ecostory 96-2007
"The 11th Hour" - La 11e heure - Le dernier virage

Les espoirs qui remplacent la réalité - Hopes that replace reality!
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Text transcript from the movie trailer
[narrator] (time min:sec) listen (image=watch) If you haven't got Flash installed, you can try watching the trailer with Apple quickTime7 or with one of the trailers here:
  • [Newsreaders:] The weather and the climate are making news in more than one ... it appears flooding has killed at least 72 people ... under siege in the grip of unmitigated capacity ... (15 secs) [images: various desasters]
  • [DiCaprio (speaking):] The evidence is now clear. Industrial civilisation has caused irreparable damage. Our political and corporate leaders have consistently ignored the overwhelming scientic evidence. (26s)
  • [DiCaprio (speaking and image):] Not only is it the 11th hour. It is 11:59. (30s)
  • [DiCaprio (speaking):] What we saw with Catherina is just prologue. Worse is yet to come.[image text: "OUR PLANET HAS REACHED THE 11TH HOUR", flood image, text: "THE CRISIS IS REAL", more flood images]S (37s)
  • [narr.: ] The UN estimates that by the middle of this century there may be a 150 million environmental refugees. (41s) [images: black people in great distress and drowning. text: "THE DANGER IS NOW", message: We, the whites don't have to worry.]
  • [Richard Heinberg:] There are too many of us using too many resources too fast. (45s) [images: a 12 lane motorway. A black man cutting a tree.]
  • [...: ]The problem is that every living system is in decline and the rate of decline is accelerating. (51s) [images: waste water, a polar bear on a dump]
  • [...: ] The tragedy is the potential extinction of humankind. (54s) [images: a third world slum, black people in a railway station and on stretchers. Message: it's horrible but we the whites are safe. We have the means to protect ourselves.]
  • [DiCaprio:] We face a convergence of crisis. (57s) [image: lightning against a red sky]
    All of which who are concern for life. (1 minute) [images: waste, forest fire, sign "lost children" held up by hispanic people, more catastrophe flashes, then the words: THE HOPE IS YOU]
  • [DiCaprio:] Will our pivotal generation create a sustainable world in time? (1:12)
  • [Narrator...:] People need to realise there are things they can do in their everyday lives. [images: white pedestrians in a poor neighbourhood, black children planting a tree]
    If everybody is making a change it adds up to something meaningful. (1:17) [Message: the consumer must do it. This is blaming the victim since the leaders seduce us into ever more consumption and promote endless growth.]
  • [...: ] Our project today is the welfare of all of life as a practical objective. (1:22) [images: windmills a artificially greened city building, bearded narrator. Message: we the wealthy will make it.]
  • [...: With existing technologies we could literally reduce the human foorprint on planet earth by 90 per cent. (1:29) [images: bus desin, trains, cars, high speed maglev train (the transrapid is very resource consuming), the words TURN MANKINDS' DARKEST HOUR...]
  • [...: ] We have to imagine what it would be to redesign design itself. (1:34) [images: solar panels, airwing, words: ...INTO OUR FINEST]
  • [CIA man??: ] These are not technical issues nearly as much as they are leadership issues. (1:40) [images: landscape, waterfall]
  • [...: ] There was a time when the republicans and democrats joined to pass major environmental laws (1:45) [images: Kennedy Nixon water on the shore)
  • [...: ] 500 years out people look back at this time that this was our finest hour (1:50). [images: whales, solar panels Words: "BRILLIANT AND TERRIFYING"]
  • [...: ] What a great time to be born, what a great time to be alive. Because this generation gets to completely change this world. (2:02) [images: presenter, sign LEONARDO DICAPRIO PRESENTS, woman holding up baby in the air, white boy stretching its arm out into the sky, black children in the water, white girls running towards the audience, THE 11TH HOUR...]

    our comment: français articles top
    "The 11th Hour" by Warner Bros is fiction - making money with people's worries and illusionary "solutions".
    DiCaprio may be honest in his intentions, but the film provides the wrong messages.

    The film's subtitle "Turn Mankind's darkest hour into its finest" provides the hope.
    The trailer is wrong by claiming that we could solve every problem with technology.
    At the end we hear: "What a great time to be born, what a great time to be alive, because this generation gets to completely change this world," with background images of playing and happy children.
    This is doubly wrong.
    Firstly, today no child is happy seeing the images of an increasingly threatened tomorrow.
    Secondly, it is not up to our children to change the world for the better. We, their parents and grandparents, have to do it. We wield the power. We must modify our ways dramatically if our beloved children and grandchildren want to have tomorrow at all.
    The movie's utterly delusive message is: Don't worry too much, just a little bit to watch the movie. But it will all be fine.
    The most perverse message is that our children will do the job, as "they get to completely change this world.
    What a fuckin' sham. WE ourselves have to do it. WE must stop growth and reduce.

