Somehow, we as a church need to find our way through to the recognition of how this crisis has unfolded through a long, but even more so more recent history of human trespassing of limits, through hubris and pride. This takes us back, theologically and existentially, to “the fall”, to the eating of the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. To the failure of our species before the one opening , declared “purpose” of God for our existence: “to till and to keep”.
I thought of this as I read more in the David Wallace-Wells book I’ve been quoting in the past week or so, and come upon this opening to the chapter titled “Storytelling”:
On-screen, climate devastation is everywhere you look, and yet nowhere in focus, as though we are displacing our anxieties about global warming by restaging them in theaters of our own design and control—perhaps out of hope that the end of days remains “fantasy.”
Game of Thrones opens with an unmistakable climate prophecy, but warns “winter is coming”; the premise of Interstellar is an environmental scourge, but the scourge is a crop blight.
Children of Men depicts civilization in semi-collapse, but collapsed by a fertility menace. Mad Max: Fury Road unfurls like a global-warming panorama, a scrolling saga of a world made desert, but its political crisis comes, in fact, from an oil shortage.
The protagonist of The Last Man on Earth is made that way by a sweeping virus, the family of A Quiet Place is hushed by giant insect predators lurking in the wilderness, and the central cataclysm of the “Apocalypse” season of American Horror Story is a throwback—a nuclear winter.
In the many zombie apocalypses of this era of ecological anxiety, the zombies are invariably rendered as an alien force, not an endemic one. That is, not as us.
Wallace-Wells, David. The Uninhabitable Earth (pp. 143-144). Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition.