Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Age of Stupid - Great Climate Change Documentary

Blue IcebergsToday I saw a really great climate change documentary. It was called The Age of Stupid and was directed by Franny Armstrong. It was set in the future 2055 to be exact. The premise is that the one guy is basically the last, or one of the last, human on Earth. He is reflecting on how stupid humans were to have ruined the climate and become extinct even though they clearly saw it coming and could have stopped. The great line from the movie went something like this, "Humans certainly aren't the first species to kill themselves off, but they are the first to do it when they saw it coming". He goes on to compare what happened to suicide, which really fits quite well when you think about it. 

It is basically a montage of news clips which were real, except for the ones from the future of course. One of the really interesting concepts I took away from the movie is a great way to look at the whole climate change issue. Essentially it all breaks down to how much land is needed to support the number of people in the world. This includes the land for trees to create lumber and paper, the land for stream for us to drink, etc etc etc. It all comes down to how much resources this planet has to offer and how much we are using. Clearly right now we are using more then are replenished by Earth year after year. That is working for now because this planet has so many resources, but it is quickly starting to catch up with is for two reasons.

Reason #1 what we are doing isn't sustainable

First we can't sustain what we are doing now because there are just so many of us and the number is growing. This is what it all comes down to for me. I keep going back to the fact that there are just too many of us. Like it seems no matter how basically we decide to live our lives when there are 9-10 billion of us, it just isn't going to matter. With that many people we are just going to use more then the planet can replenish every year. This means were are going to be dipping into the planet's reserves of resources every year, and at some point there just won't be any left. It's just like a financial budget. You can spend more then you make for a while, but eventually it just catches up with you. Even if you have money in the bank, if you keep dipping into it each year eventually it is going to be gone, and then it's game over.

Reason #2 what we are doing isn't sustainable

The other issue with people is the amount of energy we use every year. Not matter the form we are essentially using energy. Whether it be the food we eat, the paper we write on, the clothes we wear, the house we live in, it all consumes energy in one form or the other. It's this energy which is the resources that I'm talking about. Not only are there so many of us living our lives that we are using more energy then is created by the sun shining on the planet each year, we are also using more and more of it each year. American specifically are the worst. We have be industrialized the longest I guess so we've just gotten used to being consumers. The goal of consumerism is to keep getting people to buy more then they did last year, and it works great until you realize that the resources are finite and there is just no way around the fact that you are going to eventually run out of resources.

A really interesting fact from the movie is that if all people on the planet right now lived the way that the average American does we would actually need 5 planet Earths to sustain it all! So with the amount of people alive now, living like we do in America, we would need more land to create all those resources each year. How much more? 5 times what we have now!!! And just think with climate change speeding up the caps are going to melts and there is going to be even less usable land as time goes by. It's like a train with no breaks going down hill!

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