Do you know about Overshoot? Enviro-problems explained
So the media ‘thinslice’ the information they give us. How complacent do you think they are in maintaining the status quo? Or what could be done through the media to alter the status quo? Because you say that the status quo is killing us, right?
Yea…Well I think it’s already happening. I think you are doing it. The internet, as long as the grid holds up, and supplies electrons to keep it alive. The media is spinning, obviously. Anybody in their 30’s doesn’t get the evening news, 10% of people read newspapers, or something like that… [pullquote]The mass media, which is the instrument of corporate control, is becoming irrelevant.[/pullquote] And the problem, of course, is that you go to a website that has a more radical viewpoint or that is reporting what is sometimes hard to tell if it’s polemic or biophysical scientific fact. I’m trying biophysical fact and coming from that. I’m trying to interview scientists so that people would understand the physics, and the laws of thermodynamics and the basics of science, and report from that, as oppose to saying damn the fat rich bastards, because it’s not that effective. The fat rich bastards are just doing what fat rich bastards do. That just exacerbates the problem, but it doesn’t create the problem.
I completely agree with you. But what do you say of the “Science” that is trying to undermine global warming, which apparently is surfacing all over the place? Even the Suzuki foundation is being attacked for its receiving foreign donations, and science…trying to disprove what they are doing is constantly surfacing. What do you make of all that?
If you read books by Naomi Oreskes, for instance, who is a science historian, the history of denial about global warming is key, because that denial started with the smoking industry. The cigarette smoking industry was doing ok. In the ‘50s they had the…actors playing doctors saying three out of four doctors smoke cigarettes so it’s all fine. Then second hand smoking became an issue, and it wasn’t about personal responsibility anymore, it was about affecting others with your cigarette smoke. And there was good science about that. But Philip Morris hired a PR firm…and they…formed the first Astroturf groups – first fake-citizens groups – and they hired scientists, among others a scientist called Fred Singer. And he is a very contrarian man who likes to get attention by saying the opposite of what everyone else says – it boils down to personality. So they get Fred Singer and he came out and said all sorts of things that were lies about how second hand smoke is fine, and thusly created doubt. So they realized that they didn’t have to disprove the science, because they couldn’t, but all they had to do was plant doubt. And when they created these Astroturf groups, it was too obvious that it was just about second hand smoke, because it was Philip Morris. So they introduced other issues, side issues, other scientific issues to plant doubt just to cover it up just so people wouldn’t know that second hand smoke is what they were talking about. And those other issues were things like pesticides and global warming. But what they found was global warming was much more conducive to that argument and it took on a life of its own. So singer went from talking about second hand smoke to talking about global warming, why?? He’s still out there, like 80 years old, has a mouth that has said just about every other thing. And there are other ones now that have joined the man – …but there are a few dozen who are contrarians against the tens of thousands who are not. And most of them are geophysicists, they are not climatologists, and they have some other expertise. And uniformly they are people who are just contrarians – who like to say the opposite of what everybody else says. But again, the goal isn’t science…the goal isn’t to disprove the science, because the science is clear. The goal is to create doubt. If you look like a perfectly normal human being, but I know that once when you were eight you stole playboy magazines, I say ’Fernando is a thieve, and a pervert as far as I can tell’. And you’re ‘like I stole when I was 8 and I gave it back’….and I go, I don’t know about Fernando…I can’t trust him….That’s all you have to do. It’s gone beyond that now. Time Magazine actually wrote an article about bullying, that they are actually physically threatening climate scientists…with the internet and all that stuff, they get death-threats all the time.
What can a regular citizen do – not a movie producer, not someone with any kind of clout, just a regular Joe – what can we do to combat the overwhelming support that comes from corporations and government who support the status quo?
Well that was the question I set out to answer. I did not know the answer to that question, and in creating the second half of the movie I thought well, let me present different examples of systemic solutions that work at an individual level. The first one is boycott, which everybody knows it works by spending your dollars on something else. Second one was to reduce your own consumption where it really matters, like beef, clothing, and stuff like that, but also don’t have more consumers, don’t have more babies, just have one and let the population decline.
How realistic do you think that is? That people will have only one baby?
Well if you talk to parents of kids who are 16 to 25…a lot of young women are deciding they don’t want kids at all; they are looking ahead and saying this world is going to be so fucked up in 2o years that I don’t even want to have a child. I think it’s going to be hard on people’s psyches, because you’ll find out when you hit 30, that something goes off in your head; that you want to find someone especial, and that [you] do want a child, and [you] do want to do what we are biologically engineered to do. And if you introduce a cognitive thought that the future is depressing, and you interrupt that biological imperative, it’s a formula for real psychological problems, so I don’t think we cannot talk about it – we have to talk about it out loud. Nature does what nature does. (19:30 – 19:38: indiscernible)…That psychologically, at the same time, it’s depressing that reproduction is dying – not that there wouldn’t be sex, but it wouldn’t actually be to have children. And I think certain nations, China among them, are just flat out repressing birth, although as the demographic problem gets more acute, young people will support the old people, then you start to get the opposite: you have states and provinces and countries paying people to have more children which is traffic – exactly what you shouldn’t do…
And there are genuine demographic problems from having the human population decline, but it benefits the huge problems that need to be handled, because having more people is not an answer when you have seven billion of them. So I think people can reduce their consumption. Then there is activism, which becomes important once you’ve reached a certain level of momentum. And then there is the spiritual aspect, which comes somewhere in there; somewhere you have a change of values. You know, I want to spend all my time and money for that cause….whatever it may be…..I want to be more into media, more in nature, do something, stop the government, whatever it may be. You want to take action of some kind, for the greater good and for your own soul. So that happens in there somewhere. And then you go further down the road and realize that the status quo, regardless of greed, is not going to be maintained at this level because the global resources simply are not there to sustain civilization for these many people in trouble. Then you think, well I want to get myself into a community that’s going to be workable, where there will be food and fresh water, where I will have friends, where I can travel, with people I like. That is the transition level: I’m going to change my life into a community that supports the people. The thing that I had found in talking to people – and it’s even true in the movie – is that the question that I was asking myself — “what can I do?” – was the wrong question. The question is “what can we do?” You know, the individual-pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps-North-American-mythos, is really destructive. It’s the gateway to consumer culture; it’s all about me. And the action that we need to take, and at the scale that we need to take it in, given where global warming is, is a collective action, not individual action.
Yeah, it’s Individualism run amok.
Individually you do have to get over your own psychological barriers that is an individual task. But you do that, as a leader, and then you go out and form a tribe. And that’s the communicable part of my experience. I’m no big Hollywood producer, I never made a movie and don’t ever hope to make another one. But it formed a tribe, just waiting to be asked to help with something meaningful. I was scared of asking people for help. I don’t do that. I don’t ask people for help. I’m shy. I would feel like I’m losing position and….all these reasons why we don’t ask and don’t form a tribe, but when I asked, people were like “absolutely, when can I start?!”