George Monbiot and Logan's Run

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The election of Donald Trump in the United States has had a huge effect on global feelings about our future on this planet. The slight warm, fuzzy feeling that the Paris Climate Agreement gave people - which was an event big on holding hands but small on legally binding targets - has gone.

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A good example of such gloom is an article in the Guardian newspaper this week from George Monbiot. George’s article is headed with a still from the film ‘The Road’, based on the brilliant but extremely depressing novel by Cormac McCarthy, which describes a post-collapse USA, freezing cold and inhabited by roving bands of violent cannibals. George makes it clear that the combination of Trump and his team, plus the far right surge in Europe, combined with climate change and the dwindling life in our over-worked soils, makes for a very grim future. He ends his article by saying:

“So the key question is not how we weather them [the problems listed so far] but how – if this is possible – we avert them. Can it be done? If so what would it take?”

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Which leads us neatly to Logan’s Run, the classic science fiction movie from the 1970’s starring Michael York and Jenny Agutter. Logan’s Run is all about a domed habitat on Earth in which lots of young, lovely people have a great time until they’re thirty, when they die. They’re mostly pretty happy with this, especially since they’ve been told that if they do well at the final Carousel event, which they compete in when they turn thirty, they can even escape death and be reborn.

Of course, our heroes aren’t happy with this and want to find a better place where you don’t have to die when you’re thirty. [Plot spoiler] They escape the dome and find the world outside. They spend an interminable amount of time chatting to a hammy Peter Ustinov who plays an old man, then they return to the dome. Their newfound knowledge collapses the dome. In the chaos, its inhabitants escape into the real world and collectively enjoy touching Ustinov’s extensive wrinkles while he gurgles like a dopy baby.

The strange thing is; the dome of Logan’s Run is actually an answer to George Monbiot’s article! Logan’s Run has a fixed size population with mandatory culling of older members, protection from the elements, a vegetarian diet and a stable system. All these elements will be vital in our future, on a planet that is no longer a limitless, bounteous place. It is true that the idea of collective reproduction without family units seems terrible - most of us want to know our mums - but would it really matter if children were brought up by a collection of caring people and their biological parentage was unknown? It would certainly reduce our current problems with nepotism and dynastic control. It’s a freaky but not nightmarish idea.

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The society of Logan’s Run, as a possible future for ourselves, is even more appealing if we add in what the natural world on our planet will actually be like in a century, compared to that portrayed in Logan’s Run. In the film, the world outside the dome is very nice, just like the twentieth century. In our real future, our planet is very likely to become an extremely inhospitable place, with vast storms, floods, baking deserts and only a few habitable areas. If the film had had that as the wild world outside its dome, Michael York’s and Jenny Agutter’s characters would have escape the dome and found an absolute hell-hole outside. They’d look around, choking and reeling, and realise where Sanctuary actually was; their own dome! It’s a downbeat ending but I quite like its poetic twist. Also, such an ending would have avoided half an hour of Ustinov’s addled mumblings, which is enough justification all by itself.

Although I’m talking light-heartedly about the dome of Logan’s Run being a solution to our current crisis, it is, in truth, a deadly-serious matter. If anyone seriously conducts a thorough assessment of our future on this planet, they will rapidly conclude that we are collectively in deep shit. George Monbiot thinks that we will suffer nuclear war and complete social breakdown in his lifetime (i.e. the next forty years). Monbiot has come to that conclusion without even factoring in how a single, large-scale catastrophic natural event (eruption, sea mount slide etc) could rapidly hasten that result, thereby tipping our current, cliff-edge financial, climate-change, agricultural and militaristic situation into total collapse.

We really need to think about a lifeboat for humanity, a new Ark, as soon as possible. We are, collectively as a species, absolutely on borrowed time. We're on the deck of a sinking ship, or standing around in a spaceship while the computer counts down the self-destruct sequence, or in the cabin in the woods on Halloween with the sun setting (you get the picture).

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In many ways, it is deeply disturbing that there is no debate at all in our media about creating some sort of lifeboat for our species. Considering the current scientific predictions for what our planet will be like a century, it’s shocking that no country is openly discussing the need for an Ark, a haven against the planet's future ravages. This total absence of a plan seems to indicate two things; either that no one is making such a haven a priority, in which case we could all go extinct in five hundred years time. Alternatively, the truth is that some people are working on an Ark but not telling anyone outside their circle. That possibility is explored in my articles investigating the facts behind the infamous television programme Alternative 3.

In summary, I think George Monbiot is right with his prediction that we face nuclear war, agricultural collapse and social disintegration in the next forty years. It’s not a fun prediction but then, neither was predicting the significant possibility that Trump would become President. In fact, it's such a bad prospect that even the disturbing world of Logan’s Run sounds appealing! What's more, such a place needs to be built as soon as possible. Now, how bad is that?!