Surviving progress challenges adults’ perception of success

Posted by douglas / on 10/15/2012 / 1 Comment

“We may have democracy or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” Louis D Brandeis U.S. Supreme Court 1916-39 The film, “Surviving Progress”, shown this week in Collingwood, is one more documentary in a long list that asks important questions concerning humanity’s future. ”What is progress?” is the big question the film undertakes to investigate. Margaret Atwood, Jane Goodall and David Suzuki are some of the people interviewed for the movie, and they have plenty to say when in comes to corporate/political power and the forces underlying it. Suzuki:” Conventional economics is a form of brain damage... Economics is fundamentally disconnected from the real world.” Former Brazilian Environment Minister, Marina Silva, is interviewed as well. You may remember that she resigned her post in 2008 when she found her pro-Amazon and conservation policies met too many political and corporate dead-ends. When asked about progress she responded in the film by saying, “The problem isn’t technological but ethical.” Many climate justice advocates would concur. Unremitting consumerism fostered even upon the very young has created a dream world for youth and adult alike, and where the puppeteer is the unethical corporation infesting its unearthly view of progress into a world with clear limits to growth. The many Earth summits over the last twenty years are notable political/corporate takeovers that tragically have less to do with the well-being of the planet’s inhabitants than with profit for the one percent and the mantra for more growth. “Surviving Progress” asks us to take our heads out of the sand and act now for an endangered but living planet that we are told has been “hijacked by the material culture”. A quick look at how Canada’s Nature charities view the crisis in our government’s ethical behaviour can be summed up by Nature Canada when they put in bold on their website: “Gutting environmental laws. Politics trumping research. Polar bears aren’t the only things endangered in Canada today.” Every science journal and conscious person this side of Mars has decried the catastrophic reduction in Arctic sea ice and the seemingly relentless droughts in 2012 that will create food riots soon enough. Perhaps Canada’s plutocracy really live on a virtual planet because it’s business-as-usual for them as we approach an ice-free Arctic in just a few years resulting from fossil fuel emissions. Climatologists are shouting that this is the first time in three million years that the icecap will have disappeared. A week ago an emergency debate was asked for to discuss the melting and its implications in Parliament, but was turned down by the Speaker of the House, Andrew Sheer. South of the border politicians are just as unconcerned. So far neither our planet’s well-fare nor climate has been able to wiggle their way into the presidential debates. It has been far too long that regional groups and municipal governments wave flags proclaiming good intentions but only respond to those with a cheque book. Neither will they turn away from easy profits but neither will they hire those that can turn fluffy feel-good boutique ventures into actions that make real changes for our children in 2050. Bewitched by the corporate bottom line a creative response to climate and other planetary issues elude them. Perhaps it’s a ski and golf disease that permeates this area. Our manufactured landscapes wrap us up in cars, second homes and chic apparel but leave us clueless as to what sort of progress needs to be made if there is to be a future for humanity. Next time a film like “Surviving Progress” comes to town let’s hope that it won’t be how many bottoms are in the chairs but how many people get up and do something that constitutes success. Maybe, just maybe, young and old will sign up for a conservation action before they leave the theatre. Now that’s progress.


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  • Leonid says:

    Surviving Progress will be shown in Meaford Hall Oct 28th:

    October 16, 2012 at 4:37 PM | Permalink


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