I recently saw the documentary “The 11th Hour” at San Francisco’s Lumière Theatre. Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, it presented the world’s environmental problems, followed by possible solutions and technologies. Given the demographic of the crowd, I imagined that it would primarily preach to the choir, and I didn’t expect to hear anything that I hadn’t heard before.
As compelling and enlightening as the information from a variety of scientists and experts was, a frightening thought came to mind: What about all the people who will “tune out” after the first few seconds of the trailer, or to the premise in general?
Upon hearing the perilous state of the environment and that “we” have caused it, some could just as vehemently declare the whole thing hysterics. Others could say it doesn’t matter based on philosophical arguments. Or those who struggle with crippling social or financial problems might wonder why some are quick to defend the planet, and not them.
Is there a common ground, regardless of viewpoints, where we can all meet?
I am somewhat optimistic that momentum is building in that direction. And the film suggests that a future in balance with nature is possible without returning to “life in the woods”. Here are a few of the innovative technologies that are mentioned in the film:
* Photosynthetic buildings which can make cities work like forests
* A dance club powered by energy of the dancers on the floor
* Mushrooms that can remediate the soil of brownfields
You may also want to check out the quietly moving documentary “Manufactured Landscapes.” This film presents the impact of industrialization with breathtaking, artistic images interlaced with the human stories behind the ‘product life cycle’.