When the Parable Becomes TOO Close to Reality

23 Jun

Sci-fi is a great way of talking about current political issues without offending people. I remember Star Trek addressing climate change in “Force of Nature” back in 1993. Watching it now in 2022, I’m realizing that TNG was a little too on the nose, but not for the reasons the writers thought.

I’ve been watching a LOT more Next Generation, because it’s available on Pluto for free, and it’s nice brain candy that is inoffensive and I don’t have to pay much attention to… because I’ve watched most of these episodes many times before. So it’s getting through Season 7, where the writing is far superior, and it hit “Force of Nature.” As with many episodes, it’s only about minute 10 that I realize, “Oh, this is the climate change episode!”

So my eyes roll. For those not familiar with this particular ep, the Enterprise finds out that a particular unstable part of space is getting more unstable because high warp energy is wrecking it. Turns out his particular part of space isn’t unusual; there’s tons of places in space where the same thing can occur. So the solution is for everyone to keep their speed down to Warp 5 to prevent further environmental damage.

Okay–agree or disagree with this parable for climate change, what bugs me about this episode is not the message. It’s the fact that the consequences of this episodes are never mentioned again. You would think that the socialist utopian Federation would put in a speed limit and would enforce it, but nah… that constrains the writers of future episodes, and since stories move at the speed of plot, we just simply forgot about this.

When I mentioned this to my wife, she said, “Wow – just like climate change now!” That’s when it occurred to me; maybe this episode was a little too on the nose. Even those who claim to really care about climate change seem to forget about it when faced with greater issues. Pew Research–one of the most trusted survey agencies–say that Americans care about climate change more than ever. But it’s still low on priorities compared to other issues. So we might care enough to make a lot of noise on the issue, but not if it’s going to impact the economy, education, or social security. So just like Star Trek, when preventing climate change makes the story difficult to write, we ignore it.

In a strange way, Hollywood preached exactly what we think about this issue, if not in the way that they intended. But I could be wrong — let me know in the comments below!

2 Responses to “When the Parable Becomes TOO Close to Reality”

  1. Joliesattic June 27, 2022 at 6:43 am #

    Hollywood is always expounding and preaching about one thing or another but seldom practicing what they preach. For the most part, their job is to affect or disrupt the social norm and make a lot of noise. Americans in general tend to ignorantly fall into accepting their subliminal or not so subliminal messages. However, on occasion, like you picked up, they can be right on the mark and you wonder how they became such prophets. I think they just maneuvered us to where they wanted us to arrive. They are the true movers and shakers of our society.

    Did any of that make sense? lol.

    • albigensia June 27, 2022 at 11:43 am #

      Jolie, I -think- I’m picking up what you’re putting down. You need people to address these issues, and if it happens to be in a show/movie that you like, okay. But at the end of the day, you have to sell your show… and if an episode makes it real hard to sell compelling stories, guess what has to go! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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