While combing through some old books on a remote bookshelf recently I came across one that I had given to my father for Christmas 40 years ago. It contained New Yorker cartoons from 1925 to 1975. I hadn’t looked at it since our last move six years ago.
I plunked down by the fire and browsed through it deciding that the cartoons were too out of date and meant nothing to me, even considering nostalgic value. Except for these two. They both relate to fossil fuel consumption and environmental degradation even though they don’t actually use the words climate change or global warming.
I have long admired The New Yorker partly because of its stance on publishing about environmental issues. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published as a series in in the New Yorker in June of 1962 before the book and Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature was first published there in September 1989.
Elizabeth Kolbert has been writing frequently on climate change since 1999 but I didn’t know that even their cartoon department was involved and I didn’t know it went back to before 1975.
Why wasn’t the world listening? Why wasn’t I?