Woah! How Far is Too Far to Make A Point About Climate Change?

Via Nathan Smith
on Oct 4, 2010
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Thanks to Roger Pielke Jr.’s blog, I watched this public service announcement from the 10:10 people.

The video plays with the following question: What should we do about those people who don’t want to participate in reducing green house gas emissions? Should we play nice–you know, no pressure, I understand it’s difficult to reduce carbon emissions? Or should we be more radical?

The short comes from the folks who made The Age of Stupid documentary. And the 10-10-10 project has been promoted by Bill McKibben and the folks at 350.org.

But this video has raised hackles. Is it savvy, shock and awe marketing in the name of social good? Or is it morally repugnant? And will it backfire as a publicity stunt, confirming beliefs among some that climate change advocates are closet eco-terrorists?

Says filmmaker, Franny Armstrong, “Doing nothing about climate change is still a fairly common affliction, even in this day and age. What to do with those people, who are together threatening everybody’s existence on this planet? Clearly we don’t really think they should be blown up, that’s just a joke for the mini-movie, but maybe a little amputating would be a good place to start?”

Following public outcry, 10:10 has removed the video from their website. Mind you, this is a professionally filmed and edited short, using celebrities and featuring a song from Radiohead. That’s a fair bit of money down the drain. A waste of time? A misfortune of our politically correct times? A massive miscalcuation? What do you think?

**WARNING** Film contains violent and potentially disturbing images


About Nathan Smith

Nathan Smith is a philosophy professor at Houston Community College - Northwest. He's a father of two and husband to fellow elephant columnist, Joana Smith. As a philosopher, he specializes in Descartes, the philosophy of mind, and phenomenology. He's interested in all kinds of things, but he blogs primarily about politics, spirituality, and good, green living. Follow him on twitter @smithnd. And share your thoughts in the comments; he doesn't bite.


5 Responses to “Woah! How Far is Too Far to Make A Point About Climate Change?”

  1. The video is sickening. It isn't clever, it isn't funny, it isn't going to convince anyone of the merits of cutting carbon emissions. Any serious environmentalist should have denounced it straight away and disassociated themselves from the inevitable backlash against the crude, gleeful and graphic violence shown here.

    Frankly, the video makers may as well have taken propaganda tips from Osama Bin Laden:


  2. fah fah fah says:

    It’s a pity that Armstrong didn’t stop to consider the message and tone of the idea before actually producing it. If you watch the making of doc for The Age Of Stupid, her first version of the film had a condescending, finger-wagging tone that turned off the audience in a big way. She realized this and made the necessary changes. She should have thought this through more, as well.

    But the biggest pity is that the goal of the 10:10 campaign is a nobel one, and really important, and this tarnishes it in the eyes of people who aren’t familar with the campaign. People need to be aware of their energy consumption and just consumption in general, plain as.

    A misstep like this gives climate skeptics and fossil fuel-funded denial groups a massive straw man to kick around, and the real, hard scientific facts of the matter will get buried under it all.

  3. Kimberley Rome says:

    Doesn't fly. Can't get green through violence. The largest ecosystem we live in includes the heart. We are ONE. We will find a way to save ourselves through higher consciousness. We will. In our lifetimes. : )

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