The End of (Almost) Everything and (Almost) Everyone

smokestacks and air pollution
Smoke stacks at a sugar factory in Belle Glade, Florida. Photo by Kim Semg (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Writing in The Baffler, Laurie Penny explores what it will mean for the civilization to collapse slowly, because of climate change, rather than in a single nuclear bang.

For anyone who grew up in the Cold War, the apocalypse was a simple yes-no question: either it was coming, or it wasn’t. Many people I know who grew up before the end of the nuclear arms race describe this as oddly freeing: there was the sense that since the future might explode at any point, it was not worth the effort of planning. Climate change is  species collapse by a thousand cuts. There will be no definite moment can say that yes, today we are fucked, and yesterday we were unfucked. Instead the fuckery increases incrementally year on year, until this is the way the world ends: not with a bang, not with a bonfire, but with the slow and savage confiscation of every little thing that made you human, starting with hope.

Read the essay