The climate crisis is coming for us all, and that includes Pokémon.
Anyone playing Pokemon Sword and Shield, which was released last Friday, might have noticed a few climate-related angles to the game. (No spoilers – I’m only three hours in.)
The most obvious – and least spoiler-y – example of this is Corsola, a coral Pokémon which has been literally bleached to death.
The former Corsola, introduced in the Pokémon Gold and Silver games, was a delightful, cheerful, pink Water and Rock-type Pokémon.
In the new games, it’s a bleached, sad, cursed looking thing, which the game says was wiped out by “sudden climate change”.
Just a reminder from Pokémon that our planet is dying pic.twitter.com/4jH9NQKBlX— Jolie Menzel (@joliemenzel) November 17, 2019
It’s estimated that up to 70% of the world’s coral reefs have been damaged due to climate change, including about two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef during back-to-back bleaching events in 2016 and 2017.
Prof. Terry Hughes, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies who completed aerial surveys of the reef, said the “most pressing” issue for the reef was – you guessed it – global warming.
“Clearly the reef is struggling with multiple impacts,” Hughes said in 2017.
“Without a doubt the most pressing of these is global warming. As temperatures continue to rise the corals will experience more and more of these events: 1°C of warming so far has already caused four events in the past 19 years.
“Ultimately, we need to cut carbon emissions, and the window to do so is rapidly closing.”