Hypernormalisation – Adam Curtis documentary

This article in Conversations introduces and links to the new BBC-commissioned documentary film by radical film-maker Adam Curtis as well as an interview with him. The term hypernormalisation was coined in 2006  to describe how ‘reality’ in the former Soviet Union was subject to denial and displacement by leaders and the population in general. Curtis applies the term to contemporary distrotions of reality in our own systems and the article writer uses the decision to construct a further runway at Heathrow Airport to illustrate the denial of the long-term implications of such ‘business-as-usual’ decisions for the planet and a sustainable future.

400 ppm CO2 now permanent

This BBC website article contains a dramatic map showing the sources of global CO2 emissions that have now surpassed 400 ppm. This level has now been recorded for a full year and suggests that the UN Paris climate agreement targets for global warming are unlikely to be met. The article offers insights into the technical reasons for the continuing high levels of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere and, yet again, issues another call for urgent action.

Di Caprio follows Gore a Decade On

As this article in Resilience announces, today is the release of Leonardo di Caprio’s new film:

Before the Flood, a new feature-length documentary presented and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. The Oscar-winning actor and environmentalist has spent the past three years asking a wide variety of people around the world about climate change. His collection of interviews in the film – ranging from Barack Obama and the Pope through to Elon Musk and Piers Sellars – cover the science, impacts, vested interests, politics and possible solutions.

The resilience article highlights seven key scenes of the film and provides back-up video footage relating to the seven key persons featured in these segments. Ten years on from Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth it is interesting to gauge what progress has been made in the conflict between science and the vested interests of those wishing to suppress or distort what is happening to the atmosphere of Spaceship Earth.

Here is the full film (1 hr 35 mins)

And here is a critical review by Rob Hopkins from the Resilience website. Di Caprio is a member of the 1% mega-rich and has a mega-rich lifestyle despite his passion about climate change. He fails to deal adequately in the film with the fundamental issue of gross inequality and the culpability of the rich countries.

 

A World at War

This article “Only 10 Countries in the World are not Currently at War” outlines the huge cost of human conflict around the world:

As the world descends into a far less peaceful state overall, the staggering cost of militarism and violence becomes painfully clear — 13.3 percent of the globe’s total economic activity, $13.6 trillion in purchasing power parity, concerned violent conflict. That’s the equivalent of “$1,876 for every person in the world.”

According to the Global Peace Index 2016, only Botswana, Chile, Costa Rica, Japan, Mauritius, Panama, Qatar, Switzerland, Uruguay and Vietnam are free from conflict. Iceland topsthe list of most peaceful countries in the world, followed by Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Portugal, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, and Slovenia — while the United States ranked far lower, at 103. Palestine, placed in the index of 163 nations for the first time this year, ranked 148th.

War-torn Syria placed at the bottom of the list, lower than only South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Central African Republic, Ukraine, Sudan, and Libya.

Arctic Sea Ice Update

This link is to a new Peter Sinclair 6-minute video that shows how the thinning and disappearing Arctic Ocean sea ice cover is affecting the position of the Northern Hemisphere jet stream. The jet stream in turn affects weather in temperate latitudes leading to greater extremes of temperature and precipitation than was the case when the swings in the jet stream were less pronounced.  Several climate scientists were interviewed and provided evidence shown in the video, including time-lapse satellite imagery.

Big food lobby

This remarkable link has amazing aerial photos of industrial agricultural production on an unimaginable scale in the US. It is accompanied by an article by Micahel Pollan that shows how attempts by the Obamas to ‘take on’ the big food producers have been largely thwarted by powerful political lobbying from the corporate giants.

The massive output of industrial food production (‘farming’ is hardly the appropriate word any more) has, of course, contributed to exponential human population increase as well as the spread of obesity in human populations. It is thus a key factor in contributing to the overshooting of the earth’s capacity to sustain current human impacts on the natural world. The sheer enormity of the images in the link above leaves us in no doubt that we live in an age rightly labelled as the Anthropocene Era.