"The Destruction of Soddom and Gomorrah", John Martin, 1852
One of my older friends tells me that during the war everyone in London was off their tits on speed, shagging American soldiers like there was no tomorrow – because it didn’t look like there would be a tomorrow, back then. It seemed like the human race would destroy itself and, fuck me, it certainly had a good go. How many millions of people were killed by millions of other people during the 20th Century? Let’s just say: “lots”. As a species, we survived all that though, created the United Nations and European Union and everyone promised to behave themselves from then on. We even got some really basic shit done in the following years, like giving women equal pay (or at least agreeing that that was a good idea), decriminalising consensual fucking between same sex couples and having a big party for the whole of the 1970s called DISCO. Then something went wrong in the 80s or something and we’re basically on the brink of doom again. It’s probably all Thatcher’s fault. And Reagan's.
I may sound flippant but the shit really is about to hit the fan – I’m sure of this because even the rich old men in suits who run our world seem to have noticed. Prince Charles says “dangerously accelerating climate change” will “bring us to our own destruction” if capitalism doesn’t sort itself out sharpish. Bank of England governor Mark Carney says the social contract is breaking down. Even NASA scientists are saying tings are about to get cray gloomy, saying that if we don't reduce our numbers, "nature will do it for us". Meanwhile, oblivious Britons, especially Londoners, sniff more and more coke, to the point the white stuff is now in the tap water, Americans shoot themselves to death and say there’s nothing that can be done about it. The only people who seem to be benefitting are European fascists, who have seen a surge in popularity. Gay and trans people have spent the past month falling out over the word “tranny”. Ru Paul says the gay community is “eating itself” but I think the problem is waaay bigger than that. Society is eating itself. Doom is in the air. Everywhere.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for it. Bring. It. On. I’d like the apocalypse, now, please. The end of the world could be good fun if we can get it out of the way while millennials are still young enough to make the most of it. Yes, in true millennial style, I couldn’t give a shit about the generation below or above us. Fuck ’em. They’re not special like us, or me especially. If we have Armageddon soon I reckon us millies can go out with a bang. We can commandeer black cabs and raid deserted supermarkets for tinned fruit, 28-Days Later style, or set up strongholds in abandoned shopping malls and get tribal tattoos while noxious smog slowly kills us. I might die my hair blonde like Amber from The Tribe. And then basically start killing people. Yeah, I’ve got a list of fuckers who’d get taken out first. You know who you are. As for my comrades, I’ve got some speed to keep us going, although we’ll probably need to call my dealer to stockpile enough to take us through to the end. Before I drop him a line though and fish out my Lara Croft fancy dress costume (I’m going out in style) I need to know that the beginning of the end has already, you know, actually begun. For real. Not in 20 years time. Or 15. Or even ten.
Apocalypse is for the young. Ish. You need vigour but you also need skills and cunning if you want a chance in hell of fighting off the zombies. I can’t be fucked with all the running about when I’m in my 30s, so just let’s do it all now. Yeah? I’ve got the energy to still be badass if we just accept our dystopian nightmare is inevitable and start it right away. I don’t want to leave it too much longer coz I’ve recently started getting hangovers and I never used to get those when I went out and got pissed on school nights. Sorry. I can’t wait. I can’t cope with the end of the world AND being 30. Let’s fucking have it, large, now, while I’ve got a few years of adventure left in me.
Yes, I wish we could just slip straight to the fun bit – where I run around like Tina Turner in Mad Max – but it won’t start like that, will it? The world contains about 7 billion people at the moment. It’s part of the problem. The United Nations updates this figure every decade or so, celebrating it as a “milestone”. Those people aren’t just going to disappear. Nor are all the guns and bombs and riot shields that the people with power have stored up. They’re not stupid. They know how things could go. Of course, no one will want to let it get that bad, but that will only prolong the suffering. To begin with, money, resources and thought will be used to try and maintain social stability. These noble efforts will be nothing more than chemotherapy, extending our suffering without saving us.
Things will get worse for queers, disabled people, immigrants – all minorities – as we look for someone to take our anger out on. That’s just basic stuff, and it’s already started. Eventually, though, the masses will turn on the rich and then there’ll be real bloodshed far and wide. Society will break down and it won’t be pretty. Disruption spreads like disease. Actual disease spreads like disease. Starvation spreads like disease. One bad crop and whole villages starve to death in Africa. It can happen anywhere and, as things deteriorate, it will.
Are you reading this thinking, “That won’t happen”? That’s what I tell myself too, sometimes, to make myself feel better about things that could very well happen. No one thinks they’ll get hit by a car, but they do. No one thinks they’ll get cancer, but they do. No one thinks they’re going to die from falling over, but they do. Shit happens. People fall and so do empires. Species end.
We need to act now if we wanted to save ourselves, but, honestly, I just don’t see it happening. Maybe it’s my comedown talking, but I genuinely believe there are too many stupid people for us to save Mother Earth. UKIP has taken the lead in the European elections, beating the Greens by a mile. In Britain we seem to be more concerned with having a Romanian living next door to us than the government cracking open the earth and potentially poisoning the water table. But who gives a fuck who you live next to if the whole street is permanently flooded?
Saving the world has got to be worth a try, right? Say hello to the spunky people behind The Future, a last ditch attempt to shock the greedy political elite out of suicidal complacency through any means necessary. Their website has a stark warning: “The future is here. The storm is now. We stand on the brink of a climate catastrophe”. If it sounds like the overly dramatic nonsense you might hear in an action film trailer, good, because this is serious. It isn’t madness or ideological extremism to accept that our current model of “growth” isn’t going to save us from a world that is dying because we insist on the need to rape its finite resources.
However you plan to spend your life, if you seriously wish to see those plans through, you’re going to need to add political agitation to your to do list. I trust the overwhelming scientific consensus on this one. Climate change is happening, we are causing it, and we need to do something about it, now. Capitalism isn’t working. I’m ready for dystopia, but unless we can have it soon, I’d rather not have it at all. Which would you prefer – apocalypse tomorrow, or action today?