    One may ask why technology will never be able to save the world and - on top of that - allow us to maintain our exuberant lifestyles.

    He is a concise answer:
    Technology and capital cannot replace or recreate extinct species, cut-down rain forests, depleted ground water streams, eroded agricultural lands, etc.. Nor can it protect against the weather extremes and floods because of climate change that has already started;
    Some related links are:
    an outrage from 1996
    a general overview of sustainabilty
    on population control
    Soylent green is people - 40 million in New York and the oceans dead - beautiful background music: Beethoven's Pastorale.

    Sweet dreams ... Helmut

    Reference data for comparison:

  • growth table
  • growth scenarios
  • Vanity fair green issue
  • Science fiction and horror web magazine with features, interviews, news, and reviews.
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    Helpful Hints for Saving the Planet

    By MANOHLA DARGIS Published: August 17, 2007 NYT website. (Copyright notice)

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, the environment, blah, blah, blah, melting ice caps. To judge from all the gas-guzzlers still fouling the air and the plastic bottles clogging the dumps, it appears that the news that we are killing ourselves and the world with our greed and garbage hasn’t sunk in. That’s one reason “The 11th Hour,” an unnerving, surprisingly affecting documentary about our environmental calamity, is such essential viewing. It may not change your life, but it may inspire you to recycle that old slogan-button your folks pinned on their dashikis back in the day: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

    The problem looks overwhelming, literally, as demonstrated by the images of overflowing landfills and sickeningly polluted bodies of water that flicker through the movie like damning evidence. Structured in mainstream fiction-film fashion (in other words, like a term paper), it opens with an introduction that presents the case, builds momentum with an absorbing analytical middle section and wraps up with just enough optimism that I didn’t want to run home and stick my head in an energy-efficient oven. No matter how well intentioned, political documentaries that present problems without real-life, real-time, real-people solutions — an 800 number, an address, something — just add to the noise (pollution), becoming another title on some filmmaker’s résumé as well as a temporary salve for the audience’s guilt.

    Written and directed by the sisters Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners, and narrated on- and off-camera by Leonardo DiCaprio, who served as one of the producers, “The 11th Hour” attempts to stave off helplessness, and the nihilism that often follows it, mostly by appealing to our reason.

    In one interview snippet after another, dozens of scientists, activists, gurus, policy types and even a magical-mushroom guy go through the arguments, present the data and criticize the anti-green faction, putting words to the images that are liberally interspersed between these talking heads like mortar. Every so often, Mr. DiCaprio pops up on screen to interrupt this show and tell, squinting into the camera and pushing the narrative to the next topic.

    If your head isn’t lodged in the sand, much of what’s said in the movie will be agonizing and familiar. Gasping children, disappearing animals, gushing oil, billowing smoke, dying lakes, emptying forests, warming weather — the list of ills is numbingly familiar. In the movie’s eye-catching opener, the directors riffle through a veritable catalog of timely snapshots, some obvious (a smoggy skyline), others less so (a human fetus).

    Effectively blunt, this sequence provoked a colleague to invoke the name of the avant-garde giant Stan Brakhage, but the truer visual and structural model here is a film like “Koyaanisqatsi,” with its streaming global landscapes. The difference is that the images in “The 11th Hour” are pointedly horrifying, not reassuring, pacific or aestheticized.

    That can make it tough to watch, which the directors clearly know. They whip through the pictures and the interviews fast — at times a little too fast — and keep the information flowing as quickly as the visuals. This swift, steady pace means that you receive a lot of bad news from a lot of different sources. The ecologist Brock Dolman explains, “When we started feeding off the fossil fuel cycle, we began living with a death-based cycle.” From there the topic nimbly jumps to climate change, national security (courtesy the former director of the C.I.A., R. James Woolsey), Katrina, asthma and the stunning news from the oceanographer and author Sylvia Earle that “we’ve lost 90 percent of most of the big fish in the sea.”

    Yes, it’s bad, but it’s not over yet. Many of those same sober talking heads also argue with equal passion that we can save ourselves, along with the sky above us and the earth below. The capacity for human beings to fight, to rise to the occasion, as Mr. Woolsey notes, invoking America’s rapid, albeit delayed jump into World War II, gives hope where none might seem possible.

