We claim to know what’s happening in our world – pollution, climate change, global warming – but we do not truly understand these phenomena, this imminent doom of our own doing. Otherwise, we should have been putting all our efforts to even at least hold back our home’s rapid demise, but instead, we continue to run towards it. Maybe we really are just downright stupid.
I have just watched this mind-opening, heart-clenching and terrifying film/documentary called “The Age of Stupid” which was released way back in 2008. It’s unbelievable that it didn’t get as much press as it should have in the Philippines, knowing that, in just an hour and a half, it explicitly defined our sad society and how it continues to build its eventual collapse. Perhaps that just answered my disbelief: people didn’t want to face the truth. At the end of the film, I felt the urgent need to tell it to other people, to let them watch it as soon as possible, to let them feel that slap on the face, to let them hear that voice inside my head that says ‘we are doomed.’ So that maybe, there could still be that slightest, most minuscule possibility of saving humanity.
I just find it surprising that after so much effort, the final act of our existence should be suicide.
For centuries, mankind has always moved forward to seek progress and development, to build, to create, to improve, but all that growth has now taken its toll on our planet. We strived to make our lives easier and better and but failed to take into account the consequences of a more convenient life. And now that the damage is more obvious than ever, we still keep on working and pushing for progress while shrugging off the drastic abnormal changes happening in our environment. We feel the extreme heat and experience the harsh calamities, and then we pick ourselves up, resort to a quick fix, and we keep on going. We continue to turn forests into subdivisions, build concrete roads on mountains and put up malls on farms. All of these, along with us, just to be destroyed by the next hurricane or tsunami.
I think everyone in the future will perhaps blame us for not thinking to protect the environment. We knew how to profit but not to protect.
The cause of all this mayhem is greed, self-indulgence, or what is more accurately put as consumerism. Maybe that’s why efforts toward ‘saving mother earth’ are so futile because, admit it, we are materialistic people. Society is trapped in a never-ending cycle of consumerism: businesses create demand for products = people want = companies manufacture = people buy = the products are used or broken = people throw them away = businesses create demand for new things… And the cycle goes on and on, and faster and faster. Then the earth suffers for all the waste and by-products that this process spits out. The worst part of it all is that only a fraction of society gobbles up the wealth and power generated by this so-called progress, the very same people who started it all in the first place. Now the poor are getting poorer and the working-class keep killing themselves to earn the money they spend for the latest i-phone or tablet, all proceeds going to those whose pockets are already full, and while everyone is busy, we keep on rolling towards dead end. This scene makes me wonder if we really are a learned and advanced society.
We wouldn’t be the first life form to wipe itself out, but what would be different about us is that we did it knowingly.
We hear the news, we watch documentaries/movies about the pressing issues of our planet, we learn segregating and recycling in school, we join a lot of environmental movements, we even make an effort to throw our trash in the proper bin. But this is not enough. To create even a tiny dent to this enormous crisis that is upon us requires the entire humanity to cooperate. Because we are so fast-approaching the peak of collapse, we cannot do anything to stop it. What we can only do right now is to slow it down. If we ever want this earth to survive, for future generations to live, we need to work together. We need radical action. And to know what to do, we need to stop shrugging off this problem, face it, learn about it, tell it to other people, not just a few, we need everyone. And we need to do it now. Immediately.
Now what does that say about us? The question I’ve been asking is: Why didn’t save ourselves when we had the chance? Is the answer because, on some level, we weren’t sure if we were worth saving?
*all statements in Bold font came from the film “The Age of Stupid.” You should watch it, it may be the first step.