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Page added on January 3, 2019

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The Rise of the Environmentalist Antagonist

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Villains in comic book movies have a lot of different motivations, ranging from “I just want to watch the world burn to” to revenge, but one of the most interesting is the “environmentalist villain.” In this past year, in Avengers: Infinity War and Aquaman, we have two villains motivated by a sense of doing what’s right for the world—or universe.

In Aquaman, the big bad, Orm Marius (Ocean Master if you’re nasty), played by Patrick Wilson, claims he’s motivated to wage war on the surface world because of the levels of pollution that they have left in their oceans. The first warning shot that Orm delivers is pretty much throwing back all the military subs, other war machines, and garbage back onto the surface, which … you know, valid.

Even Mera, who wants to help protect the surface world, mentions that the pollution of the surface has had bad effects on Atlantis.

We know in our own real world that pollution and overfishing have caused drastic changes. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of endangered species, “1,414 species of fish, or 5 percent of the world’s known species, are at risk for extinction.” Clean water is becoming scarce, and as climate changes cause untold damage to certain aquatic life, we as land folk have unquestionably created an environment where, if there were an underwater kingdom of technologically advanced humanoid people, they’d have due cause to attack us.

Despite the fact that Thanos’ plan is not rooted in any actual science and is more him playing god than anything else, the threat of overpopulation is something that certain scientists have been worrying about for years. People have decided to be sterilized or not have biological children for environmental reasons. There’s a whole U.K.-based organization called Population Matters that, in its “about us” section, says it is “a UK-based charity which campaigns to achieve a sustainable human population, to protect the natural world and improve people’s lives” and that they believe “population is one of the most important, but neglected, contributors to almost all of the major problems facing us today. In particular, that means the multiple environmental threats our planet faces, but an unsustainable population also contributes to poverty, conflict, resource depletion and a poorer quality of life for many people.”

It is interesting seeing these concerns, which are in many ways legitimate ones that scientists and biologists have raised, put into the mouths of villains. Take two of DC Comics’ most notable environmentalist terrorists: Ra’s al Ghoul and Poison Ivy. Like Thanos, Ra’s thinks the only way to have perfect environmental balance is by eliminating most of humanity in a worldwide genocide. Poison Ivy is motivated by her eco-terrorist desire to protect endangered species and the natural environment, especially plant life.

Swamp Thing is one of the few protagonists who is dedicated to protecting the Earth. As an embodiment of the Green, he has the power to connect with all forms of plant life on Earth, and also alien planets, depending on who’s writing.

What’s so compelling, now more than ever, about this kind of antagonist is that we live in a time when climate change, pollution, and issues of protecting our future environment are coming to the forefront. Orm is wrong for wanting to kill billions of innocent people, and his war is truly just a way for him to deal with his sad “un-favorite” issues, but pollution in Atlantis is still an issue, and what is Aquaman going to do about that?

Thanos’ plan isn’t going to stop problems with resources, but the problems that come from overusing our resources won’t become an issue of Avengers-style justice until literal warlords pop up and take them into Mad Max territory.

I’m not siding with the villains, but I do think that it’s odd that the people who are often depicted as fighting to save our planet from the internal issues and forces are always motivated by self-interest and power. Those who do genuinely care, care to the degree that they think humanity is a crutch to protecting our future.

It might just be too political to have characters like Aquaman take on Big Oil and fracking companies, because those are still symbols of American industrialism, but if heroes are supposed to protect the Earth, that should mean protecting it from the errors humans make.

Tony Stark could clean the ocean if he wanted to, just saying.

the mary sue



10 Comments on "The Rise of the Environmentalist Antagonist"

  1. Duncan Idaho on Thu, 3rd Jan 2019 1:04 pm 

    Any reference to comic books and we know the intellectual level of the commentator.

  2. forbin on Thu, 3rd Jan 2019 1:37 pm 

    Clean water is becoming scarce,

    hmm, no change there then from 17th Century London……

    /s

  3. dissident on Thu, 3rd Jan 2019 3:12 pm 

    Comic books are the intellectual level of the majority. So ignoring them as a propaganda tool is delusional.

    In fact, it is a routine ploy in the precious west to use TV shows and movies to “fill in” the propaganda narrative imagery. The MSM spews some hate smear. The creative media makes it seem real and self-consistent.

  4. Anonymouse on Fri, 4th Jan 2019 1:18 am 

    Eactly diss. Comics, movies, video games, novels etc, often times , (but not always), pick up where the ‘news’ and government start off. The fictional ‘villains’ in much of uS produced popular propaganda, are often the same groups, countries, cultures, that the power elite in the free-world order are currently targeting for regime-change or resource grabs. Imagine that.

