Matthew Todd

A couple of months ago, Roseanne – of former ‘Barr’ and ‘Show’ fame – upset some of the gays across the pond with something she said on her radio show.

During a cosy chat with a lesbian activist one afternoon, Rosie suggested that considering the magnitude of the issues the planet now faces, maybe it was time for us all to put our individual causes temporarily to one side, and stand together against the unprecedented crises’ that threaten to overwhelm us all.

Despite the fact that she busted a gut to have one of TV’s first gay characters on her prime time show, and has been a loyal and communicative friend since day one, many US gays went nuts.

How dare she question anything we do? Their reaction wasn’t surprising.

Such is the severity and regularity of attack on gay people in the US, they’re now primed to spring at any sign of criticism. But the thing is, Roseanne is right.

Then here, at a House of Homoculture event at the Drill Hall earlier this month, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality, speakers in their 70s and 80s warned about being complacent about the rights we have achieved.

We need to be vigilant. Just because we have them now, they said, does not mean they will not be taken away form us in the future. They said it again and again. But surely that could never happen.

Even Blair, an unprecedented guest of honour at the Stonewall dinner earlier in the year, remarked that no one could ever overturn gay rights now. But he is wrong.

There is one thing in particular that threatens to literally rain on our parade: that current zeitgeist favourite and, as the UKs chief scientific Advisor Sir David King puts it, “the biggest threat humanity has ever consciously had to face.”

Global warming. If you have not paid attention to this over the last decade, and who can blame you, now is the time to wake up and smell the organic coffee. We will not get another chance.

Despite the worlds leading scientists coming together an unprecedented four times in twenty years to speak, nay, scream, as one, we have been slow to pay attention and we, as gay people, may now pay an early price.

While we have all heard of rising sea levels and chaotic weather, no one much talks about

what that will actually mean for our day to day lives.

We haven’t thought about it, but our enemies have.

In his brilliant book Half Gone, oil industry expert Jeremy Legget notes the BNP’s regular attendance at public meetings about climate change and the accompanying

energy crisis.

They know that in times of economic depression, the right get more support. Historically, they do well and have often come to power.

We’re not talking about a depression where things get a bit tight and you can’t afford to dance the night away at Crash three times a week, we’re talking about the kind where economies collapse and people become desperate.

For food.

The kind that former World Bank chief economist Sir Nicholas Stern predicts we will face within a few decades if we do not act immediately to stop the climate crisis.

James Hansen, Nasa’s top climatologist, who brought climate change to international prominence in 1988, said last week, in uncharacteristically dramatic language:

“The Earth is now in imminent peril and nothing short of planetary rescue can prevent it from cataclysm.”

How have we left it so late? The world’s incredible, slow reaction, has not been unintentional .

It’s been part wishful thinking, part ignorance, part cynicism, part journalistic irresponsibility – and more than 20,000,000 parts lies.

Because that’s how many US dollars have been spent by the worlds biggest oil company, Exxon Mobil, trying to convince the media all over the world that it’s all been hysteria; that it’s all just part of the natural cycle (not true) and that there is not massive, overwhelming scientific agreement (there is).

The Bush administration, the most eco-unfriendly in history, made up of representatives of various oil, coal and gas companies, has sunk to every possible low to keep the energy industries unfettered from regulation.

In particular they’ve used gay marriage to get their Christian supporters into the voting booths.

When in doubt, you can always rely on good old-fashioned religious hatred, even if you do have a lesbian daughter, as grandpa Cheney does.

So now. It’s fair enough if you have believed the lies.

The most powerful lobby group in the world has spent a lot of time on ensuring just that.

But what is unforgivable, now you know that everyone from Stephen Hawking, to NASA, to the UK’s Royal Society, to the American Academy of Sciences, in fact, every major science academy in the western world is in agreement, is to not check the facts for yourself.

Take part. Wake up. Your big gay future may depend on it.

Matthew Todd is a playwright and associate editor of gay magazine Attitude. He is bringing a one man show about climate change to London in the autumn.

Live Earth is everywhere on Saturday 7th July

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