Thursday, 19 March 2009

THE AGE OF STUPID -- Celebrating the End of the Beginning

Like Al Gores movies this is a little compressed in its time frame but certainly highly watchable for all those concerned that environmentally speaking we do live in The Age of Stupid.
Although I agree that Global Warming is a fact, I tend to differ with those both in the environmental movement and outside, who consider that this whole scenario all as a result of human activity. Our Sun is a Variable Star and at various times in the history of our little planet, it has experienced major flooding, deserts and almost complete covering by ice.
These conditions can result from the Suns variation in heat output, or from the entire solar system travelling through a large area of dust or gas clouds or even as a result of a major clobbering by a large chunk of rock or ice from the asteroid belt. Life itself can then be reduced to its merely vestigle components and any civilisations have to pick up the pieces and start over.
This of course does not mean that the activities of human beings are entirely innocent nor that we should turn a blind eye to Global warming in either the hope or belief that it will go away because it probably wont and doing absolutely sod all is not an option. Just as the answers to global warming cannot all be solved by wind farms or nuclear power but by a basket of solutions, neither can the causes be reduced to a single "wham bam thank you mam. "But i digress considerably......
The Age of Stupid by Franny Armstrong is both an environmental cry from the heart and a plea for change. As it says in the review by Sukhdev Sandhu Her last documentary, McLibel (2005), saluted two intrepid environmentalists who successfully took on the might of fast-food giant McDonalds. Her latest call to arms is called The Age of Stupid. Beginning in 2055, when London is under water, Vegas under sand, Sydney on fire and the Taj Mahal in ruins, it features Pete Postlethwaite as The Archivist, a sad-eyed man, the last one left on earth, who lives in a tower off Norway using touch-screen technology to find out why it was that people in 2009 did nothing to stop the eco-catastrophe that was staring them in the face.
There are six main stories. Among them that of an octogenarian French mountain guide who has witnessed the swift erosion of the glacier he loves; an Indian entrepreneur bent on setting up a low-budget airline; a British wind-energy developer who tries to persuade other people in his village to support the construction of local turbines.
The Age of Stupid is more passionate, more emotionally charged than the Al Gore-fronted An Inconvenient Truth (2006). It makes energetic use of animation in the style of 1970s public information films. Its use of science fiction is also both effective and emotional: it's as if Armstrong hopes that the future can come to the aid of the present. Bold, supremely provocative, and hugely important, her film is a cry from the heart as much as a roar for necessary change.
See it if you can and if you cannot, then hector your local cinema to screen it. And what as a society can we do about all this. Well we can stop glamourising consumption and start really educating our children rather than training them to be perfect little producer-consumers. The future depends on all of us. As Captain Beefheart said. "Times running out, if all you ever do is blabber and smoke!"