Launching Daily Maverick's Our Burning Planet climate journalism unit in Cape Town, former Irish president Mary Robinson, Amnesty International's Kumi Naidoo and journalist Kevin Bloom painted a picture of a civilisation that could remake itself from the opportunity that the crisis brings.
Around nine of the hottest years on record have hit humanity since we filed into cinema seats to pack our mouths with popcorn and watch Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, the 2006 blockbuster documentary that thrust the climate crisis into popular conversation. Not that Gore's landmark documentary signalled the start of climate breakdown. In 2019, we reached 42 consecutive years of delivering above-average global temperatures since Elvis died at Graceland in 1977 -- at the age of 42.
Climate deniers may jest that the King of Rock has simply continued to do in death what he did in life -- raising global fever. Yet, the science about planet-wide heating has long passed the point of scorn, ridicule or even inconvenience.
If truth is stranger than fiction, the public launch of Our Burning Planet highlighted an Earth that is beginning to play out Gore's biggest fears. Climate calamities, now unleashing their fury at a rate of one per week,...