“The Oil Machine” and the Changing Climate

Released smartly in time for the COP27 climate change conference, the film “The Oil Machine”, presents a stark picture of the imperative to cut our use of fossil fuels, in particular crude oil, but moreover of our utter dependency on the “black gold” for practically all aspects of modern civilization.

The Bizarre Blindspot in “Planet of the Humans”

So, was the film “Planet of the Humans” a hit job on the environmental movement disguised by the filmmakers’ phony claim to care about Mother Earth?  Or was it an honest, get real, exposé of its assertion that, “The takeover of the environmental movement by capitalism is now complete”?

Film review: ‘Chasing Ice’

I hadn’t heard of James Balog, whose work is the subject of ‘Chasing Ice’, until I saw him give a presentation at TED Global in Oxford in 2008. It was in a session after supper, along with Nigeran novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an evening optional extra for anyone who still had any headspace after a day of back-to-back talks. I didn’t know anything about James’ project, the Extreme Ice Survey. What he shared that night was so powerful that I was unable to sleep. Unlike much that one might read about climate change, the debates, the research, the statistics which appeal to our rational mind, Balog’s work was visceral. You could feel it in your stomach. It haunted you, while at the same time stunning you with its breathtaking beauty. That’s a powerful combination, and it is that combination that makes ‘Chasing Ice’ such an extraordinary and vital film.

Mother: Caring for 7 Billion (documentary film review)

The documentary takes a penetrating look at overpopulation, what fuels it and why the world has become complacent about the issue after making a good start in addressing it during the late 60s. The film dispels some key myths about overpopulation – chief among them the belief that it’s long been solved – even if it stops short of admitting the inevitability of a world population crash as the Earth’s resources deplete. And it conveys its message in an engaging, visually immersive style that finds just the right balance between hard facts and ordinary human involvement.

A film review: ‘Gasland’

The second half of the oil age will be very, very different from the first half. The first half was awash with cheap, easy-to-find and easy-to-produce oil and gas. The second half will be the story of expensive-to-produce hydrocarbons, from increasingly inaccessible places … Unless we are able to break our addiction to hydrocarbons sooner rather than later, it will be a wretched and increasingly desperate time of squeezing fuel out of anything we can.


Latest ‘Zeitgeist’ film mixes sound critique and goofy futurism

‘Zeitgeist: Moving Forward,’ makes a strong critique of party politics, market economics and overshoot. The film even explores peak oil. But its solution is an unconvincing techno-utopian fantasy straight out of science fiction complete with pod-cities of the future. Why would such a schizophrenic film boast so many rabid fans?


Film review: “The Economics of Happiness”

The film’s power lies in the sections voiced by ordinary people, the Chinese teenager talking about how he loves America because everyone is happy there, the two Detriot urban food growers standing by their vegetable beds, and the two Ladakhi women looking, bemused and upset, at the lonely residents of a London old peoples’ home.