Saturday, May 11, 2013

Four Hundred and A Fierce Green Fire

For a bit there, it looked like we went over Four Hundred parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere. But then the Mauna Loa facility revised their initial report down to 399.89. Still, close enough. And the most important thing anyone might remember from the year 2013 is that that was the year we went over the 400 threshold. Whether it is May 9 or May 13, doesn't really matter. We are hovering at the psychologically important 400 mark.

And in case you didn't know, the last time we were at 400 CO2 was a few million years ago. The temperature was 14 degrees Fahrenheit warmer on average (try to raise corn in Iowa when the temperature is regularly over 100 degrees). There were no polar ice caps and the sea level was 130 feet higher than it is now. We might see the same thing in a few hundred years which is much too fast for most life to adapt to that quick of a climate change. We call it the Sixth Extinction.

And so to Celebrate, Joni and I went to see a showing of "A Fierce Green Fire". I thought the show was going to be a documentary of Aldo Leopold. Turned out to be a heroic attempt at telling the story of the Environmental Movement.

I was actually a bit disappointed with A Fierce Green Fire. I'm a tough critic and I welcome debate on the issue.

I can see how it would be a PBS sort of show: the usual milk toast, liberal, BMW, sentimental shit. It did a nice job with Paul Watson; it also did a nice job of Carl Pope from the Sierra Club stating where they went wrong. Missing from the video: Redwood Summer; Earth First; Ed Abbey; Judi Bari; repression and the FBI; Environmentalism turning into big money fundraising apparatuses with little effectiveness, huge salaries and almost no connection to the base; the death of the radical enviro movement in the early 90's; the success of the Burger King boycott; the end of environmentalism as a nature movement with people under the age of 30 (except for its "adrenaline" extreme X game sport value).

The film ends with McKibben and is utterly anthropocentric for the last three or four segments. Yet the film did try to cover a whole lot of territory in a small bit of time. Very ambitious. Perhaps a good primer--but with not enough of the Founding Fathers: No Thoreau. Not enough Muir; not enough Leopold. No Bob Marshall. Hell, I even would have liked to have seen a bit of John Denver (don't underestimate the power of pop culture on the Enviro movement--we could use another John Denver today!). I made a comment after the movie how one person could actually make a difference, and used Paul Watson as the best example from the movie, and one of the local Butte County Environmental Council people piped up that she thought Watson was too much of an extremist. Perhaps that is what is wrong with the environmental movement.

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