The Coast seems to be rehearsing climate change like an amateur theatre group tackling King Lear. ‘Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!’ etc. Floods, road washouts, bridge collapses, coastlines disappearing, old rubbish dumps exposed and their contents swirling around in the ocean to inevitably come ashore, glaciers receding, and local bodies trying to cope in a fool’s way, without the underlying wisdom of Lear’s capering playmate (‘We’ll set thee to school to an ant…’). Mayors astride bulldozers build walls without consent, asset managers repair sea walls that are washed away in the next king tide, incinerator plants that will bring prosperity disappear at the next meeting of shareholders, economic development managers ride from one stuff up to another with all the reckless thuggery of the sisters’ husbands. Goneril and Regan eye the Provincial Growth Fund, eager for a handout to rearm their troops. And still the denial: Well maybe something’s happening but it’s not human driven, it’s just our old friend, or enemy, Nature. Meanwhile the Chinese watch (‘I smell mortality’), waiting for the signal to come and sort things out.
King Lear, (the old Coast) staggers around pathetically, having rejected his daughter, Solidarity. His voice (the local paper) becomes schizoid. Environmental disasters are pasted next to the latest case of some P addict robbing his mother, an eighty year old publishing her first book of poems rests near inaccessible glaciers, the gala day next to a bridge washout, the school swimming sports next to an exploding sea wall, some nostalgic heritage photos next to Trump and Brexit. No one knows what’s hit them. They’ve all been blinded. What might it mean? Give up coal and oil, air travel, mass tourism, consumerism… spend life groping around in the dark? Ridiculous.
Time ticks on and the fool sings a song of future chaos on a global scale (‘Look, here comes a walking fire’).
Exeunt, with a dead march.
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