A small (but perfectly formed) group of MCFly writers and readers met recently to discuss George Orwell’s Animal Farm. MCFly volunteer Mark Haworth made a cool observation that we have cajolled him into writing down –
About half-way through Animal Farm there is the following passage:
If a window was broken or a drain was blocked up, someone was certain to say that Snowball had come in the night and done it, and when the key of the store-shed was lost the whole farm was convinced that Snowball had thrown it down the well. Curiouslty enough they went on believing this even after the mislaid key was found under a sack of meal.
Which made me think of climate change, and how people continue to doubt that humans are primarily responsible. Even on things such as the link between the burning of fossil fuels and climate change, an alarming percentage of the population still disagree with the evidence. For example, a recent UK poll from December 2011 found that only 20% of people said the statement ‘Every time we use coal or gas or oil we contribute to climate change’ was ‘definitely true’. 51% said it was ‘probably true’ and 17% said it was ‘defintiely/ probably not true’. (Source: British Social Attitudes 28 pp100). Another reminder that facts and evidence alone are not enough to change people’s minds, especially when the truth is this inconvenient.
The next book group is on Monday 5th March, at the Friends Meeting House, from 7pm. The book under discussion will be The Handmaid’s tale, by Margaret Atwood.
I also found another good analogy –
Right at the start of the book, the Rebellion is being discussed as an event that will happen at some unknown point of the future. Questions being asked by the animals were (quote p10, chapter2):
” ‘Why should we care what happens after we are dead?’ or ‘If this Rebellion is to happen anyway, what difference does it make whether we work for it or not'”.
This is very comparable to attitudes towards climate change… the most serious impacts will be felt by future generations: at best it is difficult for some people to visualize such a timeline ; at worst they can’t be bothered with people they don’t know anyway ; so having an interest in what will be going on in 80- 150 years from now is “not really my urgent problem after all I’ll be dead then”…
Similarly the size and inevitability of climate change can be too daunting for people, and they lose sight of the part they play in both, so if it’s going to happen anyway, why should I bother trying to stop it…
(;-) the things you get when you actually read the book..)