The United Nations and Oxfam are offering a prize to young writers who can come up with the best story raising “awareness of the harmful impacts of climate change on communities”. (H/T Climate Depot)
Here’s my entry:
Once upon a time there was a fierce and terrifying beast called ManBearPig. He was the most dangerous creature the world had ever seen, rightly feared by everyone save those paid large sums by the oil industry to deny his existence. His favourite diet was the innocent children of future generations. But he was also rather partial to polar bears (which he killed by starvation and drowning), glaciers and polar icecaps (which he melted), and islands in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific (which he drowned).
Many wise and good people set out to slay the dread beast and their names will redound through history. These knights and dames of the Green Table included: Sir Al; Sir Barack (aka “The Black Knight”); Lady Naomi; not to mention the heir to the kingdom himself, Prince Charles (whose trusty steed Astonmartin, it is said, would eat nothing but organic grass). But at every turn their noble efforts were thwarted by the forces of darkness, led by greedy capitalists addicted to oil, refrigeration, travel, hot running water, air conditioning, central heating and other frivolities. The result was that many of us, including almost everyone in the simple village where I live in the middle of Africa, died tragically of climate change, each one of us weeping as we breathed our last: “Why, oh why didn’t they listen and sign an internationally-binding carbon emissions agreement in Paris in December 2015?”
By Simba Umdongo, aged 34. The Hut, Tall Trees Drive, M’Poko Village, Democratic Republic of Congo.
All right. So I had to tell a white lie at the end. (Unfortunately the competition is only open to writers under 35 years from developing countries). But the rest is pretty compelling don’t you think?
What I tried to do was pitch my entry at the level of the people who commissioned it, such as Jo Scheuer, Director, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Wang Binbin, Manager of the Climate Change and Poverty Team, Oxfam, Hong Kong.
That’s why I avoided inserting any unhelpful science or facts which might undermine the “truth” of my “narrative” and instead concentrated on the only stuff that really matters: manipulative images of dying babies and polar bears; airy unsubstantiated claims about imminent climate doom; another plug for the UN climate conference this December.
I think I’m on to a winner so long as the judges don’t do their due diligence and check up the background facts. But hey, they’re the UN, so how likely is that?
If I’m lucky, I’ll win a trip to “attend and cover the COP21 UN climate summit in Paris”, with the UNDP and Oxfam covering my travel costs and daily expenses.
Obviously, in return for my free jaunt – are Paris whores an allowable expense do you think? They surely must be given the UN’s relaxed attitude to sexual mores, such as the child sex abuse by its peacekeeping forces in Africa – I shall feel under absolutely no obligation to cover the conference favourably.
I mean that would be quite wrong, wouldn’t it, if a supposedly impartial, apolitical organisation like the United Nations were to go round simply bribing people to make stuff up in order to advance a scientifically unsupported green agenda?