On one level, it’s another chilling climate change warning. On another, though, it’s a generational jolt of electricity.
Back in the 50’s and ’60’s, the terror that brought young people into the streets—think: preventive first strike; mutually assured destruction; doomsday; the red phone—was the threat of nuclear war. Folks of a certain age will still remember fallout shelters, duck and cover drills, and of course, all the black-and-white, then Technicolor variations of the mushroom cloud that played on TV as often as footage of planes hitting the World Trade Center looped in the 2000’s.
Talk about a poster that speaks to the generation that grew up then and retains so much power now. That boomer-flash card-of-a-poster is both an analogy, and a literal reference to mass annihilation—but this time, not as an existential threat, but a guarantee.
Photo: Jonno Rattman for The New Yorker. Caption: Emilia Goued, seventeen, a student at Manhattan’s Clinton School, holds a sign in Battery Park. From: The Faces of Young Protesters at New York City’s Climate Strike by Doreen St. Félix September 20, 2019.