Wednesday, May 11 at 7:30 pm
by Adolfo Doring
We are very close to a turning point, where life after peak oil will be notably different from how we live life today. This evocative film calls attention to the fact that increasing energy use is the key to understanding the last 200 years of history. Abundant energy has allowed us to construct a paradigm where we believe that growth is normal and can continue forever. We believe fundamental “truths” without question: that oil will last indefinitely, population growth is not an issue, technological fixes will solve all our problems, and our current system of investment creates real wealth. We may be aware of the critical issues of overpopulation and peak oil, yet we conduct business as usual. Politicians avoid even a mention of them. We seem to be living in a detached world, out of touch with the reality of our likely future. Can we re-examine our beliefs and our way of life in sufficient depth in order to construct a sustainable world?
This film certainly urges us to. It has a forceful impact by the direct manner in which it addresses the serious problems we now face. At the same time, it is mesmerizing in its appealing visual imagery that perfectly complements the serious interviews. Yet it offers hope by showing that serious people are earnestly considering these problems and that others are invited to join the dialog. The serious people interviewed in this film include: Albert Bartlett, Roscoe Bartlett, Jason Bradford, Lester Brown, William Catton Jr., Kenneth Deffeyes, James Hansen, Mary Anne Hitt, Derrick Jensen, David Korten, Bill McKibben, David Pimentel, Matt Savinar, Joseph Tainter, Terry Tamminen, Elke Weber, and Max Fraad Wolff. They do not raise any hysterical and alienating cry for action, but leave us with a deep understanding of why we have little choice but to take action. What they are saying is hard to believe because it is inconsistent with certain unexamined “truths” most of us hold to be self-evident. For example, that growth equals progress; that technology will solve our problems; and that when wealthy people invest their money they are creating wealth. The people interviewed are blunt about the seriousness of the problems we face: peak oil and the depletion of many other vital natural resources (fresh water, topsoil, copper, platinum, indium, phosphorus); climate change; population overshoot. These problems are getting worse. And we’ve largely squandered the last forty years, precious time that we desperately needed to plan for these imminent crises. It is certainly time for those of us living in industrial societies to power down, live simply, and minimize our ecological footprints.
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