The Doomsday Fantasy

The Doomsday Fantasy


When James Lovelock’s remarks hit the news last week, I watched a familiar pattern unfold.

“Enjoy life while you can,” Lovelock told a Guardian reporter, referring to global warming. “Because if you’re lucky it’s going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.”

This sort of potent doomsaying packs up really well into a clickable, shareable headline. I watched the story zip around the world in a day via email lists and Facebook walls, powered not by earnest concern for the state of the world but by something sadder—that special schadenfreude that we reserve for the human race as a whole.

Let me digress briefly to say that I have a great and enduring respect for Lovelock’s work. He is not only a thought leader but a transformer of thought—someone who has inarguably helped the world to better see and understand its own reality. I also respect his contention that most of More