I went and saw the documentary The Age of Stupid the other night. It is good. You should see it. And yes, I cried (for me it was the bit about the Nigerian village that did it). The film was at its best when showing how climate change is already affecting peoples' lives. The most shocking statistic for me was that while only 1% of scientists don't believe climate change is real, 60% of the general public remain unconvinced. (Interestingly, I read a statistic when I was in Australia a while ago that said that a large number of Australians do believe it is real, no doubt because people there are experiencing the effects on a national scale to a greater extent than elsewhere).
The film's Kiwi producer, Lizzie Gillet, had this to say in a NZ Herald review posted on the movie website:
"We wanted to make a film that had an impact," Gillett says "We didn't want to be preaching to the converted. More importantly, I think there is a lot of research out there and people know about climate change but are just not doing anything, so we tried to make a film that engages people emotionally more than intellectually ... to persuade them to do something about climate change.I agree that the science is compelling, however, the one thing that disappointed me about the film is that it felt very light on what that something is that we need to do about climate change. We saw people from the rich world growing their own food, attending protests, thinking about how they can reduce their carbon emissions on an individual level. One man who was interviewed, the wind farm guy, referred to taking action on climate change as a "moral issue". I think that this misses the point; the best chance we have of addressing climate change at is by facing it as a political issue that can be addressed at the national level.
By talking about climate change as either an individual moral problem, or a global crisis, we miss the point that it is governments that will make a difference here with initiatives such as taxing pollution so that the real costs associated with production and distribution are being included in prices. Again, in Australia last week the news was full of the fact that food prices will be affected by their recently announced emissions targets and there was well-placed concern about the effect that this would have on the poor. To deal with this real problem the Rudd government announced that they would target social assistance to those families affected by increased prices. This is the approach we need to take here in New Zealand as well.
I recommend the film and hope you will have the chance to see it. However, changing behaviour on an individual level to seek to address climate change may feel good morally but what we need to do is to really make progress on this is to take this on collectively through our political processes.