Age of Stupid

Age of Stupid is a new documentary film about climate change that went on general release this week.

The film was crowd-funded by over 200 people and stars Pete Postlethwaite as a man who ask ‘why didn’t we stop climate change when there was still time?’. At the heart of the film is a call to action and the aim to launch a campaign to reach and mobilise a a movement of people who want to see more action taken on climate change and urgently.

I saw the film last night, and as I entered I was handed a pack of campaigning information and the hope must have been that I’d be so inspired at the end that I’d walk out ready to take action, but was I?

While it was interesting film, I’m not sure it has the cross over appeal that Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. To much of the film felt like it was preaching to the existing climate change activists, rather than trying to reach out to new people who need to be convinced that we must do more than simply switch to energy saving bulbs.

Parts of the film felt unnecessary, containing material which runs the risk of alienating the very people that need to be won over. I’m not sure for example how the section on the Iraq War and the quest for Oil adds to the argument (especially now we have Obama in power) or the constant American bashing (which might play well to a leftish UK audience but I don’t think is going down with the proud middle American) help.

The film has a number of nice stories about the impact of climate change, my particular favourite is the French mountain guide, but it didn’t have a clear call to action within the film itself, leaving that to some titles in the end credits, which half of those watching my screening missed because they had already left. In the end I walked out of the film feeling dis empowered, that the issue was so big what could I ever do to stop climate change.

The materials in the campaign pack are clever and linked to a campaign which is being branded ‘Not Stupid’, the pack has some Stupid certificates which your asked to send to those who have are doing something to increase the likelihood of climate change, and some Not Stupid certificates to send to those who have done the opposite.  Plus a Local Action Plan, which is a concise summary of what is happening locally, or it should be but I’ve got a plan for Edinburgh rather than South London.

It remains to be seen if the film helps to build a movement of new people to add their voice . Its interesting to see the way the film has been embraced by the UK government.  I hope I’m wrong and thousands of new people watch it and start to take action, but somehow I don’t think I will be.

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