Prospect MagazineProspect Magazine

The climate appeasers are leading us towards catastrophe

By Alan Rusbridger

18 Aug 2023 · 4 min read

informed Summary

  1. Writing in Prospect Magazine, editor Alan Rusbridger draws parallels between George Orwell's 1940 essay "The Lion and the Unicorn" and the current climate crisis. Rusbridger suggests that just as Orwell criticised the British government's lack of preparation for World War II, today's leaders are failing to adequately address the impending climate disaster.

In October 1940, George Orwell sat down to write a furious call to arms. The Lion and the Unicorn opened with one of the most arresting sentences in the history of the English essay: “As I write, highly civilised human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me.”

I re-read the radical pamphlet on holiday last week and found it as angry and striking today as it was when Orwell’s molten words flowed more than 80 years ago. It’s not that he was necessarily right about the future in the way that his later novel Nineteen Eighty-Four can read like prophecy. But his skewering of that moment of history still has a raw, unflinching power.

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