Common Sense for the 21st Century


Dr Alexandra Jellicoe

Alex is an environmental scientist and engineer and has worked globally with many people suffering the consequences of climate change. She is the founder and editor of Monkey Wrench

 ‘A long and violent abuse of power is generally the means of calling the right of it into question, (and in matters too which might never have been thought of, had the sufferers not been aggravated into the inquiry)’

Thomas Paine, Common Sense 1776

The scientific process is imperfect but without omniscience it is the best method available to us with which to understand the world. 

What is the truth? The analysis, verification and validation of evidence peer reviewed by other scientists to assess if the process is optimal to ensure accurate results. The truth as far as we know it.

The pursuit of truth prevents us slipping into the realms of rhetoric created to empower biased ideologies. The sanctity of the scientific process to inform government must be protected at all costs. It is an essential tool to unite behind. All other roads lead to chaos. But the truth is yet to be told.

How do you tell the uncomfortable truth to people whose utopian existence is literally costing the earth? With each casually tossed coin the vulnerable and powerless are subjugated and slaughtered. Austerity, modern slavery, habitat loss, extinction, deforestation - the language of the disassociated. The middle class are the unknowing foot soldiers of economic warfare, their wallets weaponised, atrocity dismissed with the flick of a Zara scarf. 

So, let me share this horror then to shake you from your comfort. Let me take your must-have trinket and place it like a cherry on top of the mountain of suffering and death complicit in its creation.

‘But we didn’t know!’ You retort, alarmed and afraid. And, of course, that is the truth.

I won’t share the science. The science doesn’t mean anything to you until the flood soaks your carpet and creeps up your wall. Raw sewage seeps into your Habitat sofa and stains your Laura Ashely curtains. Your daughter’s yellow teddy sinks beneath the murky surface.

I won’t share the science. The science doesn’t mean anything to you until you turn on the tap to fill your kettle. The pipe creaks but not a drop falls. You clutch your daughter, home from a waterless school, to queue with a dirty green bucket for your twenty-litre ration. 

I won’t share the science. The science doesn’t mean anything to you until you visit your aging mum and find her baked to death in her 1970s home, your daughter shaking her lifeless body. ‘Where are the flapjacks, Nan?’

I won’t share the science. The science doesn’t mean anything to you until you’re jolted awake. You think it’s a bomb but the wind ravages the branches of the old oak tree clawed over your daughter’s bedroom, the roof beams collapsed on her bed.

I won’t share the science. The science doesn’t mean anything to you. But it’s the truth.

‘But not to us, not here, not in the UK.’ You say. And I say. ‘Did you hear what you just said?’ 

I’m cruel, I know, watching you squirm in discomfort but then relent. ‘Yes, you and within your daughter’s lifetime. She may live to fifty perhaps.’ I shrug. ‘No more.’

A twitterous cacophony erupts challenging me for the health statistics. And the imperfect nature of science is revealed as a void in our knowledge is exposed. How many sick and dead, where, when and how soon?

Listen closely. ‘Many deaths, everywhere, very soon,’ whispers through the corridors of public health.

Physics, chemistry, biology - the truth enslaved by economics.

Sleepless nights, clutch your daughter tight.

Reuse, recycle, repair. Come on! You do it! You do it too! Ditch the car, buy a bike. Mask up, wear a helmet. Supermarket sweep; no meat, no air-miles, no plastic. Leave, hungry.

Sleepless nights, clutch your daughter tight. 

Come on! Why aren’t you doing it too?

Who’s in charge here?

Two degrees, four degrees, five degrees, six. Boris, Banks and Brexit.

Do the oppressed recognise their oppression? I digress …

‘Societies will not change with the necessary speed without rebellions and revolutionary transformation ...’ Roger Hallam

Is Common Sense for the 21st Century the best hope we’ve got to prevent human extinction? 

Yes, I think so.

Buy it now. Skill up. Join the rebellion.