Blackadder star and veteran Time Team presenter Sir Tony Robinson has told Sky News he wants the climate change message to be less about doom and gloom and more hopeful.
“I’ve been frustrated with how we’re talking about climate change for quite some time,” he said.
“It’s like there’s nothing but doom and gloom.
“We might as well suck our thumbs and sit in the corner and wait for death.”
Sir Tony, who has directed several documentaries on climate change, was speaking at the launch of the video game Floodland, a survival title set after a climate-related apocalypse.
The city builder forces players to grapple with environmental issues as humanity struggles to survive after a catastrophic flood wipes out most of the population.
“We must not be paralyzed in inaction”
Sir Tony said games are a way of reaching out to a generation who have become vulnerable to climate anxiety and showing them that there is still hope for the future of the planet.
“I looked for cultural pieces that discussed these really serious things, but in a creative and even upbeat way,” he said.
“I think it’s very important that we don’t just teach children that climate change is so terrible that they should be paralyzed into inactivity.
“There are signs that some children are starting to think that, but we must not teach them that.
“We have to teach them the positive – and where better to teach them that than on their screens?”
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“The biggest problem for the planet”
Floodland developer Vile Monarch chose the city-building genre to complement the game’s message.
“The idea of the game was that you feel constructive,” said author Alexandre Stoganov.
“A lot of games pit you against horrifying atrocities that people can commit against each other to survive, and this game is about how constructive you can be.”
Despite the game’s sometimes depressing aesthetic, Sir Tony liked it like a Shakespearean tragedy.
“You don’t walk away from most Othello and King Lear productions and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, I’m never going to the theater again, it was all so miserable.’
“You celebrate the play, you celebrate the acting, and I think that’s what makes Floodland so good.
“It’s about a new way of looking at the biggest problem on the planet.”
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“We must hold politicians accountable”
Independent of projects like Floodland, Sir Tony said much more action is needed from governments to deal with the climate crisis.
In this month Autumn statementChancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the government would proceed with the Sizewell C nuclear power plant to strengthen energy security and further diversify from harmful carbon.
He also pledged to fund a further £6bn for energy efficiency from 2025.
Sir Tony said: “There are aspirations, there are things that will help us, but there is also a lot of hot air – and that’s where we come in because we need to hold politicians accountable.
“On our own, as individuals, there’s a limit to what we can do: We can make a mark, eat a few burgers less.
“It’s ordinary people and governments working together to solve this problem.”
Watch The Daily Climate Show Monday to Friday at 3:30pm and The Climate Show with Tom Heap on Saturday and Sunday at 3:30pm and 7:30pm.
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