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Eco-films & Emotionalism


Eco films thumb

Movie chat has rarely captured what’s at stake so effectively as this bar room banter. In a discussion on three well known apocalyptic eco-films, An Inconvenient truth, The Day after Tomorrow and Age of Stupid, a trio of guest experts take us beyond the usual finger pointing at doom-mongers. A palette of emotions: fear; loss and regret, are used to shortcut politics and convince us to change our behaviour or be seen as morally circumspect. Worse still, we learn, these films portray us as unable to deal with problems altogether. This is environmental determinism summed up; what matters to ecologists is what the climate or science will make us do, not what we decide we want to do about our future. As our guests tell us, these films represent a political culture that needs to be challenged if we are serious about reclaiming the idea of destiny as something we should control.

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Related topics: Democracy-Brexit, Science Progress

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Kerensa said:

Incredibly thought-provoking! But I think it is also wrong to assume that the public/society would bring about more effective change if the issues became more political. Equally, I think it is difficult to separate environmental action from emotion and I strongly believe film is not wrong in doing so – I feel this is what primarily stirs people to change. We just need to find more effective ways to maintain these emotions longer than two weeks after the last credit.

Iqra said:

This is a very insightful, much needed discussion, It’s important to question the pessimistic view of global warming in order to move forward.

Simone said:

It’s interesting to see how our societies perceive global warming and its consequences. I think the use of films and emotions to approach this kind of issue help to measure our responsibility regarding climate changes.

James E said:

it’s always refreshing to see a program approaching the topic of global warming from a new perspective. In order for us to expand our understandings of the topic and its impact o our environment.

Harmony said:

There needs to be more of a balance in the arguments published in the media for and against global warming, so that people can make more educated conclusions. There seems to always be arguments for global warming, and how the future is doomed if we do not change the ways in which we are living now.

Iseult said:

It’s interesting how these films avoid tackling the issue of climate change from a political level — the only level from which we can really hope to make a difference. In this light we must be careful with the message that we take away from such films. Do we want to believe defeatestly that the future has no hope and there is nothing to be done or see these films for what they really are, shock-tactic blockbusters portraying a self-fulfilling prophesy of doom?

Mari said:

This discussion makes us question the common assumption that if we all do our bit on a smaller scale we will avoid environmental catastrophe. What needs to happen is large scale changes at the top implemented with pressure from below.

Sabrina said:

Whilst I firmly support the idea of sustainable development, as long as it’s not to the detriment of the development of a population, but as a means to ensure that future generations will also be able to meet their needs. What I do not agree with are the scare tactic methods adopted by so-called environmental determinists. What this programme cleverly touches upon are the dangers behind the message adopted by films like Age of Stupid and the Inconvenient Truth. The message being that in order to change our fate we must act as individuals “ do our bit”, when arguably the issue is on a much wider economic, idealogical and socio-political scale.

Adrian Deale said:

I haven’t seen any of these movies but I don’t think there is anything wrong with using emotion to help tell a story. Not many people would watch the film if it didn’t evoke an emotional response. It’s only when opinion is presented as fact that there is an issue. If there were 25 errors in a documentary then that definitely needs to be addressed.

Piotr said:

Climate change alarmists do tend to behave (and make films with almost messianic conviction) that there is no argument and so resort to personal, psychological, guilt tripping, ‘you’re the wrong sort of person’ abuse. I think the world may be, but it’s not certain, warming a bit. Even so, we shouldn’t be alarmed and adjust ourselves to the new situation as it emerges – maybe at last the British could even have some decent vineyards is Sussex!

Sascha said:

Hot tropical bar background fits with the global warming theme-like it.

Paul R said:

Blimey -radical critique of these films-not heard this stuff before must say i took them at face value when i watched them. I just found Gore a bore and hated the animated history bit narrated by children in Age of Stupid otherwise they didn’t really make me think maybe that is the problem these things-ideas are just so mainstream now-this programme isn’t though-good work.

John Jay said:

Good points made but if a culture of emotionalism is at play here and it evidently is we shouldn’t hide behind that to avoid saying whether or not climate change is a big problem or isn’t it. The muddy water argument one of the speakers suggests doesn’t do it for me. I don’t see myself as a climate sceptic by the way.

Zara Menser said:

Excellent discussion. I have seen all these films and its seems I had missed the ‘plot’ or ‘sub-plot’ It is true and remarkable that the message is on the one hand we must act now or its going to be too late on the other we should just change a light bulb. It does make you wonder are they serious about the problems or the solutions or is this about something else as your guests suggest.