Here’s an idea to garner some appreciation for the dire straits in which humanity finds itself mounting from the global biodiversity crisis. More importantly, I hope that ‘appreciation’ would translate into ‘action’ as a result.
The idea came, as good ideas often tend to, around a table with some mates1,2 and several bottles of wine. The idea got more outlandish as the bottles were emptied, and I have to say I can’t remember many of the finer details (probably a good thing).
But the nugget of that idea is, I think, a very good one. I’d like to hear your opinions about it, and some suggestions about how to make it happen.
(get to the point, Bradshaw)
The idea would be to create an international (televised) comedy festival called ‘The Joke’s On Us‘ where very high-profile comedians would be individually matched to high-profile scientists of various areas of expertise. Let’s say we had a climate change scientist like James Hansen sit down with, oh, maybe Eddie Izzard, the famous and highly regarded Gaia creator, James Lovelock, locked in a room for a few days with Michael McIntyre, tropical deforestation specialist, Bill Laurance, matched with Chris Rock, and that population bomb, Paul Ehrlich, with Robin Williams or Jerry Seinfeld. The possible combinations are endless.
What I’d expect would happen would that each scientist would provide the comedian with the latest information on his/her particular subject area, focussing on the evidence and why people aren’t taking it to heart. The comedian would then turn the material into something funny, focussing on our stupidity for destroying our own home via ecological disintegration.
Now, I’m not at all up to speed on who’s funny and who is not (I have my preferences, of course), and I have absolutely no contacts in the entertainment world. Hell, I don’t even own a television (truth). Someone would obviously need to bankroll this, and we’d probably start at a smaller scale (any Australian comedians willing to take it on – Wil Anderson? Shaun Micallef? Tim Minchin?) before the global attack.
I’m sure I could scour my own contacts (many famous conservation biologists listed here) and come up with plenty of people who’d be willing to donate their time. I’ve only really ever seen one semi-related example of such a thing on climate change (very funny), but our idea is to expand it to a full-on, live, on-stage, telecasted, road-tripping comedy phenomenon that would ultimately teach as much as it did entertain.
Clearly other approaches aren’t working.
Suggestions, contacts, and money welcome. ;-)Ramona Dalton 2Chris Dalton —