Blackadder star and Time Team veteran presenter Sir Tony Robinson told Sky News he wanted the climate change message to be less about doom and gloom and more about hope.
“I’ve been frustrated with the way we talk about climate change for a long time,” he said.
“It’s like nothing but doom and gloom.
“We might as well suck our thumbs and sit in a corner and die.”
Sir Tony, who has produced several documentaries on climate change, spoke to mark the release of the video game The Floodplain, a survival game set in a climate-induced apocalypse.
The city builder forces players to deal with environmental challenges as humans try to survive after a catastrophic flood wiped out most of the population.
“We can’t just sit around”
Sir Tony said the game was a way of reaching a generation prone to climate anxiety and showing them that there was still hope for the planet’s future.
“I’m always looking for pieces of culture where these really serious things can be discussed, but in a creative and even upbeat way,” he said.
“I think it’s really important that we don’t just teach kids that climate change is so scary that they should be paralyzed and unable to move.
“There’s some evidence that some kids start thinking that way, but we can’t teach them that.
“We have to teach them the positive – and what better place to teach them than on the screen?”
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“The biggest problem facing the planet”
Floodland developer Vile Monarch chose the city-building genre to complement the game’s message.
“The idea of the game is to make you feel constructive,” says writer Alexander Stoganov.
“A lot of games pit you against horrific atrocities where people might turn on each other in order to survive, this one is about how constructive you can be.”
While the game’s aesthetic is depressing at times, Sir Tony likened it to a Shakespearean tragedy.
“You don’t leave Othello and most of King Lear and think: ‘My God, I’m never going to the theater again, it’s all so miserable’.
“You celebrate theater, you celebrate acting, and I think that’s what Floodland does really well.
“It’s finding a new way to solve the biggest problems facing the planet.”
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‘We need to hold politicians accountable’
Regardless of projects like Floodland, Sir Tony said the government needed to do more to tackle the climate crisis.
in this month’s Fall StatementChancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt has announced the government will embark on the Sizewell C nuclear power plant to enhance energy security and further diversify harmful carbon.
He has also pledged to increase energy efficiency funding by £6bn from 2025.
Sir Tony said: “There’s ambition, there’s stuff that helps us, but there’s also a lot of empty talk – that’s where we come in because we need to hold politicians to account.
“Personally, there’s a limit to what we can do: we can set an example and eat a few fewer burgers.
“This problem can only be solved if ordinary people and the government work together.”
Watch the Daily Climate Show Monday to Friday at 3.30pm and Tom Shipp’s Climate Show Saturday and Sunday at 3.30pm and 7.30pm.
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The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.