By sliding down the celebrity slippery slope to become a gossip rag, Rolling Stone writers have lost any relevance as music critics. Last month’s cover of Kim Kardashian’s ample bosom was lambasted by many, not least by Sinead O’Connor who called for a boycott of the magazine. “Music has officially died”, O’Connor tweeted.
Perhaps in response to this PR hiccup and to refocus away from their out-moded, misogynistic male gaze, their editors have shifted their reporting to:‘our planet is officially dying’.
One of this month’s principal articles is all about how humanity has now exceeded the planetary boundaries. The message is that 2015 is Earth’s tipping point and that historians may look back at 2015 as a turning point, a tipping point for Earth and our fragile ecosystems. The record-setting heatwaves; the pavement-melting heatwaves; California’s worst drought in a millennium; extreme weather events; ocean acidification; and animal migrations in response to climate change pressures; sea levels rising faster than predicted, they are all in here. ‘The heat is on, the pressure is on, and this makes the future deeply uncertain’, so the report goes.
For an audience more used to chasing the EDM hysteria; kiss and tell stories; dishing the dirt on divorces; the details of plastic surgery blunders, this article on dangerous climate tipping points is welcomed. Rolling Stone still remains one of the world’s most popular magazines, selling almost 2 million printed copies monthly in the US and attracting 43 million page views online worldwide, so it is still a force to be reckoned with, and a force to be read. Let’s hope they keep up the climate change reporting.
Rolling Stone was created in 1960s, free, easy, and flower-powered San Francisco as a voice for the underground and thriving music scenes across the Western world. Gonzo journalism even had a place there, with Hunter S. Thompson as a political reporter for the magazine. Perhaps more climate change reporting could offer a return to grace for this pop publication.
Historians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan. "The climate change models predict this gentle, slow increase in temperature," says Peterson, "but the main problem we've had for the last few years is the variability is so high. As scientists, we can't keep up with it, and neither can the animals." Peterson likens it to a boxer getting pummeled round after round: "At some point, you knock them down, and the fight is over."