Yes, I’ve been to yet another environmentally-themed, Sundance documentary. This time it’s Earth Days from director Robert Stone. Can you blame me? My birthday is April 22, the same day as Earth Day.
You know you’ve seen too many environmental documentaries when you start seeing the exact same stock video clips in multiple movies. And who knew Johnny Carson interviewed so many environmental activists?
There’s a documentary theme developing. What Art and Paper is to advertising, what I Knew It Was You is to acting, Earth Days is to environmentalism. It’s an opportunity to look back and celebrate the voices of the past, with little consideration for how these voices matter in the present or the future. And Earth Days left me hopeless.
The message I took away from the movies is, “We’re screwed.” Oh sure, we had a few environmental successes like ozone and cleaning up some of our water and air. But in reality, we’ve missed just about every opportunity to make real changes. Many of the environmental challenges we face today are the sames challenges faced by these early environmentalists. And we haven’t moved the ball very far. In fact I think things have only gotten worse. Sorry future generations, but we’re going to destroy the planet and there’s nothing you can do about it. There’s a Ronald Reagan speech in the movie that confirms our right as Americans to complete, consumptive excess. And I need to get busy because I’m certainly not doing my part to over populate the planet.
This movie wasn’t that great. I think it wanted to be celebratory, but it just scared me. It missed an opportunity to encourage similar environmental activism today. So let’s all go burn some fossil fuels and make some babies. It’ll make us feel better.