Bored To Green Death: Doctor Who & Ecology - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Bored To Green Death: Doctor Who & Ecology

Christopher Morley reduces his classic era carbon footprint.

Following the broadcast of Orphan 55, we might be forgiven for wondering if writer Ed Hime was actually Greta Thunberg in disguise! As if basically pinching the basic plot of Genesis Of The Daleks and stuffing their latest mutated kin into a whole new kind of leisure hive wasn't bad enough, it carried more than a whiff of the overly preaching tone. One which first reared its head in Doctor Who during Series Eleven.

The decline cannot solely be laid at the feet of Chris Chibnall, mind. Remember also In The Forest Of The Night from the pen of Frank Cottrell Boyce?

“A tree is a time machine. You plant a little acorn in 1795, and in the year 2016, there's an oak tree, there, in the same spot, with a tiny little bit of 1795 still alive inside of it. You can't create an overnight forest with extra special fertiliser. You have to mess with the fabric of time. And communicate with trees.”
Mostly woolly guff, with a little bit of science thrown in. While nobody would dispute that this is an important issue, there should have been another way, to quote the first of the Peter Doctors. And indeed there was another way... a better way. As exemplified by select examples from the eras of the Third and Fourth Doctors.

Consider as a starting point The Claws Of Axos (fittingly enough also featuring the man now embodied by Sacha Dhawan).
“Axonite is, shall we say, the chameleon of the elements. It is a thinking molecule. It uses the energy it absorbs, not only to copy but to recreate and restructure any given substance.”
So, then, an abundant source of renewable energy. The need for such had been recognised as far back as the eighteenth century - as Professor Augustin Mouchot, the inventor of the earliest solar powered engine, observed.
“The time will arrive when the industry of Europe will cease to find those natural resources, so necessary for it. Petroleum springs and coal mines are not inexhaustible but are rapidly diminishing in many places. Will man, then, return to the power of water and wind? Or will he emigrate where the most powerful source of heat sends its rays to all? History will show what will come.”
And of course those mines themselves have a part to play.

Fast forward to The Green Death, where the miners are disaffected by the loss of work now that a new saviour has popped in to resolve local energy & fuel problems. Very bad news indeed for both them & the maggot population of that particular corner of Wales....

Agenda set right from the off, not that the Doctor is initially paying all that much attention!
JO: Oh no! No, they can't!
DOCTOR: I can't wait to go there, you know, Jo.
JO: It's criminal. Absolutely criminal.
DOCTOR: It must be a fascinating place. Just imagine it, a blue sun.
JO: Listen. “And at last the Ministry has given the green light to Global Chemicals”......
DOCTOR: No, not a green light, it's a blue light. Everything's blue there.
JO: Common sense has triumphed at last. Well, don't they realise the pollution it will cause?
DOCTOR: Mmm, absolutely.
JO: And the futile protests of Professor Jones
DOCTOR: You know, I might even get a hold of one of those famous blue sapphires. Well, there you are. That should do it, I think.
JO: He won't give up, you know. A man like Professor Jones will never give up.
Message hammered home without the need for overt patronisation (as, it may be argued, was on display in Orphan 55) in just that simple exchange.

And then, Third Doctor hat-trick completed with Invasion Of The Dinosaurs. A story which, depending on your point of view on such issues, might actually have you sympathising with the villains to a degree!

After all, all they want is to return the planet to a cleaner state of the sort not seen since the human race was taking its first baby steps post-Silurians, after the Eocenes or homo reptilia go into hibernation, before a rude awakening at Wenley Moor.

Their methods nonetheless are more than a little suspect! Though there's the merest hint that the Doctor might be sporting a Greenpeace T-shirt under his usual velvet equivalent.
“The Doctor's very keen on this anti-pollution business.”
Little wonder then that, just prior to leaving her place at his side, Jo Grant feels compelled to remark on the many similarities between the Doctor & Professor Jones, the man whose ideals she so admired, and said goodbye to him in favour of after a whirlwind romance.

Having put that aside, time to introduce Sarah-Jane Smith as her replacement & round off the Third Doctor's spot of doing a bit for the environment, prior to finally getting that long awaited trip to Metebelis Three, a last hurrah before regeneration into the man Thunberg/Hime took such obvious notes from for Orphan 55.

From the Fourth Doctor's era there's The Seeds Of Doom, a delve into the secret life of plants mercifully minus any of the sickly sweetness or tiresome soapboxing of the aforementioned In The Forest Of The Night!

The “locals against big industry” thing gets dusted off again for The Power Of Kroll.

The Swampies are up against a methane refinery & its crew. And they have friends...
HAWN: If that spineless fool hadn't interfered...
FENNER: He'd be alive now, wouldn't he, and I'm reporting you for murder.
THAWN: It was justifiable homicide! You heard me warn him not to touch that abort panel. It was an act of sabotage.
FENNER: He didn't like your methods. That did not make him a saboteur.
THAWN: He was a plant from the Sons of Earth! It's obvious that he was sent here to cripple this project any way that he could.
FENNER: You don't kill a man because you suspect he belongs to the Sons of Earth.
Simple in message, and in execution - not a clunker in the bunch!

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