Tim Evans and Christine Kings
"The Greenhouse Effect had been quite gradual, and Haber, born in 1962, could clearly remember the blue skies of his childhood. Nowadays the eternal snows were gone from all the world's mountains, even Everest, even Erebus, fiery-throated on the waste Antarctic shore." Ursula LeGuin, The Lathe of Heaven, 1971
Yes, that's right. 1971. Anyone who cared to look, read or think already knew climate change was coming if we continued to abuse the earth. LeGuin repeated this prediction in 1974 in her most famous novel, The Dispossessed:
"We multiplied and gobbled and fought until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite not violence; we did not adapt. We destroyed ourselves. But we destroyed the world first. There are no forests left on my Earth. The air is grey, the sky is grey, it is always hot. It is habitable, it is still habitable – but not as this world is. This is a living world, a harmony. Mine is a discord…."
Well, useless now to curse the blind stupidity of three wasted decades. What will happen next?
In The Lathe of Heaven a man with no moral centre tries to rescue the world by imposing dreams on it. This ends in horror – the horror expressed in every individual's dreams. It's also a comment on the delusion of the quick technical fix.
In The Dispossessed, a totalitarian permanent state of emergency:
"Well, we had saved what could be saved, and made a kind of life in the ruins, on Terra, in the only way it could be done: by total centralisation. Total control over the use of every acre of land, every scrap of metal, every ounce of fuel. Total rationing, birth control, euthanasia, universal conscription into the labour force. "
Set against this, a viable society in a semi-arid wilderness, built on the principles of anarchism – a shared and evolved dream, if you like, instead of an individual's neuroses.
A member of that society says to the delegate of the ruined Earth:
"We cannot come to you. You will not let us. You do not believe in change, in evolution. You would rather destroy us than admit our reality – rather than admit that there is hope. We cannot come to you. We can only wait for you to come to us."
Perhaps we are living at the moment when that possibility is still open.