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Discussion in 'News' started by TEG, Sep 7, 2007.
I just saw "The 11th hour" movie. There was a brief bit of old Roadster "stock footage" in there.
Did you find the movie as compelling as "An Inconvenient Truth"?
The message was different, but a bit jumbled. With so many different interviews, so much stock footage (some of it only loosely related) I found the movie tiring. Leonardo had intelligent dialog, and the people being interviewed had interesting things to say, but it was sometimes hard to tell what points they were trying to make.
I am sure some people will think it is great, but I felt overwhelmed just from an "over-stimulated blip-verts" sort of way. I think perhaps the movie was trying to present too much material all at once.
At least it didn't make any outrageous, unbelievable points. It was trying to straddle the line between bleak and optimistic with a call to action, but I felt less motivated by this film compared to Inconvenient Truth.
My overall takeaways were the following:
#1: More evidence was presented to show that we are making our planet "sick".
#2: We can't depend on governments and big businesses to take care of things so we need to vote for appropriate change. (As far as how to stop big business from endlessly trying to grow the economy, the message was unclear... Should we all quit our jobs and join a commune?)
#3: We need to avoid the "rat race", slow down, and get out of an endless cycle of consumption. (If only it were so easy to do...)
#4: The earth can only support approx 1 billion people unless we "borrow from the future" by exploiting energy reserves. (So what do we do in the long term since the population keeps growing?)
On the positive side, they suggest that planet will "heal itself" after a while if we manage to make it inhospitable for ourselves... Some sort of life will carry on (but not necessarily humans).
I hope the future ends up being brighter for us than the movie lead me to expect.
But that is just what I thought about it...
Thanks, TEG. I'll wait for the DVD.
One billion people? That would mean getting rid of five billion to perpetuate humankind.
My travels have left me a pessimist towards our long-term chances. For every car Tesla sells, there are thousands of motorized rickshaws in Mumbai and Bangkok turning the air yellow. The coal power plant that feeds Ulan Bator coats the city in dust. The air is so bad in Beijing that you need a face mask to get around. Romania has encouraged western companies to site environmentally damaging factories that they couldn't build legally in their home countries. And this is before these countries really start to exploit the environment like we have.
This line I heard last winter while waiting for a ski lift:
"If you want people to do the right thing, you have to make it easier for them than the wrong thing."
When the government has looked at the environment, it traditionally has tried to force business into being more environmentally friendly. Compulsion too often fails. If somehow government could lead by incentive, instead, big business would perhaps get on board.
The Germans, with their huge solar power incentives, might be on to something. Farmers there are installing solar panels because they can make more money "growing" electricity than anything they could plant.
We need effective leadership. We need a global solution.
I'm not sure about the rest of the movie, which I haven't seen and probably won't see. . . But I'm sure that energy is not the limiting factor for human population on the Earth. Fresh water and agricultural land (particularly topsoil) are more likely to be limiting factors. (And given enough energy, you can even desalinate ocean water.)
Solar, geothermal and various flavors of nuclear power can scale up to meet our needs. If Dr. Bussard's fusion reactor works as hoped, that technology alone could rapidly displace most other forms of power generation.
The movie seemed geared towards criticism of our use of oil, and growth beyond what could be sustained by the energy of "today's sunshine" alone.
It didn't go so much into the issues of water consumption. It did touch on issues of pollution, deforestation and the like. It talked at length about global warming. They had lots of nifty graphics showing heat energy from the sun getting trapped in the atmosphere in "healthy" amounts when things are running right for us, and unhealthy amounts as the gases are changed up there. Another take away from the movie is that the Earth is an unlikely, fragile place and assumptions that we could never damage it are proving wrong.
If these concepts are interesting to you, then you should probably go see the movie. I have a tendency to distort my recollections of movies (particularly ones that didn't hold my full attention), so I may be mis-representing it in some ways.
Timely news story: