The Blob

What does a giant blob of living jelly from another planet have to do with climate change? Why do we want to set up a transmedia sequel? How can you be a part of this creative adventure?

chat Posted Aug 05, 2015 by Rezwan | Category : Narrative Fun
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“The Blob” is a 1958 horror film starring Steve McQueen.  Don’t be fooled by the trailer below. This is a great (and surprisingly moving) film about how the people of a town pull together, overcoming skepticism and mistrust to battle an amorphous enemy. Watch the whole movie. Freak out at the end when you realize the Blob is the Personification of Climate Change and we are living the sequel.


Ominous Ending and Sequel Setup

Here is a synopsis of the ending of the first movie. Notice how it creates the perfect set up for a climate change sequel.

The Blob (now an enormous mass from all the people it consumed) engulfs the diner and begins to ooze in through the windows while the occupants seek refuge in the cellar. The police try to kill the Blob by dropping a power line onto it, but this fails and only sets the diner ablaze. Defending themselves inside, the diner’s owner uses a CO2 fire extinguisher attempting to put out the fire, which also causes the approaching Blob to recoil. Steve remembers that the Blob retreated from the refrigerator, too, and tells Lt. Dave that the Blob apparently cannot stand the cold (“CO2, Dave, CO2!”). Jane’s father, Mr. Martin (Elbert Smith), takes Steve’s friends to the high school to retrieve fire extinguishers which are used to freeze the Blob. Dave requests an Air Force jet to transport the Blob to the North Pole to keep it frozen. A military plane is shown dropping the Blob into an Arctic landscape. The film ends with the “The End”.... which morphs into a question mark (?).

The classic quote near the end of the movie:

Lieutenant Dave: I think you should send us the biggest transport plane you have, and take this thing to the Arctic or somewhere and drop it where it will never thaw.

Of course now, the arctic is thawing!

“Climate Blob” Sequel

First, yes, there has already been a sequel to the blob: “Beware! The Blob.” In this story, a lab technician brings a sample of the blob home and his wife accidentally thaws it.  It terrorizes a town, and they corner it in an ice skating rink.

What we need now is global level sequel.

In the inciting incident of the sequel, they decide to move the blob from where it is (and things are melting) to a more secure location - or to a facility to vaporize it.  In the process, part of it thaws, terrorizing the transport team, and/or the vaporization process doesn’t work so well, there’s an explosion sending shards of blob to the far corners of the arctic. Some start to thaw. One consumes a polar bear.  Like a zombie movie, blobs are forming in the warmer parts of the arctic circle and moving out, attacking. Now we’ve got a full military presence in the arctic trying to contain and corral these blobs and send them back to the coldest parts. And then a huge chunk of the ice breaks off and the generals realize: it’s all about to melt.

And they realize, we can’t be sure we got all the shards, we can only capture and transport them back to the coldest areas so long as this ice prison lasts. We need to keep this place frozen. Which means, pedal to the metal, we need to fix climate change NOW. How can we do that? If the arctic melts, the blob will be the new dominant species on the planet, eating everything else in its wake. Turning civilization into a pile of goo.

What can humanity do? We have to pull out all the stops, execute every play in the zero carbon playbook. Get to zero carbon and beyond ASAP. Otherwise - we’re doomed.

Astute readers will realize that this is something we have to do anyway. Adding the blob as the personification of the problem just makes it more visceral. Also, a disaster movie format enables us to workshop the full scale of action required to flip the climate switch - to imagine what you really have to do to solve the problem, if it’s even solvable. Of course, that brings us to different ideas about the solutions. We might have to Groundhog this story.

“Groundhog” It

A Blob sequel is a great opportunity to explore and workshop different climate change solution scenarios and motivation speeches. The filmmakers can work with scientists to develop scenarios and assess the probable effectiveness of various solutions and combinations.

The film could have a “Groundhog Day” quality, where we extrapolate through many solutions that don’t add up. This could be a fun, entertaining way to give the world a reality check on how important each and every person’s full commitment to zero carbon is. And how we need to take an all of the above approach. Something for and from everyone! Go Team Earth!

Speaking of teams, the movie can also be a great showcase for dramatic moments where various Teams pull together and do their climate saving plays.

Make it a TV Series - New Genre: Metaphoric Reality TV

This is a lot to pack into one movie.

It would be better to play the story out as a TV series and challenge people to keep up with the protagonists in real time. In fact, make it an interactive TV series. Sometimes the actors show up to real things happening in our world. Ground breaking of clean energy plants, shutting down of coal plants, experiments with real carbon capture innovations and geo-engineering finishing touches. The idea is to not watch this show passively, but to try and beat the show in the real world.

The show should inspire. Maybe what we all need to see is people modeling how to get to Zero carbon ASAP. All of it. The brainstorming, the arguments, it can all be there, played out in gory detail. And to keep up the drama, mix in climate effects with occasional shards of blob melting and escaping and wreaking havoc and having to be transported back to the ever shrinking ice caps.  Occasional blob attacks to keep up the ratings.

The Blob as Personification of Climate Change

When people talk about climate change, they often use the image of a polar bear on a melting ice floe. Researchers say that this image is distancing and ineffective in communicating the real threat.

The BLOB, in contrast, is a far more visceral threat, and also works as a perfect metaphor for the problem we are facing. Some of the impact of climate change is truly “blobby”.  Here are three actual impacts of climate change that are Blob-like:

Methane Rising from the Ocean Floor

The blob may arise in the form of plumes of gas from the ocean floor

Researchers surveying the Arctic Ocean’s seafloor have discovered something particularly unsettling for many climatologists. Plumes of methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas, are rising in tiny ominous bubbles from the ocean floor. Why exactly this is happening remains unclear, but initial speculation is tying it to warning temperatures and ice melt.

A Blob of Warm Water

The Blob may already be menacing California, and Oregon State University is asking for your help to study it:

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A huge mass of unusually warm water that scientists have dubbed “The Blob” has lurked off the West Coast for much of the past two years and speculation is growing that it may be connected in some way with the drought plaguing West Coast states.

So researchers are planning a new study to see what role The Blob – as well as human-induced climate change – may have played in creating the parched conditions in California, Oregon and Washington.

And they are looking for your help.
Anyone interested in participating in the project – or just following the analysis in real-time – can go to http://www.climateprediction.net/weatherathome/western-us-drought

Rise of the Jellyfish

In a case of life imitating art, the recent rise in the jellyfish population is fueled by rising ocean temperatures.  Another hint from the planet that we need to act NOW to stop climate change. Perhaps this movie can be a way to clarify the options and inspire a real world change, with a loony sense of fun in the process.

“A moon jelly shown in false color at the Pairi Daiza” Image © Hans Hillewaert

For more giant, creepy Jellyfish, check this out.


Check out the United States of Jello.

Want to work on your Climate Fiction (”CliFi”) writing skills with a supportive and fun group of people?

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Join our Meetup Group.

Stuck in the Debate Beat

We’ve all heard the call to action on climate change - so why haven’t we fixed the problem? If life is a screenplay, we’re stuck in the “debate” beat.

"Boy that was an amorphous BLOB of undoability" pp 17 @GTDGuy The trouble w/ Climate Challenge! http://t.co/AQZRPcaP1l #RacetoZeroCarbon

— Footprint to Wings (@Footprint2Wings) August 7, 2015
Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired To Ignore Climate Change
The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership

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