HOME is a film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, produced by Luc Beson
HOME is an ode to the planet’s beauty and its delicate harmony. Through the landscapes of 54 countries captured from above, Yann Arthus-Bertrand takes us on an unique journey all around the planet, to contemplate it and to understand it. But HOME is more than a documentary with a message, it is a magnificent movie in its own right. Every breathtaking shot shows the Earth – our Earth – as we have never seen it before. Every image shows the Earth’s treasures we are destroying and all the wonders we can still preserve. “From the sky, there’s less need for explanations”. Our vision becomes more immediate, intuitive and emotional. HOME has an impact on anyone who sees it. It awakens in us the awareness that is needed to change the way we see the world. (HOME embraces the major ecological issues that confront us and shows how everything on our planet is interconnected.)
A stunning film showing us our planet and its people from an angle that doesn’t need explanations, it is released today to commemorate World Environment Day and distributed through every possible channel (theatres, dvd’s, tv, internet) free of charge.
Next week the Mayors from 40 of the world’s largest cities will gather in New York to review progress, share best practices, identify collaboration opportunities and set action plans to fight climate change. The C40 Large Cities Climate Summit program will include topics such as Beating Congestion, Decentralized Energy, Efficient Water Supply, Climate Change in the context of Economic Development, Green Buildings, Waste Management & Low Carbon Economies.
In big city I had pointed out how the action of the largest cities is what really matters when dealing with global problems. 10% of the world’s population live in 100 of the largest cities alone. Through management of their infrastructure, landfills, treatment plans, legislation of local land use policies to drive development in the right direction, regulation of automobiles and their energy plants, the overall impact they can exercise is significant.
The delegates attending will represent (bold indicates among 10 largest cities in the world):
Melbourne, Sydney (Australia)
Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo (Brazil)
Beijing, Shanghai (China)
Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
Delhi, Mumbai (India)
Mexico City (Mexico)
Johannesburg (South Africa)
Seoul (South Korea)
Barcelona, Madrid (Spain)
London (United Kingdom)
Austin, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland (United States)
Update: Mayor David Miller of Toronto is now chair of the C40
It is too easy to pick on the global warming skeptics that have used crazy arguments such as
the possible detonation, on uninhabited land north of 70¬∞ latitude, say, of a limited number of hydrogen bombs. [...] The presence of those particles would serve to reduce the amount of sunlight reaching most of the Arctic‚Äôs surface. The effect would be to maintain the frigid climate of the region and to prevent the further melting of its ice or, if necessary, to increase the amount of its ice.
So, for once, I’ll admit it was very educative to devote some time to the The Great Global Warming Swindle documentary, now available in YouTube (75min), written and directed by Martin Durkin and produced by Channel 4 (United Kingdom), which presents a very solid set of arguments to counteract the now mainstream believe that global warming is caused by man, preached by Al Gore with his now famous Oscar-winning documentary and supported by the IPCC. The “swindle” documentary presents what seem to be irrefutable facts by some experts in the field:
While it is not my intent to refute the skeptics and support blindly any cause, you should know there is a lot of controversy around the validity of some of the arguments. In general, I think the documentary provides a good alternate explanation to global warming: solar activity has a direct impact on atmospheric conditions which over time cause fluctuations in CO2. Unfortunately, it was written as a direct attack on the recent IPCC report and will be used as a tool to discredit it.
I don’t expect the debate over the true causes of global warming will be settled any time soon. There are scientists and politicians at both ends and they both have important arguments. However, I do hope the immediate impact of the current global warming alarm is that of creating a global culture of environmental sustainability. We can’t accept the simple excuse that our evolution as a society needs to destroy the very same resources on which we depend without looking at the long-term picture. We should not need to get to the point of detonating hydrogen bombs in order to rectify mistakes made by previous generations. We should use our scientific knowledge to craft technologies that allow progress across the globe, not just the most powerful nations.
With his post Global Warming Is Not a Threat But the Environmentalist Response to It Is, George Reisman comes to the rescue of the capitalist values that justify the actions of global corporations as they continue their irresponsible abuse of the planet.
