Environmental Apocalypse – The Elephant in the Room

The elephant sighs & eases his hefty weight down into a chair. All around him the party bustles, new acquaintances glad-hand, old friends hug, the booze flows as cleanly as the laughter. Nobody seems to notice the elephant even though they have to stoop and weave to get around him. Even when an abrupt sneeze from the grey mammal covers the nearest smiling faces in tiny specs of hay.

Given the meaty centre of Dogtooth Chronicals concerns environmental apocalypse, it’s probably an elephant at least I should speak of. I try not to come across as self-righteous in general, be it as an environmentalist, a feminist, an atheist, or as a cinephile & booze snob. It is difficult to talk about the environment without sounding a bit self-righteous. That opening gambit about silly humanoid politely ignoring the elephant? Bit self-righteous.

It may be true I was driven to scribble those 700 pages by a gut feeling in 2008 that we were already too late to save ourselves from some big disaster (or more likely several). However, half of what inspired me to keep writing was why we seemed to be walking blithely into the mouth of the monster.

The same is still true. Since I began the project we’ve seen the seasonal changes we expect become unpredictable. Dry springs, wet summers, exceptionally mild winters followed by bitterly cold ones. There have been growths in wildfires, devastating flooding in both the Western World and developing countries and some of the worst hurricanes in my lifetime. It has become a regular occurence to hear of people in the UK (a country with one of the meekest weather patterns) dying as a result of freak weather.

But as a species we quickly numb to these new developments. A psychological evolution happens collectively. It has to, otherwise hysteria would take over & there is nothing worse than mass panic.

One of the problems with climate change is that it is utterly and brutally unpredictable. Sceptics on the issue have been clinging to this as ‘proof’ that man-made climate change is a myth.

“Hey look Mr. Scientist, it didn’t happen the way you predicted!”

Read any research into topics such as Thermohaline Circulation Shutdown (or in English, the dislocation of the Gulf Stream, which happens in Dogtooth Chronicals), you will find words like unpredictable and uncertain. Both in cause and effect. We don’t know if, we don’t know when, we don’t quite know the outcome. Dogtooth Chronicals is Speculative Fiction because all we can do on this topic is speculate.

This leaves us in a state of Cold War with Mother Nature. This is why we continue as The Jason Generation, laughing in the face of death & doomsday, because what the hell else can we do?


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