    It is our astonishing capacity for hope that distinguishes “The 11th Hour” and that speaks so powerfully, in part because it is this all-too-human quality that may finally force us to fight the good fight against the damage we have done and continue to do. As the saying goes, keep hope alive — and if you’re holding this review in your hands, don’t forget to recycle the paper.

    “The 11th Hour” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). It has freakily scary environmental images.


    Opens today in New York and Los Angeles.

    Written and directed by Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners; narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio; directors of photography, Peter Youngblood Hills and Andrew Rowlands; edited by Pietro Scalia and Luis Alvarez y Alvarez; music by Jean-Pascal Beintus and Eric Avery; production designer, Ms. Conners; produced by Mr. DiCaprio, Ms. Petersen, Chuck Castleberry and Brian Gerber; released by Warner Independent Pictures. Running time: 91 minutes.

    Copyright New York Times 2007 - Source:
    We reproduced this article for reference reasons only.
    MOVIE REVIEW 'The 11th Hour'

    'The 11th Hour' shows environmental damage beyond global warming. But it ends with action and hope.

    By Kevin Crust Los Angeles Times Staff Writer August 17, 2007 website. (Copyright notice),0,2830729.story

    IT would be a mistake to dismiss the valuable environmental documentary "The 11th Hour" as a mere redux of "An Inconvenient Truth." Whereas the 2006 Al Gore-starring film, which won an Academy Award for best documentary, focused intensely on global warming, "The 11th Hour" takes a broader approach in examining Earth's ills.

    Though it has its own hands-on celebrity producer-narrator, Leonardo DiCaprio, who acts more as a guide, posing questions and introducing segments, the film forges an authoritative voice through a collective of experts representing relevant fields. And although climate change gets attention (seven minutes by the filmmakers' estimate), "The 11th Hour" primarily attempts to describe a critical time in the Earth's evolution, the last moment we as a species can theoretically make a difference. Through social, economic and political lenses, the film presents a harrowing account of the planet's current condition, an exploration of the causes and, finally, a look at what can be done in the near future to heal the damage.

    In describing the impact on the planet's ecosystems attributed to industrialized society, writer-directors (and sisters) Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners marry images of natural beauty with natural disasters, stressing exactly how unnatural many of these catastrophes are. Scientists, environmentalists, authors, academics and activists weigh in on topics that go well beyond global warming in examining the scale of the footprint humanity has made.

    It is unabashedly a documentary of talking heads, but it works. The most recognizable of those heads belong to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and R. James Woolsey, director of the CIA under President Bill Clinton, but the majority of the densely packed film's time is spent with those on the front lines of environmental study.

    Eco-activist and Bioneers founder Kenny Ausubel, writer Thom Hartmann, entrepreneur Paul Hawken, sustainable-agriculture proponent Wes Jackson and Canadian scientist and broadcaster David Suzuki are among those who get the most face time. The mélange of voices is coherently edited within segments that hold to a particular theme, each tied to the film's overarching ideas. DiCaprio, a longtime advocate of environmental reform, is sincere and passionate in his introductory remarks to each sequence.

    The concentration of all this information into an hour and a half makes it more likely to reach a large audience, but it also leaves you wanting more. Hours could be devoted to any one of the film's subjects, and it's easy to imagine it expanded into a much longer television series.

    The first third of the film is nearly as terrifying as any science-fiction film as interviewees describe the Earth as behaving like an infected organism. Humanity is a victim of its own collective intelligence as the very skills that abetted our survival against initially long odds have accelerated our possible demise.

    According to the filmmakers, at the heart of the problem is our disconnect from nature, the idea that we are somehow removed from our natural environment. This lack of understanding of the Earth's interdependent systems has created a convergence of crises, wherein deforestation, soil degradation, the pollution of the air and the ill health of the oceans all bode poorly.

    The middle portion asks why these things are happening and apportions blame in varying degrees to governmental indifference tied to its allegiance to a corporate economy that is addicted to growth at any cost and perhaps, most insinuating of all, to the culture of consumerism. Disposable has trumped sustainable in our society, and we're now paying the price.

    Thankfully for audiences, "11th Hour" is not without hope. The filmmakers save the most exhilarating portion for last when they ask what's being done about the problems. Experts extol existing technologies and projects as attainable solutions. Progressive designs such as a carbon-neutral city and self-sustaining buildings already offer ideas for a new direction. By mimicking nature's own blueprints, it is possible to create a system of living that heals rather than depletes the Earth.