Since I posted my own comentary about the IPCC report about a month ago, in the spirit of facing the critics I wanted to give some space to the arguments being used by Reisman to discredit this global initiative.
At the core of his argument, the main premise is that it would be more damaging to society to halt progress in the name of controlling the warming of the planet:
global warming should simply be accepted as a byproduct of economic progress and that life should go on as normal in the face of it.
Citing the fact that industrial civilization has enabled growth to the point where the average person has a better life today than the most wealthy a few generations ago, he cautions the stakes are high. To keep the industrial civilization running as we know it, we have no alternative but to continue the use of fossil fuels.
If we assume that everyone accepts global warming as a fair price to pay for our life styles, these are some of his arguments to feel good about it:
Central Canada and large portions of Siberia will become similar in climate to New England today. So too, perhaps, will portions of Greenland. The disappearance of Arctic ice in summer time, will shorten important shipping routes by thousands of miles. Growing seasons in the North Temperate Zone will be longer. Plant life in general will flourish because of the presence of more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
I find it particularly ironic that someone who is defending the unrestricted advance of industrialization uses the fact that plants will flourish as a positive aspect to consider. But he continues to illustrate the simple way forward, even in the face of rising sea levels:
the portion of the world not threatened with rising sea levels would accept the people who are so threatened. In other words, instead of responding to global warming with government controls, in the form of limitations on the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, an alternative response would be devised that would be a solution in terms of greater freedom of migration.
From this point on, Reisman goes on an attack of the environmental movement (if you can call the IPCC a bunch of environmentalists). It tries to establish the premise that the only progress possible is the one based on the technologies we know today. But in doing so, he is talking more like a CFO worried about shareholders and board of directors, than an economist. With the right incentives applied to the right fields, innovation will surely blossom. Putting a cap on greenhouse gases may be just the right incentive for some enterpreneurs to take the risk and push forward that one idea that will turn our civilization to a more sustainable future. I’m sure that for every corporation currently doing business at the cost of the environment, there are 100 small businesses ready to overtake and do things right, shifting growth from bad business to good business.
Even if it means to take a couple of steps back in terms of our degree of civilization the right solution must be the one that can preserve life on the planet as we know it. Even without global warming, I believe there is a certain agreement that a few bad corporate citizens are playing dangerous games and it would be in our best interest to stop them now. This agreement is implicit in the definition of a new Global Culture. Call it a renewed global conscience or awareness.
On July 7th, 2007 (7/7/7) the producers of Live 8, organized under the SOS – Save Our Selves movement, will attempt their largest event yet:
Live Earth will use the global reach of music to engage people on a mass scale to combat our climate crisis. Live Earth will bring together more than 150 of the world‚Äôs top musicians for 24-hours of music from 7 concerts across all 7 continents. Live Earth will bring together an audience of more than 2 billion at the concerts and through television, radio, film, and the Internet.
That is a third of the world population listening. A conversation that could only be matched by all cell-phone users dialing in. The concerts will take place on cities across all continents: China – Shanghai, Australia – Sydney, South Africa – Johannesburg, United Kingdom – London, Brazil, Japan, United States & Antarctica, and will feature over one hundred artists across all genres
With an Oscar for best Documentary Feature, a partnership with Microsoft for the online broadcasting of the Live Earth event, a roster of celebrities signing up to participate in the concerts, it is obvious that Mr. Gore knows very well how to leverage global culture to deliver the message of climate crisis, explained in the previous post global warming. In any case, by using new media, he is targeting the global audience that is directly associated with the most important abuses against the environment as a result of our lifestyles.
With this kind of attention, I wonder how soon this leverage will have an effect on the big corporations that are calculating the costs associated with playing according to green rules. The power of such an event is that on that day the mass audience could be turned against pretty much any singled-out enemy of the Earth. That threat alone should be sufficient to open the doors for negotiation. I hope Mr. Gore has an army of deal-makers ready to put to action his own recommendations. They don’t need to solve the problem entirely, just get the right players to start collaborating.