The Simpsons is constantly praised for its ability to predict the future, and the calls the movie made about society’s response to climate change have largely proved to be accurate.

With the movie celebrating its 16th anniversary this week, we’ve looked back at how The Simpsons was actually rather ahead of its time when it came to climate change. Though many viewers likely didn’t think to consider it at the time, the 90-minute comedy spectacle contained multiple nods to the dismissive and uninformed attitudes toward climate change that are still prevalent among many people today.

Lisa Simpson – Greta Thunberg before it was cool

Wise beyond her years and forever motivated to inspire positive change, a concerned Lisa Simpson spends the entirety of the movie campaigning to raise awareness among fellow Springfield residents about the threats posed by climate change. At one point in the movie, enraged by her peers who aren’t taking the environment seriously, Lisa launches into an impassioned speech – informing her classmates of how “There is no Springfield 50 years in the future”.

Lisa’s poignant summation of the realities facing the animated community was echoed similarly in real life more than a decade later when Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg first rose to prominence.

Though Thunberg was just four years old when The Simpsons Movie was released, she has often been compared to Lisa as, just like in the cartoon, it has taken the strong words of an impassioned young person to alert people to the realities of climate change in real life, too.

Nelson Muntz as the face of climate change denial

It would appear that The Simpsons Movie’s creators were not shy of letting everyone know what they thought of climate change deniers, by making notorious bully Nelson Muntz the face of such an opinion.

After declaring to Lisa that he is “very passionate about the planet”, Millhouse is swiftly met with the looming fist of Muntz, who forces him to admit that “global warming is a myth” in order to avoid a beating, before deciding to punch him anyway.

And earlier on in the movie when Green Day take a break from their performance to talk to the Springfield crowd about the environment, they are bombarded with an array of objects hurled by an angry crowd who deem the band “preachy” and demand they “shut up and play”.

Of course, what follows is a climate disaster localized entirely within the town of Springfield, providing a rather on-the-nose depiction of what The Simpsons’ writers think of those who refuse to listen to legitimate concerns about the realities of our environment.

The Simpsons Movie’s take on climate change looks more accurate than ever

Looking back at The Simpsons Movie with the luxury of hindsight, one can’t help but feel that the attitudes towards climate change depicted throughout could not have been more accurate.

As the wildfires of summer 2023 continue to devastate countries in Europe and destroy lives in Algeria, a quick search of the term ‘climate change’ on Twitter, or X, rather, reveals the belief that it is a “myth” and that reports of climate-related emergencies are exaggerated continue to be prominent.

Despite genuine real-world examples of the ills of climate change unfolding in front of them, swathes of people are refusing to acknowledge such looming threats, just as how The Simpsons warned people how not to respond way back in 2007.

Though trivial it may be, The Simpsons Movie clearly did offer a serious message and one that was ahead of its time, when the world didn’t know who Greta Thunberg was, and the consequences of our actions appeared a lot further away than they do now.

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