As severe weather events become more common, we get to watch the consequences of human-wrought changes to our living space, to wit, the Earth. This summer’s drought in the Midwestern United States is a stunning example, where staple crops from an important grain-producing region seem likely to be severely curtailed, thereby reducing the reserves of food available for both human consumption and livestock feed, not to mention the production of ethanol for fuel. At base are two phenomena that characterize the human presence on the planet in the last century, particularly that period following the Second World War. the first being the rise of the consumer society in parts of the world and the second being the stunning growth of human population, estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau to have hit the one billion mark in 1804, the two billion mark 123 years later in 1927, the three billion mark 33 years later, in 1960. We hit four billion in 1974, after a mere 14 years, five billion in 1987, 13 years later, six billion in 1999 with a lapse of 12 years. We then witness a bit of a slowing trend, taking 13 years to get to seven billion this year, with projections (from the same source) for a 15 year interval before we reach eight billion in 2027, and another increased delay of 19 years before reaching nine billion in 2046.
At the same time as the human population of the Earth experienced this phenomenal growth, there occurred another growth which compounds the impact of increased population. According to graphs at the site Our Finite World (http://ourfiniteworld.com/2012/03/12/world-energy-consumption-since-1820-in-charts/), per capita energy consumption globally has increased from 20 gigajoules per person per year to 80 gigajoules per person per year between 1820 and 2000. Our present course points to an era of possible extreme negative consequences for humanity, as well as for most life on Earth.
A synopsis from the film’s website states the following:
Mother, the film, breaks a 40-year taboo by bringing to light an issue that silently fuels our most pressing environmental, humanitarian and social crises – population growth. It is a critical time to talk about this subject because the world’s population has now reached seven billion people.
In the film we meet Beth – a loving mother, a child-rights activist and a member of a very large American family of 12. After realizing her own family’s impact on the planet, Beth then travels to Ethiopia to understand the developing world’s crises and solutions. There she meets a young woman Zinet, living in extreme poverty, who, against all odds, found the courage to break free from thousand-year-old-cultural barriers by refusing to get married young and going to school.
Grounded in the theories of social scientist Riane Eisler, the film strives not to blame but to educate, to highlight a different path for humanity. Overpopulation is merely a symptom of an even larger problem – a “domination system” that for most of human history has glorified the domination of man over nature, man over child and man over woman. To break this pattern, the film demonstrates that we must change our conquering mindset into a nurturing one. Mother not only focuses on consumption and moving away from our current economic model, but it shows in a holistic manner how empowering women worldwide will help to solve the environmental, social and humanitarian crises that stem from population growth.
In a desire to generate conversation about what seems to be a very pressing issue, Alberni Valley Transition Towns Society will host a screening of the film Mother (http://ww.motherthefilm.com/#!about/mainPage) at Char’s Landing, 4815 Argyle Street, Port Alberni, at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 19, 2012, with time allotted for discussion following the presentation, which lasts an hour. The public are invited to attend both the AVTTS meeting at the same location, starting at 6:00, and the film screening. There is no admission charge, but do bring a few dollars to buy a coffee, tea, or soft drink, or perhaps some of the sweet treats that Char often has on offer.