What's it about?
Rap Guide to Climate Chaos is a one man show starring Baba Brinkman (pictured above), a Canadian rapper and playwright. Baba shares the brutal truths regarding climate change and the future of our planet.
Guess what? It's not pretty. 😭
What'd I experience?
Having already seen another of Baba Brinkman's shows, Rap Guide to Religion, last year, and having been utterly blown away, I was very excited to see the science-loving rapper tackle another topic. And this was one I admittedly knew nothing about: climate change. I mean, I knew that it existed, and that it was our fault, but was able to sleep peacefully knowing that I acknowledged the problem and recycled (from time to time).
I arrived at the theatre five minutes after the show was supposed to start, sweaty and out of breath. The number of times I have gone to the theatre in this state! Luckily, the staff assured me that the performance hadn't begun yet, and I was able to calmly take my pick of seats from a nearly empty house.
Baba came out and the first thing he did was sit on the edge of the stage, only a few feet away from me. I liked how intimate this felt. I had never been a science or math person, only really excelling at subjects related to the arts. But Baba rapped in a way that even I could understand, and it was hard to believe he was rapping about things like carbon emissions and the greenhouse effect.
A few raps into the show, it became clear to me that despite Baba's jolly demeanor, there was nothing jolly about the subject of his raps. Basically, we had a problem, our whole planet and everyone on it. That's over seven billion people. I knew that if we didn't wake up to the fact that we were going to have to adapt to a healthier, almost certainly less convenient lifestyle for the sake of our planet, then there were majorly bad things on the way. And as a 21 year old with roughly my whole life ahead of me, it was terrifying to sit there as Baba rhymed statistics my way that predicted a future that looked like something out of The Day After Tomorrow. That's the world I would grow up in and eventually bring children into?
I wondered if I could give up even the smallest comforts for the betterment of my planet. I would like to think I could, but could I really? If climate change could be reversed by everyone refraining from using their cell phones, I would sooner bet on global disaster than us spoiled humans relinquishing the technology we've become so accustomed to. In Baba's rap, "Make it Hot," he made reference to a definite link between our carbon emissions and our greed. Sure, we care about our environment and will take public transportation now and again, but if we need to fly somewhere for business, we aren't going to let our wish to limit our carbon footprint stop us.
But Baba didn't suggest quitting fossil fuels cold turkey, a both unrealistic and (I'm sure) impossible feat. He did, however, recommend a tax on carbon to keep the majority of it under the ground where it belongs. And how people could find fault with this, I had no idea.
Oh yeah, there were the deniers (cough, Donald Trump, cough) , people who in spite of overwhelming scientific data still refused to acknowledge the threats imposed by a rapidly changing climate. But some of those who spoke out against the dangers of climate change were... respected scientists with credibility in the field. But were their beliefs credible? Baba obviously didn't think so, and to prove it he performed raps from the points of view of the contrarians. Some of the points made by the contrarians were appealing, mainly because by ignoring the clear and present danger they alleviated themselves from any guilt in creating it.
A surprising advocate for educating people about climate change was the current Pope. I knew he had a reputation for being progressive but one of Baba's raps which contained verbatim tweets from the Pope left my mouth dropping in shock and awe.
His Holiness knew what was UP.
Halfway through the show, Baba took a break from rapping to invite a special guest on stage, a real live scientist, specifically a climatologist who taught at CUNY. Baba and the professor ran a Q & A with the audience, and it was reassuring to hear Baba speak with such eloquence and knowledge about climate. These weren't the carefully scripted raps he had written out. He honestly knew what he was talking about. And I suppose he should have, being the son of two environmentalists and owners of a business responsible for planting over one billion trees. Every word out of Baba's mouth was supported by the scientist.
After the Q & A, Baba launched into an improvised rap which incorporated topics previously discussed and the questions raised by audience members. There was no way Baba could have prepared for this, and he brought his A game. Baba may have been a man of science, but he was undeniably a talented rapper.
My whole life, it had been so easy to act like climate change was irrelevant. As a little girl, it didn't even exist in my world. I believed the planet's vastness and abundance in resources was a given rather than a luxury I was taking for granted. But as an almost college graduate exiting the theatre, I could no longer claim ignorance. I knew the facts, even if I didn't fully understand them, and they were startling to say the least. More people needed to know how dire things were. Couldn't the soundtrack for Rap Guide to Climate Chaos be some sort of required listening for youth? I felt that the younger people recognized the problem, the better, and Baba's raps presented the information in an accessible way. My generation and the ones that will follow should not have to suffer for the collective mistakes of several generations, now refusing to clean up their own mess.
Want to see it?
:( Sorry. This show is not currently showing.