    "The 11th Hour." MPAA rating: PG for some mild disturbing images and thematic elements. Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes. At Pacific's ArcLight, 6360 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 464-4226; and the Landmark, 10850 W. Pico Blvd., West L.A. (310) 281-8233.

    Copyright Los Angeles Times 2007 - Source:,0,1107485,print.story
    We reproduced this article for reference reasons only.

    The Man of the Hour

    [picture] Environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, at the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in southeast Iceland. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz. 2007 website. (Copyright notice)
    Leonardo DiCaprio: actor, activist. photograph by Annie Leibovitz May 2007

    If you go to, you will find that it is split down the middle. The left half is labeled "Leonardo," and will bring you up-to-date on his filmmaking career (doing rather nicely, with a recent Oscar nomination for his performance in Blood Diamond and, to some tastes, an even stronger performance in best-picture winner The Departed). The right half is labeled "Eco-Site"; it offers guides to various environmental concerns, tips on differences anyone can make, and links to dozens of green organizations and information. Not many stars share their fan face time with gorillas and ferns, but this is the image DiCaprio puts forward to the world: a literal expression of twin passions. A longtime environmentalist—remember his interview in 2000 with then president Bill Clinton for an ABC Earth Day special?—DiCaprio is currently on the boards of both the Natural Resources Defense Council and Global Green USA and has been a tireless promoter of green causes and events. Later this year will see the fusion of his two passions with the release of The 11th Hour, a feature documentary on environmental ills and possible cures, a kind of state-of-the-earth address with gorgeous pictures and eloquent experts, which DiCaprio is producing, co-writing, and narrating. As he says in this remarkable film, as hopeful as it is alarming, "So, we find ourselves on the brink." On the brink of what, it is made plain, is up to us. Below, a sneak preview of The 11th Hour.

    The Hour Is Near
    Excerpted from the film The 11th Hour, a documentary created by Leonardo DiCaprio; directed by Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners; the film, to be released by Tree Media Group and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, will be in theaters later this year; all rights reserved.

    So, we find ourselves on the brink. It's clear humans have had a devastating impact on our planet's ecological web of life. Because we've waited, because we've turned our backs on nature's warning signs, and because our political and corporate leaders have consistently ignored the overwhelming scientific evidence, the challenges we face are that much more difficult. We are in the environmental age whether we like it or not. So, what does the future look like? We know the United States, the greatest consumer and source of waste, needs to make a transition to a greener future, but will our pivotal generation create a sustainable world in time? What will guide this massive change? And does nature hold the answers we need to help restore our planet's resources, protect our atmosphere, and therefore help all life survive? —Leonardo DiCaprio

    The problem that confronts us is that every living system in the biosphere is in decline and the rate of decline is accelerating. There isn't one peer-reviewed scientific article that's been published in the last 20 years that contradicts that statement. Living systems are coral reefs. They're our climatic stability, forest cover, the oceans themselves, aquifers, water, the conditions of the soil, biodiversity. They go on and on as they get more specific. But the fact is, there isn't one living system that is stable or is improving. And those living systems provide the basis for all life. —Paul Hawken, environmentalist and entrepreneur.

    I think the most basic thing to understand about our global economic system is that it's a subsystem. The larger system is the biosphere, and the subsystem is the economy. The problem, of course, is that our subsystem, the economy, is geared for growth; it's all set up to grow, to expand. Whereas the parent system doesn't grow; it remains the same size. So, as the economy grows, it displaces, it encroaches upon the biosphere, and this is the fundamental cost of economic growth. It's what you give up when you expand. You give up what used to be there. —Herman Daly, ecological economist.

    There's a more fundamental problem, and that is, as the world economy has expanded relative to the size of the earth itself, we have reached the point where economic activity often does a lot of damage. What we need to recognize is that, in many cases now, the indirect costs of the products, the goods, and the services we buy may be greater than the direct costs. —Lester Brown, founder, Earth Policy Institute.

    Economists don't include all of the things that nature does for us for nothing. Some technologies would never be able to do what nature does. For example, pollinating all of the flowering plants. What would it cost us to take carbon dioxide out of the air and put oxygen back in, which all the green things do for us for nothing? It's possible to do a crude estimate of what it would cost us to replace nature. Well, it turns out, [one researcher] estimated it would cost us $35 trillion a year to do what nature is doing for us for nothing. Now to put that in perspective. If you had added up all of the annual economies of all the countries in the world at that time, it would come to $18 trillion. So, nature is doing twice as much service for us as the economies of the world. And in the madness of conventional economics, this is not in the equation. —David Suzuki, geneticist and broadcaster.

