Our two guests today believe we are showing suicidal tendencies. They argue that we now know that climate change will kill our species if we don’t stop it, but that we’re choosing not stop it fast enough. And they want to talk to you about why. Here are a series of questions that they’d like to discuss with you, and then some I’d like to ask you as well.
British documentary-maker Franny Armstrong. She, along with her producer Lizzie Gillett, are behind the docu-drama, The Age of Stupid.
WILL OUR GENERATION HAVE REASON TO HANG ITS HEAD IN SHAME?
The Age of Stupid imagines one man looking back at us in 2050 and wondering at the decisions we’re taking now. Do think we’ll live to regret how we’ve chosen to live?
As the lead actor Pete Postlethwaite’s character puts it, ‘We wouldn’t be the first life form to wipe itself out. But what would be unique about us, is that we did it knowingly”‘
HAVE YOU ACCEPTED OUR SPECIES MAY NOT SURVIVE?
They think the behaviour of some people suggests this is the case.
DO YOU FLY?
And if you, do you worry about its impact on the planet? And if you worry about the impact, why do you keep doing it? Would you take a plane just to save time or money, even if the train were an option?
DO YOU BUY PRODUCTS THAT HAVE BEEN TRANSPORTED FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY?
Are you concerned about the amount of oil used to do that? The film is fiercely critical of our dependence on Chinese products and how we send much of our waste back of China. It’s also questions transporting food great distances.
DO YOU THINK THE SMALL THINGS MATTER?
Franny Armstrong and Lizzie Gillett aren’t convinced that things like reducing plastic bag usage or recycling your home waste will make very much difference. The situation is far too severe for that they argue, and it requires huge policy solutions. They don’t criticise everyone who does these things, but they do say too many people think this is enough, and it isn’t.
WHY DO WE NOT DEMAND MORE ACTION FROM OUR POLITICIANS?
Are radical new environmental policies a make-or-break issue for you when you vote?
WOULD YOU HAVE A WIND TURBINE NEAR YOUR HOUSE?
The film is dismissive of the ‘not in my backyard’ attitude which they say is holding up wind-power development in the UK and elsewhere.
WHY IS AMERICA NOT CUTTING DOWN FASTER?
The average amount of carbon those of you in America use is far in excess of any other nationality. Why then is there not a willingness to cut right back right away, they ask? What other option do those of you in America think the world has? We need you to stop this lifestyle right away is the message.
IS THERE SOMETHING THAT STOPS US FOCUSING ON A THREAT THAT’S IN THE FUTURE?
Are humans only able to respond to immediate threats?
IS THIS THE BIGGEST ISSUE OF ALL OF OUR LIVES?
They think so.
Are you not having a child because you fear for the future?
We keep finding people online saying this. I’d be interested to hear your story if you feel the same.
Do you feel like it’s too late? The Age of Stupid says we have until 2015 to take effective action. Do you despair of meeting any of the targets being talked about? Does that motivate or demotivate you?
Won’t technology and the market sort this out?
Just today the UK’s announced a major new push on electric cars. Won’t companies desire to make money matched to our desire for green options in the end produce the solution?
Why should the developing world care?
Don’t those of you there have every right to see your country do everything possible to raise the standard of living? Isn’t the environement a distance second to that?
That’s almost more questions than we have minutes in the show so I’ll leave it there.
This is a Channel 4 news feature about the film.
Here Franny Armstrong explains more about why she wanted to make the film. We’d like to hear if you’re persuaded by the message coming from her and her film.