The Age of Stupid (2009)
Alvin DuVernay: In my opinion our use or misuse of resources the last 100 years or so, I'd probably rename that age, something like The Age of Ignorance, The Age of Stupid.
Lisa Guy: Apparently, short of setting fire to a forest, flying is the single worst thing an ordinary individual can do to cause climate-change.
Narratress of archived footage: Lots of ideas have tried to take over the world. But there's only one winner:
archived footage: [in BIG sparkling letters] *CONSUMERISM*
Narratress of archived footage: 3,000 adverts bombard us every day, telling us we'd be happier and more attractive if only we'd buy their product. Together they create within us an insatiable desire to buy more and more stuff. Americans have been advertized at longest, and they now each consume twice as much energy as a European, nine times more than a Chinese person, and 50 times as much as someone from Kenya.
Archivist of the future: Throughout our history the deal was: We left the world a better place than we found it. That was progress. The wheel. The Rule of Law. Anything. It was our covenant with our children and grandchildren. My children weren't angry with me for breaking the covenant. They were too busy trying to stay alive to waste energy on blame, trying to negotiate their way through food riots and refugee camps and the collapse of society. But I think my grandchildren would have been angry - had they survived into adulthood.
Archivist of the future: We could have saved ourselves, but we didn't. It's amazing. What state of mind were we in, to face extinction and simply shrug it off?
Narrator of archived footage: Why are American cities designed so it's almost impossible not to have a car? Why were 100 railways in cities like New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles bought up and then deliberately destroyed? Why did the electric car get scrapped? Why were we, along with Australia, the only two countries not to sign the original Kyoto climate treaty? Why was an oil company lobbyist allowed to change official government reports on global warming? Why was the same PR firm employed by the tobacco industry to persuade the public that smoking is healthy then employed by the oil industry to convince us there was still doubt about climate change? Alternative energy has been available for 50 years. Why have we barely used it? Why were solar panels taken off the White House? Because, right from the early days of the industry, the oil men and their obscene profits have had an unhealthy influence on the people running our country. And now they are the people running our country. And they're providing the cash too. Oil business isn't just in bed with the government; it is the government.
Archivist of the future: Strange, watching these film-fragments. It's like looking through binoculars, observing people on a far-off beach running around in circles, fixated on the small area of sand under their feet - as a tsunami races towards the shore.
Lisa Guy: The big problem is flying. Just one return flight, say London to New York, would blow our entire carbon-budget for about three and a half years.
Archivist of the future: We wouldn't be the first life-form to wipe itself out. But what would be unique about us is that we did it knowingly.
Archivist of the future: Why didn't we save ourselves when we had the chance? Is the answer: because, on some level, we weren't sure if we'd be worth saving?
Archivist of the future: I just find it surprising, that after so much effort the final act of our existence should be suicide. So why build this archive? It's a cautionary tale. Not for us. It's too late for us. But for, well, for whoever, whatever, eventually finds this recording.
Archivist of the future: Welcome to the global Ark-ive, a vast storage structure located 800 km north of Norway. It contains the artwork from every national museum. There are pickled animals, stacked up, two by two; every film, every book, every scientific report, all stored on banks of servers. But the conditions we're experiencing now were actually caused by our behavior in the period leading up to 2015. In other words: we could have saved ourselves. We could have saved ourselves, but we didn't.