Is there anything funny about COP15?
Surely there must be some humor about climate change, environmental disasters and missed opportunities at Copenhagen amongst all the doom and gloom, denial and political deal making. Maybe I’m a jaded snob, but the guy in the polar bear suit just isn’t funny to me. I’m actually a bit tired of polar bears and pandas. They’re cute and all, but no one really cares about them that much. The emblem of environmentalism should be something that the most people with the most power hold dear. If only somehow climate change meant no more Super Bowls or an end to X-Factor finals. What if greenhouse gasses interfered with cell phone reception or broadband speed? Then the Green movement could use a giant Blackberry with frowny face. Or how about a logo depicting a fat person forced to carry groceries home on a bicycle? That would shake up even a devout climate skeptic. Better safe than sorry, right guys?
But before I digress too much: back to climate humor. I actually did laugh at David Mitchell’s piece in last Sunday’s Observer/Guardian and while this guy at Grist.org tries and sometimes succeeds in being mildly amusing – he even ‘zings’ a climate skeptic – he doesn’t really address any issues. You have to do both, In My Humble Opinion. Naomi Klein tries to include a few notes of humor in her blog on The Nation, but it’s hardly the kind of stuff that makes me blow my organic cornflakes out my nostrils. I guess the reality of how people behave is often funnier than any comment you can make regarding climate change, especially if you write them at the bottom of every environmentally themed article in the Guardian or Times. Actual climate camps and drum circles are funnier than some guy from Minnesota saying ‘Global warming? Bring it on!’ That joke is just tired. Maybe Sarah Silverman needs to make another convenient truth video. The last one was like two years ago.
It could even be considered funny that the Mustang Ranch, famous for being the first legal brothel in the United States, is set to become an ecological landmark in Nevada. Still, that’s not as funny as Copenhagen’s prostitutes offering free sex to COP15 delegates. So far only a couple of offers have been redeemed – the rest would presumably rather pay and be debauched anonymously. Wait a sec, is all green humor is prostitution related?
I guess in the end I shouldn’t be so hard on the guy in the polar bear suit. He is out there on the front lines, working hard and generating plenty of publicity for the cause of climate change, which is far more important than appealing to my sense of humor. As a sign of goodwill I will even link the polar bear’s blog. Take that, climate change!
By Graham Land