The Lost Dream of the Future
Photo by Allen & Unwin, CC BY­SA 3.0
World + People, Nature

The Lost Dream of the Future

An Interview with Clive Hamilton
Agata Kasprolewicz
time 10 minutes

In order to face the climate catastrophe, we must abandon our optimistic belief in progress, says philosopher Clive Hamilton

“You’ll recognize me by my black felt hat.” There’s no better clue for recognizing the Australian among a crowd of Berliners. Clive Hamilton has exchanged the record-breaking dryness of the Australian winter for a devilishly hot European summer. There is no escape from climate change. And anyway, the Australian philosopher is the last person who would look for an escape. In his three books on the subject (Requiem for a Species, Earthmasters and Defiant Earth) he writes that the Anthropocene man should abandon optimism and mourn his lost future, for that is the only honest way of confronting the truth. But here, on a busy square called Hackescher Markt – a popular tourist spot with plenty of restaurants, shops and galleries – doom and gloom are nowhere to be seen. We sit in a café.

Agata Kasprolewicz: Are you worried that people aren’t worried?

Clive Hamilton: The greatest fear is that people aren’t afraid, because once you open yourself up to what the climate scientists are saying, then fear about the future is the natural response. There’s a kind of interesting phenomenon, which in itself is quite disturbing. I’ve heard quite a number of older people saying: “Well, I hear what the climate scientists are saying and I believe them, but hey, I’m not going to be around, so I don’t really care.” And I think


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Smoke Over Tasmania
Wineglass Bay from Mount Amos, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania. Photo: Dean Hughes (CC BY 2.0)
Nature, World + People

Smoke Over Tasmania

A Paradise on Fire
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“The sky thickens and purples, but only a few drops fall onto the sand. It’s not the long-awaited shower, but the Tasmanian curse: a dry thunderstorm. The air absorbs the moisture before it manages to reach the ground. Embers that could have been easily put out by rainfall now spread into fires.” Emilia Dłużewska describes her travels in the paradise turned hell.

Why is it so hard to solve a murder in Tasmania? Because there are no dental records, and DNA matches everyone. It’s one of many jokes Australians tell about the island. Tasmania, located 240 kilometres south from the continent, is stereotypically branded as the poor, backwards province, where half-savage natives are forced to resort to inbreeding.

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