George Monbiot and Logan's Run
“So the key question is not how we weather them [the problems listed so far] but how – if this is possible – we avert them. Can it be done? If so what would it take?”
Of course, our heroes aren’t happy with this and want to find a better place where you don’t have to die when you’re thirty. [Plot spoiler] They escape the dome and find the world outside. They spend an interminable amount of time chatting to a hammy Peter Ustinov who plays an old man, then they return to the dome. Their newfound knowledge collapses the dome. In the chaos, its inhabitants escape into the real world and collectively enjoy touching Ustinov’s extensive wrinkles while he gurgles like a dopy baby.
The strange thing is; the dome of Logan’s Run is actually an answer to George Monbiot’s article! Logan’s Run has a fixed size population with mandatory culling of older members, protection from the elements, a vegetarian diet and a stable system. All these elements will be vital in our future, on a planet that is no longer a limitless, bounteous place. It is true that the idea of collective reproduction without family units seems terrible - most of us want to know our mums - but would it really matter if children were brought up by a collection of caring people and their biological parentage was unknown? It would certainly reduce our current problems with nepotism and dynastic control. It’s a freaky but not nightmarish idea.
The society of Logan’s Run, as a possible future for ourselves, is even more appealing if we add in what the natural world on our planet will actually be like in a century, compared to that portrayed in Logan’s Run. In the film, the world outside the dome is very nice, just like the twentieth century. In our real future, our planet is very likely to become an extremely inhospitable place, with vast storms, floods, baking deserts and only a few habitable areas. If the film had had that as the wild world outside its dome, Michael York’s and Jenny Agutter’s characters would have escape the dome and found an absolute hell-hole outside. They’d look around, choking and reeling, and realise where Sanctuary actually was; their own dome! It’s a downbeat ending but I quite like its poetic twist. Also, such an ending would have avoided half an hour of Ustinov’s addled mumblings, which is enough justification all by itself.
Although I’m talking light-heartedly about the dome of Logan’s Run being a solution to our current crisis, it is, in truth, a deadly-serious matter. If anyone seriously conducts a thorough assessment of our future on this planet, they will rapidly conclude that we are collectively in deep shit. George Monbiot thinks that we will suffer nuclear war and complete social breakdown in his lifetime (i.e. the next forty years). Monbiot has come to that conclusion without even factoring in how a single, large-scale catastrophic natural event (eruption, sea mount slide etc) could rapidly hasten that result, thereby tipping our current, cliff-edge financial, climate-change, agricultural and militaristic situation into total collapse.
We really need to think about a lifeboat for humanity, a new Ark, as soon as possible. We are, collectively as a species, absolutely on borrowed time. We're on the deck of a sinking ship, or standing around in a spaceship while the computer counts down the self-destruct sequence, or in the cabin in the woods on Halloween with the sun setting (you get the picture).
In summary, I think George Monbiot is right with his prediction that we face nuclear war, agricultural collapse and social disintegration in the next forty years. It’s not a fun prediction but then, neither was predicting the significant possibility that Trump would become President. In fact, it's such a bad prospect that even the disturbing world of Logan’s Run sounds appealing! What's more, such a place needs to be built as soon as possible. Now, how bad is that?!