    The ‘environmental’, antagonist, or protagonist as the case may be in fiction serve different purposes depending. They are either there to be; painted as violent fanatical eco-terrorists, intent on taking away all the neo-liberals toys while causing as much death and mayhem as it takes. Or, if not, they are meant serve a more subtle, and in some ways, more sinister purpose. Some of these characters, exist to plant the idea that some superheroish entity, is actually working to reverse uS led ecological destruction. When of course, nothing of the sort is , will be occurring. That version, is meant to pacify people by giving them a vague sense of hope, via fiction, that ‘someone’, might be doing something meaningful to reverse the tide. Except the topic is not, corrupt prison wardens, cops, police departments or corporations, but, the uS led destruction of life itself.

    This is hardly a new tactic. Us propaganda has made many films over the years, featuring ‘heros’ who battle government or corporate corruption in some capacity, and prevail. The purpose again, was to plant that idea in the mush-for-brains uS publics minds, that corruption could, at least in theory, lose a battle once in a while.

    uS media is the great pacifier. Hollywood will likely be producing films about heroic firefighters, or some such, right up the moment the wild-fires are at their studio gates.

  5. makati1 on Fri, 4th Jan 2019 2:46 am 

    “10 Hollywood Movie Scripts Altered By The Pentagon’

    http://listverse.com/2015/12/17/10-hollywood-movie-scripts-altered-by-the-pentagon/

    “Operation Hollywood: How the Pentagon shapes and censors the movies by David L. Robb”

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2005/03/holl-m14.html

    “EXCLUSIVE: Documents expose how Hollywood promotes war on behalf of the Pentagon, CIA and NSA”

    https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/exclusive-documents-expose-direct-us-military-intelligence-influence-on-1-800-movies-and-tv-shows-36433107c307

    “Hollywood and the Pentagon: A relationship of mutual exploitation”

    http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/7/29/hollywood-and-thepentagonarelationshipofmutualexploitation.html

    Propaganda/brainwashing 24/7/365 in “free” America. LMAO

  6. Canadian Crud on Fri, 4th Jan 2019 3:15 am 

    “Eactly diss. Comics, movies, video games, novels etc, often times , (but not always), pick up where the ‘news’ and government start off. The fictional ‘villains’ in much of uS produced popular propaganda, are often the same groups, countries, cultures, that the power elite in the free-world order are currently targeting for regime-change or resource grabs. Imagine that.”
    LOL, says the millennial gamer Xbox freak

    “Some of these characters, exist to plant the idea that some superheroish entity, is actually working to reverse uS led ecological destruction. When of course, nothing of the sort is , will be occurring. That version, is meant to pacify people by giving them a vague sense of hope, via fiction, that ‘someone’, might be doing something meaningful to reverse the tide. Except the topic is not, corrupt prison wardens, cops, police departments or corporations, but, the uS led destruction of life itself.”
    Says the Mr. Canadian tar sands himself and a people with energy consumption near the top of the scale.

    “This is hardly a new tactic. Us propaganda has made many films over the years, featuring ‘heros’ who battle government or corporate corruption in some capacity, and prevail. The purpose again, was to plant that idea in the mush-for-brains uS publics minds, that corruption could, at least in theory, lose a battle once in a while.”
    Then why do you paly Xbox so much hypocrite?

    “uS media is the great pacifier. Hollywood will likely be producing films about heroic firefighters, or some such, right up the moment the wild-fires are at their studio gates.”
    Says the Xbox kid

  7. Davy on Fri, 4th Jan 2019 3:31 am 

    “The rise of the urban cable car”
    https://tinyurl.com/ya957a3l

    “Gondola systems, as they’re sometimes known, offer urban planners a way of traversing challenging topography such as steep hills and rivers. But, these aren’t the only benefits.”

    “Congestion busters Cable cars offer other pluses too. They’re quiet, emit no direct air pollution, and in contrast to new railways, tunnels or bridges, are significantly cheaper to build. Their ability to connect hilly and hard-to-reach areas is winning them recognition. In less economically developed cities that can’t afford light railway systems, they offer a faster and more comfortable method of commuting long distances than buses and can also help reduce congestion. There’s also the view while you’re travelling.”

    “A World Bank study of urban cable cars notes that the average journey length for today’s system is 2.7km, with stations every 800 metres or so. They typically reach speeds of between 10-20km/h (6.2 to 12.4mph) and can carry up to 2,000 people per hour in each direction. Depending on the city and the neighbourhoods served, a single cable car line can carry upwards of 20,000 passengers daily. One line in the Bolivian capital La Paz carries up to 65,000 people every 24 hours.”

  8. Duncan Idaho on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 10:49 am 

    Ah yes, comic book people——

  9. JR on Sat, 5th Jan 2019 2:23 pm 

    Peak Oil has become a bane for intelligent articles and discussion. No point in reading anything here anymore, there is no intelligent life to be found.

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