A trip to the cinema to see Age of Stupid will open your eyes to what needs to be done about climate change, says John Cossham
On 15 March I attended the premiere of what might be one of the most important films ever made: Age of Stupid. Like all who see it, I was deeply moved by this film, which was made over five years on a shoestring budget by Franny Armstrong, an independent British filmmaker.
It features Pete Postlethwaite as an archivist living in a devastated world in 2055, looking back at the time when we realised the gravity of the climate change problem but did little about it.
There are several interweaving real stories – played not by actors, but by real people – a New Orleans flood hero, a Nigerian woman hoping to become a doctor, an 80-year-old French mountain guide, an Iraqi widow whose husband was killed by the Americans, a British wind farm developer. The archivist flicks between their stories, news clips and animations. The stories connect with our lives and what we care about, yet it’s set in a world with a deeply flooded London, a Las Vegas overtaken by desert, a Sydney Opera House in flames.
This is not a feelgood flick, yet it is a film everybody should see. It is the film most likely to make our lives better, more sustainable, more responsible.
Following the making of the film, the Not Stupid campaign started. Hundreds of organisations including the National Trust and Oxfam back the campaign and will try to make our governments co-operate at the Copenhagen UN Climate Change Conference in December. This conference is the last chance we have to agree to cut our addiction to fossil fuels and keep this beautiful planet habitable.
If no adequate agreement to cut carbon levels is made, we will condemn our planet to levels of greenhouse gases that will reach tipping point, resulting in runaway climate change, effectively rendering our own species extinct. The Not Stupid campaign reiterates the steps we as individuals have to take to prevent this happening.
I will be writing to my MP to ask him to go to see Age of Stupid, and to commit to lobbying the government to support true renewable energy. If you haven’t seen the film yet, please go, you’ll never forget it.
John Cossham is Community Care’s ethical living expert. Read his blog
This article is published in the 26 March 2009 edition of Community Care magazine under the headline If you don’t see this film you really are stupid