Surviving Progress

If you haven’t attended the Marda Loop Justice Film Festival, this is something you may really find inspiring and give you the impetus to make affirmative action in a whole number of ways.  Each film is followed by a conversation between audience members and conversation leaders, typically experts in an area related to the film.  Last night’s film was Surviving Progress.  Potent and relevant, I left feeling a need to set more limits to my consumption and to try to influence the same in others.

Blogging actually provides a way to communicate this particular desire to a global audience.  It is the responsibility of each individual to become educated, informed and aware…it is for the collective to stand up against a politic that is solely economically motivated.  Please visit this site…and if at all possible, view the film…and after that, set limits.

The following summary from Marda Loop Justice Film Festival.

Director: Mathieu Roy, Harold Crooks

“Every time history repeats itself the price goes up.”

Surviving Progress brings us thinkers such as Stephen Hawking, Jane Goodall, David Suzuki, Margaret Atwood, Jim Thomas and many more who provide warnings, suggest solutions, and offer hope as to how the dangerous path we the world is on can move towards a more sustainable future.

Inspired by Ronald Wright’s bestseller, A Short History of Progress, SURVIVING PROGRESS, exposes the grave risks we pose to our own survival in the name of progress. The film shows how civilizations are repeatedly seduced and destroyed by “progress traps” – alluring belief systems around human advancement (technology, economics, consumption, and environment) that serve immediate needs, but ransom the future with long term consequences. While there is an extraordinary range of goods and services available on the world market, there is also increased pressure on a dwindling supply of non-renewable natural resources, a damaged environment, a faltering global economy, and large parts of the world are demanding higher standards of living in the face of bankrupt nations. Has the world become a victim of its own desire for progress?

86 min.

Introduced during the session, were a whole list of book titles…I will definitely be perusing these.

Photo Credit: Here

Photo Credit: Here

And ripped off from SURVIVING PROGRESS, THIS!!  These were such powerful icons to speak to the state of our planet…such a variety…so articulate and so knowledgeable.  I was particularly challenged and excited by the words of Michael Hudson, economic historian and global energy expert, Vaclav Smil.

Who’s Who

Margaret AtwoodMargaret Atwood author
“Instead of thinking that nature is this huge bank that we can just, this endless credit card that we can just keep drawing on, we have to think about the finite nature of that planet and how to keep it alive so that we too may remain alive. Unless we conserve the planet, there isn’t going to be any “the economy”.”

Enio BeataEnio Beata sawmill owner
“The people responsible for destroying the Amazon are the big farmers, the international corporations. The biggest farmers are senators, deputies, colonels. They’re the ones destroying the Amazon forest. Them. Not us.”

Colin BeavanColin Beavan writer / engineer / director – No Impact Project
“… before I go around trying to change other people, mabye I should look at myself and change myself and keep my side of the street clean.”

Chen ChangnianChen Changnian professor / Cheng Ming’s father
“Of course there have been some problems as well, for example, the environment.”

Chen MingChen Ming self-driving tour guide
“I’m like the monk, the master, I’m leading the members to the West, to find out the real meaning of life, to reach true enlightenment.”

Victor Zhikai GaoVictor Zhikai Gao director, China Association of International Studies
“We need to go onto a path of growth and China needs to modernize and industrialize…”

Jane GoodallJane Goodall primatologist
“Arguably, we are the most intellectual creature that’s ever walked on planet Earth. So how come, then, that this so intellectual being is destroying its only home ?”

Stephen HawkingStephen Hawking theoretical physicist
“We are entering an increasingly dangerous period of our history. But I’m an optimist.”

Michael Hudson economic historian / former Wall Street economist
“Progress has meant: ”You will never get back what we take from you”. That’s what brought on the Dark Ages and that’s what’s threateting to bring in the Dark Ages again.”

Simon JohnsonSimon Johnson former chief economist International Monetary Fund
“The bankers can’t stop themselves. It’s in their DNA, in the DNA of their organizations, to take massive risks, to pay themselves ridiculous salaries and to collapse…”

Mark LevineMark Levine group leader – China Energy Group
“What is progress ? I think… that’s too hard a question.

Gary MarcusGary Marcus cognitive psychologist
“One thing to remember of course about the human mind, is that it’s not that fundamentally different from say, the brain of a chimpanzee.”

Kambale MusavuliKambale Musavuli Friends of the Congo
“What is interesting is all the money plundered from all the international debts is found in Western banks.”

Daniel PovinelliDaniel Povinelli behavioural scientist
“If humans go extinct on this planet, I think what’s going to be our epitaph on our gravestone is “why” ?.”

Marina SilvaMarina Silva senator & former Minister of the Environment, Brazil
“It is impossible to defend models that cannot be universally applied because we would have to start from a premise that some people have rights and some don’t. Thus there is no technological problem, but an ethical one.”

Vaclav SmilVaclav Smil global energy expert
“We have to use less.”

David SuzukiDavid Suzuki geneticist / activist
“Money doesn’t stand for anything and money now grows faster than the real world. Conventional economics is a form of brain damage.”

Raquel Taitson-QueirozRaquel Taitson-Queiroz environmental police officer, IBAMA
“… I thought that I could defend my ideas, my ideals, if I was an inspector. What I can do is so small compared to what is going on right now.”

The students of Jeanne Silva Martin’s class, Escola Fabiano LosvanoThe students of Jeanne Silva Martin’s class, Escola Fabiano Losvano, Sao Paulo, Brazil
“BOY: When I watch the news on TV, I see that they are deforesting the Amazon and I don’t understand why…
TEACHER: What are the interests behind it?
BOY: Economics.”

The townspeople of Colniza The townspeople of Colniza, Mato Grosso State, Brazil
“This is our life! The forest is like a mother giving milk to her child. Do you have an Amazon forest in your country ?”

Jim ThomasJim Thomas activist / ETC GROUP
“… the engineers can try to treat life as though it was some sort of computer or engineering substrate, but ultimately the microbes are gonna end up laughing at them, that life doesn’t work like that.”

J. Craig VenterJ. Craig Venter biologist / CEO Synthetic Genomics
“By changing and taking over evolution, changing the time course of evolution, and going into deliberate design of species for our own survival at least gives us some points of optimism that we have a chance to control our destiny.”

Robert WrightRobert Wright author / journalist
“… half of being God has just been handed to us and then the question is whether we’ll master the other half of being God, the moral half.”

Ronald WrightRonald Wright author
“… we are running 21st century software, our knowledge, on hardware that hasn’t been upgraded for 50,000 years, and this lies at the core of many of our problems.”

1 thought on “Surviving Progress

  1. Profound and complex issues too easy to avoid. I, we, need to pay more attention, however difficult and scary. Thank you for keeping us alert and aware Kathleen…

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