11th Hour

September 15, 2007 at 1:09 am | Posted in Movies, Science | Leave a comment

Saw the film “11th Hour” this evening.  The film “an inconvenient truth” is mainly one guy talking, with some powerful graphics. Unexpectedly effective. 11th Hour is a whole series of talking heads – from a former CIA director to environmentalists, interspersed with short clips of the beauty of the earth and the devastation we have wrought.

Koyansquatsi, the early ’80’s film “life out of balance” (with an amazing musical score)  highlighted how we were drifting to an extreme. And that was 25 years ago. We didn’t get the message then and the issues are accelerating.

If you are a boomer, the worlds population has more than doubled in your lifetime. At the same time, consumption by “first world” countries has increased dramatically. We have become more familiar with brand logos than local plant species.

It all comes down to a few false assumptions. That we are separate from nature.  And that if more is good, even more is better. For many people, our lives have become a never ending rat race of working, just to buy stuff. Our entire culture has become built around these basic and very false ideas. We are not separate from nature and as the film observes, if we don’t come to recognize our role in the larger global context, we willl perish as have the majority of specifies before us. Just look at the epidemic of obesity for how we treat ourselves.

Though not mentioned in the film, the sudden decline of bee populations is another fine example. The majority of our crops depend on the bees. If they die out, these food crops will fail within 4 years.  Einstein made that observation many years ago.

The film highlights the role of unfettered capitalism and its influence over government policy. Industrialization was originally developed to improve our quality of life but has passed a tipping point, a place where it is reducing quality of life. Corporations pursuing more profits at any cost become a monster, destroying the people they were once intended to serve.

Buckminster Fuller many years ago said that the key to a high quality of living was low cost energy.  Because energy was the ability to do work. He proposed (amonst many other things), a global electrical grid to share power where peak demands were distributed and sources shared.

As the film observes, oil became our ticket to cheap energy. Only trouble is, it pollutes, and is a non-renewable resource. In coal and oil, we are borrowing from the past and using the resource at a far greater rate than the supply can sustain.

Some powerful points in there about how we view everything as either a person (corporations included) or as property  – all of nature.  But nature is not our property. It is not segmented and cannot be viewed outside the bigger picture.

The film only breezes over some of the projections and observations of existing consequences. But it tries hard to stay with facts and not conjecture. Its a powerful indictments of our recent way of life.

The film also touches on solutions. That the technology for cheap and clean energy is here. That the majority of people want it.  Only that the largest corporations and their government supporters are not interested in change. The film “Who Killed the Electric Car” documents how this plays out – the electric cars  on the market 10 years ago are all off the market now.

The film also notes how Republicans and Democrats in the US came together to introduce a series of environmental acts many years ago, most of which has since been disabled.

The wisdom is there. We’ve taken a kick at the can a few times, but as the film observes, we’re running out of time. We don’t know for what. But if we continue to treat our environment (and ourselves) with abuse and disdain, nature will do what it has so many times before and eradicate the infection.

We can as individuals make a difference – at least to slow the acceleration and give us some choices.   http://www.11thhouraction.com/ 

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