Apocalypse Review


The Apocalypse Review was first conceived in 1990, which at that time was the hottest (measured) year yet of the Anthropocene. What initiated the conversation was my getting sun-burned after just minutes of exposure to sunlight, a shocking experience for someone from Canada. The quick burning was caused by a combination of a depleted ozone layer and record temperatures, which led to a discussion about how humans were too short-sighted to ever possibly rectify the damage we were doing to our planet. Carbon pollution, habitat destruction and unregulated scientific experimentation were creating too many problems. Perhaps we could adapt to one or two, but certainly not to all of them. Optimists may note that the Montreal climate accord did halt and will eventually undo the damage caused by CFCs to the ozone layer. Pessimists will note that when the decision to use CFCs in refrigeration was made in the 1920s alternatives which were orders of magnitude more harmful were not considered simply because of minor differences in price. This tiny bit of market serendipity arguably saved our species from extinction. Good sense and planning certainly did not.

The idea of the AR was to create an Utne-reader style review of research, anecdotes and art-work related to humans’ annihilation of our planet.  This spirit of nihilism has certainly been justified: in the 27 years since the first discussions about this project were had 21 years have exceeded 1990’s heat record,  the majority of the earth’s wildlife has been killed because of habitat destruction and our oceans are loosing oxygen at a catastrophic rate and entire food chains are being contaminated with plastic. Worse, the will to act in the United States has actually declined because of pernicious and cynical misinformation campaigns and leaders who are little more than shills for the fossil fuel industry.1

If ever there was a need for black humor, it is now.

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