Continuing the tradition started by The Trial of Daisy the Cow, my friend Stephen Peake and I presented a satirical sketch based on Dad’s Army, at the fourth conference of Sustainability in Higher Education, in Swansea, July 2019.
As outlined in a previous blog (The Great Paradox) I have been trying to challenge the ‘Education for Sustainability’ community to raise its game to engage with the newly-recognised physical Climate Emergency. Up to now this community has concerned itself almost exclusively with small behaviour-changes in the manner of the environmental movements of the 1970s.
So far my challenges have simply bounced off. I wrote a provocative paper ‘Peer-Reviewed Hippies’ for the second in this conference series, in 2016, but it was ignored. Hence this new effort to draw attention to the real problems of sustainability, and their extreme urgency.
The sketch is based on the idea of an ‘eco-Home Guard’ within the imaginary Ponzi University (rhymes with Swansea) tasked by the Vice Chancellor to come up with a zero-emissions plan. The running gag is that the grandiloquent Captain Mainwaring champions all manner of tiny incremental local measures, while boots-on-the-ground Sergeant Wilson is arguing for vast technical fixes on a national scale. There was a pointed contrast between ‘vegan gooseberry fool’ (that was actually handed round the audience) and the Swansea bay tidal lagoon that, had it been built, would have been visible from the conference venue.
The take-home message is that right now, tidal lagoons are needed, while the Sustainability in Higher Education community offers only fool.
The script, Eco-Emergency! is here.