The emotional journey of climate change: Armitage

Twenty-odd years ago Bill McKibben called the climate crisis the biggest story in the world. Now, after years of scanty media coverage, by its own admission, The Guardian has launched a major effort to, in its own words, find a new narrative to tell a twenty year old story. They're going all out, with media (such as podcasts dramatizing their own deliberations) they've never tried before.   

Have we not changed enough? Do we not get it? Need we move from accepting the science to taking action?

(Well, duh.)

But surely it would help if we could connect emotionally to the struggle to make a change. Change is hard. Countless allusions and gestures in dumb science-fiction/action films, no matter how huge, to climate and crisis don't seem to help. In truth, it's a tough story to tell well.

Here's a dance about it, staged most appropriately at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, by choreographer Karen Armitage. She has known the ecologist Paul Ehrlich of Stanford for decades, and has worked with his words in On the Nature of Things to express, as she said, that "the fact of global warming gives me dismay." She goes on to argue that dance, because it works through the body, without words, might be better equipped to tell this difficult story than other forms.

I kind of like the way she put it in The New York Times today:

This is a love affair with nature: It goes through some very tormented and dark and difficult times, but like any love affair, in order for it to continue, you have to grow.


Are we going to have to accept nature's anger at our excesses? Is that what she is hinting? 

Hmmm. Do we rightly fear nature's retribution? Is that part of our resistance to this story?

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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