Complex problems with no solutions prompt a psychological response – anxiety, fear and that rabbit-in-headlights feeling. Anxieties such as Brexit, poor national leadership, COVID and climate change simply add layer on layer.
Adam Curtis in his film Hypernormalisation details how those in power explain a complex World in ways anyone can understand – using simplistic, divisive and often just plain wrong explanations.
Initial responses to climate change denying it, saying it might be true, discussing the truth or not, then saying it was far in the future, are ways of controlling a planetary effect that the current economic and social system cannot process and address.
Explanations of what is happening globally and the multiple challenges we face are not known, are not palatable, to the public. Most would, quite understandably rather focus on family, life and work. Enough to be paying the bills and ensuring the children’s school is a good one. A logical approach in the face of too much.
The truth, as set out by the Stockholm Resilience Centre is that we face many possible threats, and our system of living is making all of them worse. Combined with Kate Raworth’s Donut Economics, we see the effect of too much resource use, or not enough, with a sweet donut spot in the middle. We’re living too hard for the planet to cope with, and most of us don’t know the half of it.
Graphically set out, the boundaries and the effects we see and are trying to counter become clear. This is graphic, data art: simple, effective and disturbing. But it still leaves us asking; but what now?