I got to see Franny Armstrong’s ‘The Age of Stupid’ last night. Well worth seeing. It stars Pete Postlethwaite as the last remaining survivor in the year 2055, on a planet devastated by climate breakdown. He sits in front of a screen in a massive archive of human history – taking us with him as he browses through recent events , and again and again asking the obvious question: ‘why did humanity not stop this from happening whilst it had the chance? Why did it rush headlong, and consciously, into suicide?’
We see footage of hurricane Katrina; Iraqui refugees; people dying in Nigeria through air pollution and lack of clean water; anti-windfarm activists, who would rather shoot their neighbours than have their ‘view spoilt/value of their house go down’; an Indian flight entrepreneur, who aims to make flying so cheap it can be afforded by the very poorest of the poor… a seemingly disparate assortment of people, situations and occurrences – yet we are enabled to make links and form our own conclusions.
Yes – we may have heard it all before, to the point of boredom – but this film kept me interested and entertained (if that’s the right word) throughout. Story-telling has always been the most potent way of communicating the facts of life, and here the power of the movie and modern technology is used graphically and dramatically to great effect.
The film is unconventional not only in the way it was produced, but in the revolutionary new way it is being distributed. Indie Screenings has been set up so that anyone anywhere can screen it, and keep the profits for themselves or for their campaign.
If there is one single message to take away from ‘The Age of Stupid’, it is that we in the developed world must all drastically reduce our oil-based energy consumption – fast. The operative words here are ‘drastic’ and ‘fast’. It is not simply a matter of sending our plastic bottles to the recycling centre. The changes needed are likely to be a bit more uncomfortable than that.
Climate Change is perhaps the biggest challenge that humanity has ever faced – and without any doubt, time is of the essence. The Indie system of screening was set up so this message could spread around the world fast, like a virus. Anyone can get hold of the film, get a few friends together and watch it in their front room – or anywhere.
To hire the film, you can register with Indie Screenings right now.
Some links: http://ageofstupid.net/notstupid
Here’s a guide to calculating your carbon footprint, written by Mukti Mitchell, who lives just along the coast here in North Devon, and who, a couple of years ago, sailed around Britain in a zero-emission yacht to promote low-carbon lifestyles. It contains lots of handy tips and information for everyday life. Called ‘A Guide to Low Carbon Lifestyles’, it can be downloaded free at http://lowcarbonlifestyle.org/guide.html.
Now I am off now to see a performance by Aboriginal musician, artist and performer, Noel Butler, who has come from Australia to appear at the fabulous Appledore Festival. It is called “The Story that belongs to Me”.
Is there a connection, do I hear you ask? Yes there is. We are all a part of one living Earth.