—and if your “news” sources are telling you different, they’re trying to sell you something, probably fear. I recommend reading State of Fear by Michael Crichton for a real education on the subject.
Having worked as a private investigator, doing work for insurance companies, for the better part of twenty years, I can tell you that the main reason for the existence of insurance companies is to make a profit by denying any and all claims. If scientific data actually showed that sea levels were rising or going to rise, no insurance company in the world would insure coastline property. Or the premiums would skyrocket astronomically. That hasn’t happened.
Yes, the world’s population has increased, and keeps increasing, and at some point in the future when humanity’s numbers are untenable there will be a natural adjustment to our population—perhaps a world/nuclear war, but more likely a pandemic. A real pandemic, that kills off a measurable percentage of the world’s population. Population die-offs in nature are a very common occurrence. Look for a James Tarr novel about that sometime in the future….
I won’t deny that there are portions of the world that are getting chewed up by people, but it ain’t America. However, the activists in our country just don’t seem to be interested in going to those countries and protesting their pollution and emissions and wholesale dumping of plastic in the ocean. Probably because countries like Indonesia and China (the biggest polluter in the world by far) would just throw them in jail….