On a recent trip cross-country with Thirty Seconds to Midnight, I stopped in Minneapolis for a visit with Dale Panton, a dear friend since high school. While there, Dale suggested an important book that would add to the section of the film dealing with climate change. After perusing his copy, I immediately ordered one for my self.
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert explains that because of human activity on the planet for 200,000 years, the habitat has been changing. The previous mass extinctions all occurred because of changes to the habitat. You see, the habitat is the living source and support for life forms on the planet. Kolbert documented the disappearance of many species, including the Great Barrier Reef, and found that the cause was a change in habitat/environment. She argues that humans have been the cause of habitat degradation and perhaps will also be its victims. I knew that my section on climate change in Thirty Seconds to Midnight was seriously lacking.
This troubling realization led to some intense research on the topics of extinction, geoengineering, weather modification, and solar radiation management where I discovered the work of Guy McPherson, Professor Emeritus and a conservation biologist at the University of Arizona, and Dane Wiggington, the founder of Geoengineering Watch. Both issue a warning about the horrors we face from the overwhelming evidence of climate change – man-made climate change. Both have numerous videos on Youtube. Wiggington is serious and anxious. In contrast, McPherson is also serious, but calm and even humorous as he argues that while humans will become extinct by 2030, we should embrace it, live life to the fullest, keep our friends and loved ones close, and do nor harm. They both focus on the large number of positive feedback loops – changes in the environment – that are accelerating at a frightening pace and converging into the “perfect storm” that will result in the sixth mass extinction.
Wiggington still believes there is time. McPherson does not.
Whereas I do not believe my argument that climate change is any less an immediate and existential threat to life on the planet, it does not provide enough evidence of the many, significant and undeniable changes to our environment. Examples include the melting of the polar ice caps and the calving of glaciers; the escape of Methane gas from the oceans and both poles; sea level rise, ocean warming, ocean acidification, the death of the Great Barrier Reef and other coral reefs around the world; deforestation and massive forest fires in North America, Russia and around the world; unprecedented flooding in Europe, Canada, and the U.S.; average global temperature rise and unprecedented heat waves in Europe, The Middle East and the Pacific Northwest; the lethal blow Fukushima released on the Pacific and the planet (a gift that just keeps giving); and air pollution. And not to be forgotten are wars and the impact of agriculture, industrialization and yes, “civilization” on the planet.
I will further clarify who and what is the cause of this rapid destruction of the only home we have. In Thirty Seconds to Midnight I referred to “the neocons in Washington and their global elite masters.” They have names.
As I began this blog on August 6, 2017, the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the threat of nuclear war was/is so imminent at this very moment that I wish I had entitled my film, Ten Seconds to Midnight – The Final Countdown. With new US imposed sanctions on Russia and N. Korea, and simultaneous military provocations towards Russia, China, N. Korea and Iran, and with the US media beating the drums of war, all life on the planet is perilously close to extinction.
So, in an addendum to Thirty Seconds to Midnight, I will produce a short documentary on the imminent threat of the sixth mass extinction entitled, Playing God with Us and the Planet – The Epitome of Arrogance.
The second film will be a continuation of my previous films (The Ghosts of Jeju and Thirty Seconds to Midnight) covering the effects of US militarism and empire on the people, the culture, and the environment in Central and South America.
On top of this agenda, I’ll be screening Thirty Seconds to Midnight from Maine down the Eastern Seaboard to Florida. Somewhere in all of this will be a second, complete knee replacement.
In visiting 25 cities on my recent film tours, people have expressed feelings of helplessness, being overwhelmed and even depressed. Edward Abbey said “the antidote for depression is activity.” We all need to double our efforts however we can. For me, it’s peddle to the metal with whatever time I have left.
Meanwhile, embrace life, live it to the fullest, keep your friends and loved ones close, be the best person you can be, be kind and do no harm, know that you have taken the high moral road and walked with the good angels in this long human experiment. In the end, love trumps all.