    Somehow in the last few decades in business school, they were trained that the object of their business is growth, as if that were an end. It's not an end, it's a means. And if we flip the ends and means, then we can get the end back, quality of life. We have to look at the contradictions because the wrong kind of growth reduces our quality of life, and we have to take that back. —Stephen Schneider, climatologist.

    I think the industrial system has to be re-invented. Today the throughput of the industrial system, from mine and wellhead to finished product, ends up in a landfill or incinerator. For every truckload of product with lasting value, 32 truckloads of waste are produced. That's mind-boggling, but it's true. So we have a system that is a waste-making system. And clearly we cannot continue to dig up the earth and turn it to waste. —Ray Anderson, industrial engineer and businessman.

    One can see from space how the human race has changed the earth. Nearly all of the available land has been cleared for agriculture or urban development. The polar ice caps are shrinking and the desert areas are increasing. At night the earth is no longer dark, but lit up. All this is evidence that human exploitation of the planet is reaching a critical limit, but human demands and expectations are ever increasing. —Stephen Hawking, cosmologist.

    Some people suggest that in order to live sustainably we have to go out in the woods and put on animal skins and live on roots and berries. And the simple reality is that we do have technology. The question is, how can we use our understanding of science and our understanding of technology along with our understanding of culture, and how culture changes, to create a culture that will interact with science and with the world around us in a sustainable fashion? —Thom Hartmann, broadcaster, educator, businessman.

    The great thing about the dilemma we're in is that we get to reimagine every single thing we do. In other words, there isn't one single thing that we make that doesn't require a complete remake. And so there are two ways of looking at that. One is like: Oh my gosh, what a big burden. The other way to look at it, which is the way I prefer, is: What a great time to be born! What a great time to be alive! Because this generation gets to essentially completely change this world. —Paul Hawken

    We're at a point in our history, with 6.4 billion of us, that we have to imagine what it would be like to redesign design itself, see design as the first signal of human intention, and realize that we need new intentions for our future where materials are seen as things that are highly valuable and need to go in closed cycles—what we call cradle to cradle, instead of cradle to grave. And we have to agree that energy needs to come from renewable sources, principally the sun, and that water needs to be clean and healthy as it comes in and out of the system, and that we should treat each other with justice and fairness. So, the design itself changes from mass production of things that are essentially destructive to mass utilization of things that are inherently assets instead of liabilities. —William McDonough, architect and designer.

    How we make things in our industrial process is a 180-degree difference from how life makes things. Look at how we make, for instance, Kevlar, which is our toughest material. We take petroleum, we heat it up to about 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, we boil it in sulfuric acid, and then we pull it out under enormous pressures. Now, imagine us making our bones or our teeth, or imagine an abalone making a shell. Abalones can't afford to heat it up to really high temperatures or do pressures or do chemical baths, so they've found a different way. Now take the spider. This beautiful orb-weaver spider is basically taking flies and crickets and transforming them in water in the abdomen and what comes out is this material that's five times stronger ounce for ounce than steel. Silently, in water, at room temp. I mean, this is master chemistry, and this is manufacturing of the future, hopefully. And there are actually people who are now trying to mimic the recipes of these organisms. Beautiful architecture and incredible manufacturing and we're starting to learn how to mimic that. —Janine Benyus, co-founder, the Biomimicry Guild.

    If we think about the tree as a design, it's something that makes oxygen, sequesters carbon, fixes nitrogen, distills water, provides a habitat for hundreds of species, accrues solar energy, makes complex sugars and food, creates micro-climates, self-replicates. So, what would it be like to design a building like a tree? What would it be like to design a city like a forest? So what would a building be like if it were photosynthetic? What if it took solar energy and converted it to productive and delightful use? —William McDonough

    This country can move awfully fast, if it wants to. Keep in mind that after December 7, 1941, Roosevelt went to Jimmy Byrnes and said, You're my deputy president for mobilizing the economy. Anybody crosses you, they cross me. Within six months, Detroit was completely retooled, not making cars anymore, making military trucks, tanks, fighter aircraft, and in three years and eight months from the beginning of that war, we had mobilized, we had defeated imperial Japan, Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, together with the British and our other allies, and had begun demobilization. Three years and eight months. —R. James Woolsey, former director of the C.I.A

    Copyright Copyright © 2007 CondéNet. - Source:
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