Good Grief: Frankenstein Is Actually A Story About Climate Change Or Something

Members of the Cult of Climastrology love linking their pet cause to just about everything, be it real environmental issues, holidays, or shows like Game of Thrones. Now we get this from Slate, which is the slightly less sibling to Salon. Here’s nutter Warmist Kent Linthicum

How a Volcano Helped Inspire Frankenstein
The famous novel is actually a tale of climate change.

Two hundred years ago this June, during a dreadfully cold and wet summer, Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein. Since then Frankenstein has become iconic, spawning a legion of adaptations and reinterpretations. The Oxford English Dictionary even includes entries for the verb “to frankenstein,” which means to stitch something together in a grotesque fashion, and the prefix “franken-” to make anything monstrous. The novel is shorthand for the dangers of unfettered scientific progress. But the unforgettable creation scene, depicted in movies with frenzied screams of “It’s alive!” and arcing electricity, doesn’t happen until one-third of the way through the novel. If you’ve never read the book, you might expect the story to begin with Dr. Frankenstein recounting his mistakes or heading off to school to study anatomy. Instead, we start with Robert Walton, an Arctic explorer. The Arctic exploration might seem random, but it makes more sense in the light of the environmental crisis unfolding in the Northern Hemisphere when Shelley was drafting the novel.

Have you seen the movie Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, starring Kenneth Branagh and Robert De Niro? Yeah, that’s closest to the book.

Mary Shelley was an astute observer of the world; her journals reveal a young woman with a powerful drive to learn, reading a range of political, literary, philosophical, and scientific works. For Frankenstein, she seems to have been inspired by a series of electrical experiments and new microscopic discoveries to imagine whether it would be possible to infuse the spark of life into dead flesh. But her observations were not limited to the world of books—they extended to the environment around her to include the dark forests of eastern France, the sublime peaks of the Alps, and the miserable weather of 1816. In her preface to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein, Shelley comments that the summer of 1816 in Geneva, where she was staying, was memorably unpleasant: “it proved a wet, ungenial summer, and incessant rain often confined us for days to the house.” This dreary weather wasn’t a chance occurrence—it was just one small manifestation of larger environmental changes.

Between April 5 and 11 of 1815, the volcano Tambora erupted in Indonesia, more than 7,500 miles away from Geneva. Tambora’s eruption is one of the largest in recorded human history, 100 times more powerful than Mount St. Helens’ 1980 explosion. The eruption pumped a massive quantity of sulfur into the atmosphere, radically cooling the Northern Hemisphere by 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit to 1.26 degrees Fahrenheit.* In essence, people living between 1815 and 1816 experienced an extreme, miniature global climate change event.

Yes, one of cold and wet, to add on to the already cold period known as the Little Ice Age. And Kent tells us all about the problems of a cool period. But, then we get to

Today, archival technologies allow us to understand the human dimension of climate changes throughout history: How have people in different times and places reacted to a dynamic, deadly world? Reading arcane and previously lost documents, like stories chronicling the summer of 1816, gives us the opportunity to understand the complex nature of our world, to remember what we might have forgotten, and to consider how our communities and societies can be more resilient in the face of a changing climate. The future will always be unpredictable, but every day is an opportunity to learn more from the past and put that knowledge to work. A volcano, a novel, and a smattering of newspaper reports can reveal a possible gap in our thinking about climate change today—the bedrock importance of food security and the turmoil shortages will cause, because the difference between sustenance and starvation can be a matter of degrees.

The implication here is, of course, that the current warm period will cause immeasurable harm and misery, and, since it is all Mankind’s fault, we need to totally change everything we do. And they use a book about cold and wet to illustrate the coming heat and dry.

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8 Responses to “Good Grief: Frankenstein Is Actually A Story About Climate Change Or Something”

  1. Jeffery says:

    Regardless, the Earth continues to warm rapidly from the CO2 we keep adding to the atmosphere.

    The question is what, if anything, should we do about it.

    In rapid succession (at least in science-denier terms) deniers have shifted from denying global warming exists (Phase I) to denying any link to greenhouse gases (Phase II) to denying that actions to slow warming will help, or they maintain (without evidence) that actions to slow warming will damage human existence more than rapid warming (Phase III).

    That said, the deniers own the US Congress for now, so what we will do is nothing.

  2. Regardless, the Earth continues to warm rapidly from the CO2 we keep adding to the atmosphere.

    Something you cannot actually prove using actual Science.

  3. Jeffery says:

    The Theory of CO2 caused global warming has been proven to the satisfaction of nearly all scientists – which is why denialists have given up making their futile pseudoscientific arguments.

    It’s the unscientific and economically/politically connected few who still deny what everyone else knows.

    But, to your credit, the ignorati own the US GOP.

    I’ve asked you this a hundred times to no avail: What evidence using “Science” would you find convincing?

  4. drowningpuppies says:

    The Theory of CO2 caused global warming has been proven to the satisfaction of nearly all scientists

    More made up dishonest shit from that little white eugene guy who exaggerates often and refuses to tell us what wonder drugs he invented and which successful company he founded.

    One would think he would be proud to share it with us.

  5. Liam Thomas says:

    That said, the deniers own the US Congress for now, so what we will do is nothing.

    Does not matter whose in charge. Democrats and Repubs alike are in office for one reason……to get RICH. They could give a shit about you and your CO2 is on the rise MEME…..they will find ways to vote it down with a veto proof majority and still be able to blame whats left of a dysfunctional GOP party.

    And 10 years from now you’ll still be here claiming were all gonna die due to co2 and that the two dozen republicans left in office are to blame.

  6. Jl says:

    Jeffry- “Demialists…maintain (without evidence) that actions to slow warming will damage human existance more than rapid warming. Funny that you left out the part about “rapid warming will do damage to the earth” (without any evidence).

  7. Jeffery says:


    You don’t even understand that the Earth is warming, so there’s that.

    Although rapid warming will do little damage to the Earth, it will harm human societies. I know, I know, it’s selfish of climate realists to only consider the impacts on human beings.

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