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" One touch of nature

makes all the world kin "

William Shakespeare

The Age of Stupid

March 19th, 2009

Stephanie and I and Jim, our friend who lives in the garden here, and is the author of Nine Miles – a powerful book about the Road Protest movement, went to a ‘multiple green Premiere’ of a film called The Age of Stupid the other day. It was launched simultaneously in Leicester Square in a solar-powered tent, and in cinemas around the country. There were live links between the venues and the hub in Leicester square and it was a wonderful example of the way a low budget film, made by the director of McLibel, can lift off due to the power of community.

It was a gripping film, but it was tough to watch. Last year we watched What a Way to Go – another low budget film, made in the US, and conveying the same message, that Jared Diamond put in a nutshell in ‘Collapse’, who starts his book with a question he asked himself: “What were they thinking when they cut the last tree down on Easter Island?”

How do we counteract the despair these films generate – the sense that we are all just too stupid to save ourselves from environmental catastrophe? What a Way to Go was helpful, since it took me to a metaphysical point of contemplation about the situation (I say me because I’m not sure it had that effect on everyone). Age of Stupid offers something more concrete – 9 months leading up to the Copenhagen conference on the environment. There is a plan that can help to ensure humanity’s survival, but it all depends on everyone agreeing to it. The film is urging us to do all we can to make sure the politicians agree to it. Or are we living in the Age of Stupid?

Fellow druid and author John Michael Greer devotes his blog (and several books) to this theme and his insights and range of knowledge is impressive. His blog is here.

Here is a clip from the film:

4 Responses to “The Age of Stupid”

  1. Lets us hope these kind of films will start to reach the masses who appear to be apathetic to the fight for the Earth. Another one coming along is called Fuel. Info’ at

  2. I once spent a whole Saturday (and a not-small amount of money) at a “sustainability seminar” run by some well-meaning people who gave their audience hour after hour of environmental gloom and doom. I left there thinking “why bother?”

    The people whose awareness needs to be raised won’t go to movies and seminars like this. The people who do go don’t need to be convinced – they need to be equiped with positive solutions and inspired with possibilities.

  3. Thanks for sending me off to John Michael Greer’s blog. Lots and lots of food for thought there!

    I must admit I avoid a lot of peak oil and global warming stuff these days, just as I avoid most commercial TV. They both pull me down too much, for different reasons. I know enough to try to live sustainably and think about how to prepare for future change, but seeing the statistics over and over is just so depressing. It is like being shell-shocked each time. I well remember the feeling from growing up during the cold war and being shown “the day after” at school and feeling like there was no point in going on because we would all be blown up anyway.

    These types of films are very worthy, but I can’t imagine my cousin, who didn’t even know what a free range egg was (and didn’t care when I told her) and lives for the pursuit of STUFF, and who therefore needs to see it a lot, actually taking the time to see it.

    Or, do you think it slowly slowly filters in?

  4. Yes indeed I do wonder… Feeling repeatedly shell-shocked is exactly how it feels.
    The film does however offer a ray of hope and focuses the audience on lobbying for a good outcome in 9 mths in Copenhagen.
    I guess its value is in ‘chipping away at the edge’ of climate denial…
    I spent some time last year working on ideas for people like you and me (shell-shocked and wondering how to engage with the issue) and came up with: In the Eye of the Storm here:

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