Cool It heats up the global warming debate

A brief biography of Bjorn Lomborg, Danish author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, led to a crossfire examination of the relationship between humankind and the biosphere. This provides a thumbnail sketch of a plethora of global problems (disease, warfare, starvation, etc.) that each seems to dwarf the colossal problem of the introduction.

Then the grilling begins. Talking heads on both sides of the debate about global warming present opposing arguments on whether global warming is even a real phenomena and if so, what, if anything can or should be done about it. Lomborg, who’s quest is to get to the raw data concerning these global problems, is alternately called an environmental heretic by environmental activists and an alarmist, environmental nut by advocates of the industrial, free market establishment. Lomborg’s work challenges the contemporary consensus on both sides of the issue which makes him seem the lone man in the middle of the “green” storm.

The film examines technologies that, if developed may be what can solve global macro-problems. Basically, you are given the staggering complexity of the environmental situation first, the latest research that has a chance to solve some of the problems next. These are perhaps the most incredible environmental solutions you’ve never heard of.

The real drama within this coverage of possible global catastrophe is Lomborg’s ongoing will to pit himself against both sides of the issue. His demand for unadulterated data seems to have pissed everyone off.  His stated goal is sensible fiscal and humanitarian action.  Lomborg compares global warming solutions and examines the forces driving international climate change policies. His inquiries expose the massive expense of policies like cap and trade and the negligible net result some of these policies would yield.

Behind many a “green” face is the same kind of corruption and greed that may have put the planet in several worse case scenarios in the first place. Exploitation of the green movement by corporations and governments that stand to make trillions loom behind the various policies being tabled at International environmental summits like Kyoto, The Copenhagen Consensus, etc. Many of these global corporations and governments appear to be doing environmental good but Lomborg peels back the layers to show how these issues affect people in developed and undeveloped countries. The film reveals how children in developed nations have had the fear of the climate debate deeply set in their minds while children in the undeveloped world have fear rooted in their reality of how they might survive another day of malnutrition and disease.

Ultimately, this reviewer was left in a state of overwhelmed confusion by this film. However, I mean that as the highest compliment. This film unabashedly delves into the complexities of the relationship between two extremely complex living systems (humans and the biosphere). If the film didn’t leave you overwhelmed and confused then it would probably be more of what environmental news coverage often is: PROPAGANDA. Cool It may be the best example of “Direct Cinema” documentary I’ve seen since Brother’s Keeper.

The film left this reviewer with this conclusion, that the answer to our environmental situation may be this: If we continue to live in our current relationship with the environment we’re screwed. If we allow certain policies like cap and trade and others proposed at Kyoto and Copenhagen we’re screwed. Perhaps if enough people watch and become overwhelmed in the complexities of the issues covered in this film, then just maybe somebody will be able to come up with something ingenious enough to solve these problems. Lest you think I’ve given too many spoilers and you now feel you don’t need to see the film, my reply is: you need to see this film because I’ve merely outlined its packaging. Within the rapper are densely packed layers of data that will arm you with the knowledge to know where you may want to take a stand or intelligently debate several global problems that either already affect every one of us or soon will.

Structurally, the film is a straight-laced, talking head documentary buttressed by footage produced to carry the story of Lomborg’s quest. News stock footage intersperses to keep it all rooted in factual current events. The documentary format historically does not tend to play well in theatrical release, but perhaps the ongoing debate of global warming in daily newscasts, the success of films like An Inconvenient Truth, The Eleventh Hour and the currently fashionable green movement will help sell tickets to this challenging film of one man’s quest to fight for the truth regarding the health of the biosphere and its dependent humans. Good luck humans, it appears you’ll need it.

Cool It Trailer

Cool It is a feature documentary indictment of the global warming issue. The film begins with a summation of the global warming meta-narrative. This introduction uses a child’s narration and stylized crayon drawings to effectively make this complex subject understandable and simultaneously, eerily haunting (i.e.: a child should probably never know so much about his planet being on the brink of destruction). However, this introduction is something of a red herring. Just when this reviewer was prepared for yet another environmental activist’s foray into why everyone everywhere should unplug everything immediately lest we all die, the film began to turn on itself.


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