This is the forty-seventh entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

It’s time for another random slection from the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. It’s The Rise and Fall of Cataclysmo, by David Brett (aka codecloak) and Cat Parra. Its tagline in the bundle reads:

A short comic about frustration and climate change

That’s right, this entry is not actually a game, but a comic. And a short one at that.

The Rise and Fall of Cataclysmo is just a few pages long, short enough that it’s awkward to write about without simply spoiling the whole thing. On the page, writer David Brett says the idea came to him after the massive fires in California and Australia in 2019, the severity of which highlighted the dangers of climate change and how the human race has largely failed to take any action to stop it. He worked with Cat Parra to create the comic itself, with a theme of persevering even when the situation feels impossible.

The character of Cataclysmo confused me a little, and I’m not sure I fully understood the metaphor(s) being employed. The message I did get is that individual heroics or innovations aren’t going to solve the crisis overnight, what is needed is steady work as part of a larger community. There may be more subtext than that, but this message is certainly true, and may help others who feel frustrated or helpless with the state of things. Climate change is a slow process, and it will be slow to reverse. We just need to keep working at it.

As I write this, the United States has just inaugurated a new President, who has already signed an executive order to rejoin the Paris Agreement, reversing a decision made by the disastrous previous administration. This is a good sign, but I’m not confident that such efforts are enough. As long as we live in a capitalist society, climate action will only happen on a large scale if it is profitable. Combatting climate change is not something that will be profitable in the short term. It will be expensive. We need to pay the cost. I hope that the Paris Agreement will bring about more efforts that aren’t solely motivated by profit, but the truth is that the rich elite of the world could use their wealth to tackle this problem, but they are not doing so. No, Jeff Bezos’s fund is not enough, and it’s about twenty years too late. He’s been a billionaire since 1999, and we’ve known about climate change a lot longer than that. Why did it take him so long?

It will be hard to build a society that’s not dominated by capitalism and controlled by the super rich, but the good news is that doing so will solve a lot more problems than just climate change. A more equal distribution of wealth will improve the lives of so many people, and allow the dismantling of unjust systems — including systemic racism — that exist to uphold the status quo. I believe we are building towards this even now, with more and more people realizing the source of our societal problems. There’s a lot of work to do, but we can do it, together. If you need a little inspiration, and you missed it in the bundle, The Rise and Fall of Cataclysmo is available for a minimum price of $1.

That’s 47 down, and only 1694 to go!