The film ‘11th Hour’ features many well-established scientists and public figures, such as Mikhail Gorbachev, Stephen Hawking, James Woolsey, Wangari Maathai, William McDonough, and others. All of them offer their own perception on the nature and causes of global warming, deforestation, raising see levels, species extinction, and other environmental problems that plague our planet today. Mikhail Gorbachev advances the argument that our thinking about the environment is the root cause of the imminent crisis.
He argues that it was a fatal mistake to think that man is the king of nature. Indeed, our disconnection from the nature resulted in the great degree of alienation and ignorance. While human species is an inherent part of the Earth’s global ecosystems, men prefer to view themselves as ‘outsiders,’ superior to other species. Such approach brought about the overexploitation of the Earth’s resources and considerable environmental damage.
Similar approach is taken by David Suzuki: he strongly deems that the framing of environmental discourse is done incorrectly. The mankind should arrive at understanding of itself as an integral part of the ecosystem; in other words, humans are also an element of nature, just like earth, air, fire and water. Paul Hawken also supports this notion by claiming that the living system should be perceived as a complex integral organization. While it is currently in decline, the very existence of the human race on this planet is under threat.
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Herman Daly, an influential scientist on both environmental and economic field, believes that the root cause of environmental problems is associated with the fact that the economic system should be viewed as a subsystem of biosphere, thus the expansion of economic system should be limited by the natural capabilities of the biosphere. Lester Brown supports Herman Daly by claiming that the economy expanded beyond the ability of the planet to sustain economic activity on such a scale, and the indirect cost of production in the form of damage to nature are too high.
The film persuasively argues that both individuals and corporations can make a considerable contribution to stopping (or at least slowing down) the degradation of the environment. In fact, many individuals seldom realize how their consumption patters are contributing to the aggravation of the situation. The culture of consumerism that constitutes the underlying philosophy of the West fuels unnecessary overproduction: reconsidering one’s consumption pattern can be the first step on the long way of saving the Earth.
Such an approach implies not only reduction in consumption of non-essential goods and services but also buying from companies that are known to use environmentally-benign technologies in the process of production. Switching to less environmentally damaging types of transport (such as a bike or public transport instead of a private car) is another manifestation of conscientious attitude. Economical usage is energy is another little earth saving project susceptible of being exercised at the personal level.
It is also possible to engage in environmental activism and help raise awareness of the acute challenges faced by the mankind. Finally, every person can apply his or her professional skills to building more sustainable relations between the humanity and ecosystem, whether this person is a designer or CEO. Industries, in turn, can embrace environmentalism by implementing ‘green technologies’ into the production process.
Also, firms should invest more into R&D with a view to mastering technologies that can make the current situation more sustainable, e. . carbon-neutral city and self-sustaining houses. Companies should also switch to renewable energy sources, since the overdependency on the fossil fuels is one of the greatest problems the humanity confronts. There is little consensus within both academic and lay circles as to whether the nature is able to cope with the environmental problems itself. In my opinion, ecosystems have a great potential of restoring the state of natural balance; however, the devastating influence of the humankind has significantly undermined this ability.
At the dawn of the 21st century, environmental problems are looming large, and many processes are already irreversible. For instance, species that became extinct due to man’s activity could have been essential elements of certain food chains and habitants. The frequency of large-scale natural calamities, especially in the places that have been for a long time considered relatively safe, is a telling manifestation of the inability of nature to sustain its balanced state.
Yet the film argues that today is exactly the day when the humanity can redeem its attitude to nature and prevent a global catastrophe. Therefore, the need for a different approach to the relations between the mankind and environment is necessary. It is imperative to carry on conservation and purification activities coupled with a persistent effort by both businesses and individuals to reduce (and, under the dream scenario, to stop) their environmentally damaging activities.
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