Two weeks ago I was on the airplane heading home from an emotional 2 day visit with my ailing dad in Denver. I got on the plane feeling a bit mentally weary but armed with a lifetimes worth of new…
With world-renowned games, a best-selling book series and now a compelling Netflix series, perhaps we could learn a thing or two from The Witcher — Geralt of Rivia, the world’s most notorious monster hunter — on how we can tackle the monstrous problem of climate change.
[Before I go on, please note that I am NOT advocating the Witcher’s physically violent methods used against monsters, which might be merited in his world but not ours].
Despite the apparent lack of vampires, trolls, djinns and basilisks in our world, the Conjunction of the Spheres could be considered a powerful metaphor for the industrial revolution and our climate dilemma (I know this is a quite a leap but bear with me for a moment).
But the monsters of the industrial revolution (let’s also not forget the abusive labor practices, air pollution, mineral extraction and many other issues) did not come from another dimension. They are monsters of our own creation. And that ties into one of the most interesting and unique aspects of The Witcher series.
The tagline of the Netflix show reads “the worst monsters are the ones we create,” and it is this unique treatment of monsters that distinguishes the Witcher within the crowded fantasy genre. In the books, games and Netflix show, humans have complex relationships with monsters. Many monsters are actually are created through human acts, such as angry spirits left behind when innocent people are murdered.
There are three key lessons from how Geralt fights monsters that we should remember in trying to tackle the climate crisis.
2. Fight the root-cause
Geralt wouldn’t support band-aid solutions to climate change. He’d much rather cut off the climate monster’s head and change our energy system to renewables and zero-carbon options as quickly as possible. He would certainly end fossil fuel subsidies. He’d probably urge us to change our lifestyles in his usual gruff manner — “I don’t really care whether or not you destroy your own home. I’m just telling you how it is. Now throw a coin to your witcher.”
3. Fight together
Witchers are generally lone wolves and Geralt, well, he’s not exactly a people person. But without giving away any spoilers…there are times when a problem is even too great for Geralt, a.k.a., The White Wolf, to handle alone. He recognizes such cases, even if it is indeed easier to take care of it by himself. He then gathers the best people for the job with diverse skill-sets to help him out. We all need to work together to solve a problem at this scale.
Climate change is indeed a monster and it already causing significant harm, with far more devastation on the way. We’ve known about this monster for decades and we already have the solutions. So let’s band together and kill the beast once and for all.
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