Climate Wars: The Rise of Thunberg

Star Wars fan? Read on, but beware of spoilers for the new movie.

I saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in the cinema last week. I’m not sure how environmentally friendly cinemas are compared to matching films at home (probably not very), but it was a rare treat and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Not long into the film I found myself thinking, “This is a direct metaphor for the fight against climate change.”

Let me explain.

The First Order/Empire is secretly building a ginormous fleet of star ships, each with the power to destroy an entire planet. They have masses of power, wealth and resources which they’ve gained through exploitation and general evilness. There is a small but committed band of rag-tag rebels who oppose the First Order, despite the insurmountable nature of this terrifying enemy.

Towards the end of the film, the rebels take their tiny fleet of ships, follow Jedi warrior Rey and go to engage the huge First Order fleet in battle. It’s a desperate last stand and they are almost certain to fail, but they do it because it’s right. They also send out the Millennium Falcon to try and round up any other people to come and help them.

It’s looking grim. No one has come. They’re losing hope. Everyone is going to die. Then, at the last moment (of course) hundreds and thousands of ships appear in the sky, led by the Falcon. There’s an exchange between two of the First Order soldiers that goes:

General Pryde: Where did they get all these fighter crafts? They have no navy.
First Order Officer: It’s not a navy, sir. It’s just people.

A theme through the movie is how there are more ordinary people who care about what’s right than there are evil overlords. The ordinary people just need to work together, and have some hope, and they’ll succeed.

Poe Dameron: My friends, I’m sorry, I thought we had a shot. There’s just too many of them.
Lando Calrissian: But there are more of us, Poe. There are more of us.

And of course the rebels do succeed. Just like the Hobbits succeed against Sauron and the Districts succeed against the Capitol and Harry succeeds against Voldermort and the Pevency children succeed against the White Witch*. These inspiring figureheads unite the ordinary people to fight in the face of terrifying odds. These aren’t “just people” at all; they’re heroes.

Climate change is happening because we’re burning fossil fuels. Those who control big, wealthy, powerful fossil fuel companies are putting themselves above the future survival of our planet. They want to keep their money and power. Our whole economy is built on burning fossil fuels and exploiting those in the developing world. But there are more of us, individuals who care, than there are of them, CEOs and world leaders who don’t.

As long as we band together and stay hopeful, we can win.

We don’t even need to pick up a lightsaber/sword/bow and arrow/wand to fight this war. We can fight with our social media accounts, our lifestyle choices, our spending power, our conversations, protests, strikes, petitions. We can fight by planting trees, cycling instead of driving, cutting down on meat, writing to our MPs, telling everyone else about climate change and investing our money differently…

And we can win.

The enemy might seem insurmountable, but there are more of us. And each of us is a hero.

Plus, role over Rey Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi: we have Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough.


*I’m referencing The Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point (and it’s not just that I’m a nerd…).

All images taken from Google.