Student Forum: a Tragedy of the Commons: Climate Change, Lifeboat Economics, Politics of Extinction, Capital Riot.

Eco Drama: Stage Play for schools, adults, colleges and theaters.

Free script for several actors.

Read-through version: 4.3
Content : navigation, Synopsis.


Plot: the play begins far in the future, with Tamara explaining the situation to her adopted granddaughter, Sunita. Then there is a series of flashbacks to the present day and the years that followed, which deal with Tamara's grandfather, her older sister Tina, and also Tina's friend Sophie, and others, followed by flashbacks to press conferences of the Coalition government, and security threats to the President. The final scene takes the audience forward to the end of the century again with Tamara and Sunita, and the state of the economy then.

The plot is based on the idea that the human population of the world will somehow be decimated over the course of the twenty-first century. This is in line with the 1972 'Limits to Growth' projection, and current projections that many species across the ecosystem are under threat of extinction. One scenario would be some gradual crumbling over time in the global food supply chain as climate changes kick in. There are suggestions that, in general, poorer countries would be more vulnerable to agricultural difficulties and food shortages.

Whether wealthier countries will be able to adjust their agriculture to the climatic changes and be able to continue with mechanised farming and oil-based fertilizers, and still produce equivalent yields is an open question. Another possibility is that food shortages in cities would lead to a breakdown in law and order. The actual plot itself uses a simplistic scenario that a deadly epidemic sweeps the world.

The first theme deals with climate change, or climate chaos. The main characters protagonists assume mainstream data such as reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are correct, and their views appear to have been formed in the light of the twenty-eighth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The second theme is the tragedy of the commons, a subject of much debate by economists and ecologists. The protagonists introduce a concept, or metaphor, termed lifeboat economics, where one large lifeboat is used as a metaphor for the planet Earth in space. Lifeboat economics seems to emphasize the limits to growth, the importance of the resources of the commons, and working together. The protagonists also refer to mainstream economic ideas around population, affluence, and technology.

A third theme is the intergenerational nature of climate change issues. In time, the play spans five generations, and in particular explores the conflict between grandparents and granddaughters. The play also explores the social status of those born between 1940 and 1959 in relation to climate chaos and power in society.

A fourth theme is the natural world and human reliance on agriculture for food. The play mentions various difficulties with bugs, pests, diseases, and soil fertility and erosion, and the impact of climate change on the global food supply.