Fiction: “A Few Bad Men” (At the Hague in 2029, with the PR industry in the dock for ecocide…)

It’s the late 2020s. After the Great Rese… nsitisation of 2024, when El Nino led to a magical step change in public understanding of the enormous danger the human species faced, many things happened all at once. Enormous programmes to accelerate the replacement of fossil fuels with renewables began. Everyone radically reduced or ceased their meat consumption, and their bovine consumption habits, and began to cultivate a Buddhist calmness and concern for the reduction of all suffering present and future. Oh yes.

There was also a global legal reckoning, with those who had knowingly engineered or defended the escalating extraction of fossil fuels, long after the scientists’ warnings had become indisputable, sent to the Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity, and of ecocide.

Below is a brief extract from the climax of one trial. A handsome young Greenie lawyer is trying to extract an admission of guilt from a senior advertising executive, Colin Dressup. It hinges on whether Dressup explicitly ordered a “Green Wash” to cover up an awkward environmental disaster.

Judge Randolph: [to Greenie from the judge’s bench] Consider yourself in contempt!

Greenie: Colin Dressup, did you order the Green Wash?

Judge Randolph: You don’t have to answer that question!

Colin Dressup: I’ll answer the question!

[to Greenie]

Colin Dressup: You want answers?

Greenie: I think I’m entitled to.

Colin Dressup: You want answers?




Colin Dressup: Son, we live in a world that has myths, and those myths have to be guarded by men with silver tongues. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, compulsive realist? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for future generations and you curse the perception management industry. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know; that all these climate disasters, while tragic, probably add to short term shareholder value. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, *saves shareholder value*. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me defending those myths. You need me defending those myths. We use words like audience segmentation, counter-narratives, relegitimisation. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending endless growth and extraction. You use them as a put-down. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very economic growth that I enable, and then questions the manner in which I enable it! I would rather you just said “thank you” and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a keyboard and bash out a pro-clean technology blogpost. Either way, I don’t give a *damn* what you think you are entitled to!

Greenie: Did you order the Green Wash?

Colin Dressup: I did the job I…

Greenie: [interrupts him] *Did you order the Green Wash?*

Colin Dressup: *You’re God damn right I did!*

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