George Monbiot’s Style – 31st Oct 2020

Connections between Monbiot\’s essays and other subjects

In our pairs, we found that Monbiot likes to write about Clime Breakdown and Economic Injustice. Through these themes, we found some parallels to other topics we\’ve come across in class.

Other subjects: Climate Breakdown could be linked to Geography or ESS, where students would look at case studies of areas impacted by Climate Change. Economic Injustice is linked to Economics and how money works.

Monbiot uses a lot of rhetorical questions to structure his articles and essays. His tone is very casual and slightly sarcastic at times. In these articles, he comes across as intelligent and well-read, while also seeming very opinionated. Divya and I thought that it might have been a cultural difference, since he\’s from the UK. We explored the theme of Stereotypes and thought that typically English people are slightly more sarcastic and a little bit petty; we thought this was reflected in his work. 

ToK: 

Monbiot focuses a lot about the ethics of a situation and tends to look at a situation with a different perspective, challenging the reader\’s point of view.

CAS: 

Monbiot writes as a means of advocacy sometimes. He picks a topic he\’s interested in and writes an article bringing attention to it and even suggesting solutions at the end. 

We Need New Names: 

One most notable parallel between these two is the theme of Economic Injustice, or poverty. 

Links to Global Issues

[https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/]

In we need new names, wealth gaps and lack of equal opportunity is demonstrated in this extract:

\”When the small red car comes gliding from down the street the guard takes off towards the other gate. We clap and cheer for him, then we watch the car like maybe it’s a bride. Unlike Stina, I don’t know much about cars, like I can’t look at one and tell you what kind it is, but even I can see that this is an interesting car. It’s low like a child can drive it, with this strange design, all points and edges and creases. Up close, the sound of it is like there’s something humming inside the metal. Stina nods his head, whistles and laughs. If he could run and hug the car and talk to it, he would. 

The guard is already at the gate of the cream house with the big satellite dish and massive grounds. We watch him hold the gate open for the car, standing all tall and puffed up now like he has grown some height and muscle in the last few minutes, like he is actually the owner of the car and whoever had borrowed it is bringing it back to him. When the car passes we see a hand flash a wave. The guard waves back and smiles. He is still waving and smiling long after the buttocks of the car have disappeared into the large yard. He doesn’t look our way and we know he is avoiding us. 

Okay. There’s nothing else to do, let’s go, Sbho says. 

Yes, let’s get away from this place, he’ll arrest us, Godknows says, and we laugh. 

That, right there, was a Lamborghini Reventón, Stina says. 

When I go to live with Aunt Fostalina, that’s the kind of car I’ll drive, see how it’s even small like it was made for me? I say. I just know, because of this feeling in my bones, that the car is waiting for me in America, so I yell, My Lamborghini, Lamborghini, Lamborghini Reventón! My voice rings in the empty street and I laugh and do a hop-step-and-jump.\”

Here we can see the disconnect and the wealth gap between the residents of Paradise and the residents of Budapest, who have a large house and a Lamborghini, while the children of Paradise live in a Shanty Town near a graveyard.

One Monbiot essay that reflects this same message is \’Permanent Lockdown\’. It talks of the unequal distribution of land, and empty land in urban areas as a symbol of wealth. 

\”In the name of freedom, we have been exposed, to a greater extent than any other European nation, to a deadly pandemic. In his speech in Greenwich on February 3, Boris Johnson lambasted governments that had “panicked” about the coronavirus, inflicting “unnecessary economic damage”. His government, by contrast, would champion our right to “buy and sell freely among each other”.

But as always, the professed love of freedom among those who represent the interests of the rich in politics is highly selective. If the government valued freedom as much as it says it does, it would do everything in its power to maximise the liberties we can safely exercise, while protecting us from harm.

In other words, it would take up the call to open London’s golf courses to public access. As the author and land campaigner Guy Shrubsole has discovered, there are 131 golf courses in Greater London, covering 11,000 acres. But they are open only to members, while millions of people swelter in tiny flats or edge round each other in minuscule parks, desperate for a sense of space and freedom. It would take up the call for private schools to open their playing fields and extensive grounds. It would open London’s locked green squares, and designate other tracts of private land in and around our cities for public access.

But a core purpose of Conservatism is to defend private property from public use, and to extend private ownership and exclusive rights into realms previously enjoyed by all. And no form of wealth is more fiercely contested than land.\”

The parallels between these two extracts is the emphasis of the wealthy\’s riches being locked away and separated (or maybe even protected) from the sights of the poor. Monbiot talks of golf courses and football pitches in private schools being locked away from those on the outside. He suggests better use for this land by using it to build more houses or apartments for people living in cramped spaces. 

Bulawayo doesn\’t describe the owner of the Lamborghini, instead leaving them faceless, and without identity throughout the chapter. This could suggest her metaphorically locking away or shielding the wealthy form the sights of the children, who come from a shanty town. 

Statement on the Global Issue:

The wealth gap and the unequal distribution of wealth creates an unfair advantage to those who are more privileged. 

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