The greatest marathoners in history Haile Gebrselassie and Paul Tergat are refusing to run in Beijing not because of political beliefs but because the air is so polluted they fear for their health. The greatest living female marathoner Paula Radcliffe is undergoing special medical consultations to deal with her medical needs as they may relate to the pollution in Beijing. The Chinese government is going to suspend industry for two months during the Olympics - but things will start up again once the games are done. With this as a current events backdrop Warner Brothers has released The 11th Hour.
The 11th hour is beautifully packaged in 100% certified renewable resources. This documentary falls into the category of documentaries that ought to be watched but might find little traction with the general public. Unlike Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth there is none of the showmanship and “aw shucks, just folks” approach to environmental problems. The 11th hour showcases sharp academic minds talking about the environmental problems (not a single issue of one particular product or industry) we have created with our approach to economics, life, work and the pursuit of materialness.
With all the gravitas brought to bear in this documentary it is perhaps inevitable that the entertainment factor is low unless you are truly engaged in the subject matter of the documentary. For the average viewer The 11th Hour is very demanding that you be intellectually engaged this is not an entertainment it is very close to being a college level lecture on all the problems that we are currently facing but are seemingly happy to ignore in the face of overwhelming evidence. This is the fatal flaw of The 11th Hour – it expects, or perhaps hopes, that the viewer will be willing to listen to the evidence and listen to the possible responses in lieu of switching it off and popping in a copy of the most recent interpretation of the same group of 30 stories that comprise the Hollywood blockbusters over the last century.
By far the most interesting part of The 11th Hour is the solutions part of the DVD which is an hour and a half of talking heads discussing what can be done to prevent the collapse of the ecosphere. From Biomimicry to human powered solutions such as economic solutions, green designed distributed generation and focusing our attention on the problems at hand. “People are very reluctant to look for the good news and get on with working towards a sustainable future” says Dr. David Suzuki and he is right. Movies like The 11th Hour are in conflict with the myth of unlimited growth and the belief that we are separate from nature. Every adult on the planet should watch this movie and take the time to inform themselves of the scope of the problems we face and the possible solutions which already exist. The 11th Hour is not entertaining but it is informative and if it can, by some miracle, find traction with the general public it could be the most important movie of this young century.