Collapse

 

Collapse is a surprisingly interesting documentary. It takes the format of an interview with investigative journalist,  the late Michael C. Ruppert, editor of the newsletter From The Wilderness, a newsletter that reported on Government corruption, Peak Oil and predicted amongst other things, the 2008 economic collapse.

Michael Ruppert was a former LAPD Narcotics Detective who became disillusioned with the Police Force after discovering links between the CIA, LAPD and cocaine trafficking. To cut a long story short he started the news letter “From the Wilderness” reporting on the misdeeds of government organisations and other stories often overlooked by mainstream media. Often labeled a conspiracy theorist by the establishment, his newsletter nevertheless ended up with 22,000 subscribers at it’s height and Michael was in demand as a public speaker around the world

Filmed in a drab warehouse style setting and consisting of Michael C Ruppert answering questions while chain smoking, you would be forgiven for thinking that this will be a dull film. Quite the opposite. Michael was very passionate about the things he reported, obviously a very intelligent man and his eloquence is evident in the interview. He is able to rattle off facts and figures and dates with considerable ease, and the information he is able to provide the viewer is in turns astounding and horrifying.

The links he is able to draw between world events and the corruption of governments are quite shocking and more than a little depressing. Spending a life reporting on the rotten heart of governments must take it’s toll and he comes across as an intensely troubled man, at one point in the interview breaking down. One does wonder though at how much was truth and how much was blown out of proportion or taken out of context. The viewer would do well to remember though, the old saying “there is no smoke without fire” when forming their own opinions about the film.

Personally I am always interested in watching and reading the “other side” of the news. News reports and articles by independent journalists unfettered by the purse strings of big corporations and politicians. Michael Ruppert was that type of journalist and Collapse is well worth watching.

Sadly it all became too much for Michael and in 2014 he took his own life.

Collapse
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The True Cost

 

“…will we be satisfied with a system that makes us feel rich while leaving our world so desperately poor? ………will we continue to search for happiness in the consumption of things?” – Andrew Morgan, Writer/Director

This is a disturbing film. Disturbing because we are all in some way involved, and disturbing because it is not easy to see a solution.

The documentary ‘The True Cost’ looks into the world of fashion and examines the consequences of cheap High Street fashion, or ‘fast fashion’ as it’s termed in the film.

In the 1960’s, 95% of America’s clothing was made in the US. Now only 3% is. It’s all outsourced to other countries where the labour costs are lower. We now have cheaper, readily accessible clothing but what, as the name of the film implies, is the real cost?

Criss-crossing the world, from cat walk to factory, the film examines the horrific effect of pesticides on cotton crops, the exploitation of workers, the poor working conditions in the sweat shops of countries such as Bangladesh and Cambodia, the piles of recycled clothing dumped in third world countries.

All while the huge fashion companies are raking in record profits.

The film is not all negative though and also highlights people who have decided to make a change for the positive, organisations such as Fair Trade and People Tree who are ensuring the use of organic cotton and a fair wage for workers.

The problem is, what do we do? We all need clothing, we all want cheap clothing. The garment worker needs work and the conditions in a garment factory while horrible for us, are often a better and safer option than the other work available.

We need to re-examine our priorities and remember that there is a human story behind everything we wear. The scenes of shoppers in the west squabbling and fighting over stuff they don’t need during annual sales, while a garment worker has to leave her child in a village to be cared for by someone else, show that things are out of balance.

I don’t know what the solution is, certainly the fashion companies need to take more responsibility for where they are sourcing their clothes. But we also need to think about what we buy and how much do we really need. Do we need 5 t-shirts at $2 each or can we manage with 1 $10 shirt?

If nothing else, this film will make you think about the consequences of your actions, and if enough people see it then perhaps real beneficial change will happen.

As the Director of ‘The True Cost’, Andrew Morgan, says at the end of the film: “ ….in the midst of all the challenges facing us today, for all the problems that feel bigger than us and beyond our control……… maybe we can start here, with clothing.”

The True Cost
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Years of Living Dangerously

 

Produced by James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger, ‘Years of Living Dangerously‘ is a 9 part docu-series discussing the human impact on climate change and the dire consequences awaiting mankind and our environment unless we take drastic steps to change the way we live and interact with the planet.

What makes this series different from other documentaries on climate change is that it enlists the help of many famous personalities, all of whom having some history of environmental activism, to present the various stories running through it. This to me is a great idea as it will encourage more people to view the documentary and it no doubt helped the producers to open more doors and gain more access to scientists and researchers than if unknown presenters had been involved.

Enlisting help from people such as Harrison Ford, Matt Damon,  journalist Thomas Friedman, Don Cheadle and Jessica Alba, it makes for compelling if at times sobering viewing.

The sight of a visibly angry Harrison Ford berating a smug looking Indonesian Minister of Forests for his lack of action is something that will stick with me for some time.

It is great that people with the fame and recognition that these actors and journalists have, are using it for the greater good of our planet.

Too often we selfishly refuse to consider that our own actions are having an effect on the environment and we have become so disconnected from nature that we consider global warming as someone else’s problem. We all need to consider the consequences of the lifestyles we lead and not turn a blind eye and leave it for someone else to deal with.

Years of Living Dangerously‘ should be watched by everyone but at the very least made compulsory viewing in schools. It’s not easy to change the minds and opinions of people with set and established views (and some of the comments I have seen on IMDB only reinforce this) but if the younger generation can be made aware of how mankind is affecting the planet then hopefully they will take steps to ensure a brighter future.

You can watch Episode 1 online here: