How did you lived the election of Barak Obama, in New York?
It was quite amazing the celebration in NY. This leaves Obama with a tremendous responsibility and I hope he can be strong enough to defeat all the special interests that will surely follow him to the White House. If he falls short of his promise he will let down the whole world and the whole world is watching and waiting. It is like putting the renaissance in the hands of one man. He used hope to get elected and now we can only hope that he doesn’t forget that.
Why this title Blind Spot?
Blind Spot came about as a title one afternoon when we where having tea with Professor William Catton and his wife Nancy. We where telling them stories of how you can meet someone that is very enlightened in one subject and completely ignorant in another. For example an environmentalist drinking Diet Coke. At this point Nancy offered the following statement: “We all have our Blind Spot’s you know.” And right at that moment it made sense that Blind Spot should be the title, because it is about hidden dangers. Things that are right there in front of our eyes and we can’t see them.
When this film did become necessary for you?
This film became necessary for us because at the time there were several Peak Oil documentaries being made. We where actually interviewing experts in tandem with other production crews, so we knew that Blind Spot had to reach much wider. Peak Oil became the lens through which to have the discussion.
There are many things that we discovered though making Blind Spot. I guess the most essential is to always look for the Blind Spot. It is a simple lesson which I learned when I studied Sociology at Columbia University, that is that looking and observing are not the same. Not to digress too much but the photographer August Sander had a maxim: Look, Observe, Think. Besides this we learned a million things from all the brilliant people we interviewed. I guess most significant, that cheap energy has turned humanity into a bloated organism… And that we have to look at things in ecological terms, like how much animal life can the planet sustain without the artificiality of petroleum products. I could go on and on.
During did its program, Barak Obama speak very little about durable development, of ecology, which can one hope for on this side there now?
As far as the election of Barak Obama, the main issue was the economy. People want to keep on believing that the system can grow forever, that they can have 5 children and that each of those 5 children can have another 5 and that they will all be driving big cars to the shopping mall. Politicians have to promise that they can keep that dream alive. Unfortunately as much as I like him, he is way off track with his promises. For example he promised Energy independence by 2010. He talks about Clean Coal, which is a technology that will probably never happen. He talks about Nuclear Plants when even the radioactive materials for them to run on are becoming more and more scarce. I hope that as he settles into the job he can start focusing more on the real problems and begins to scale up renewable energy (not ethanol) in the way that they scaled up their military production during WWII. He has the people behind him and he would be smart to save the auto industry to build wind turbines and solar panels instead of new cars (which we don’t need at all.)
The main ecological urgency according to me is to re-adjust human expectations of what it means to be fulfilled. Also to start having a serious dialogue about curving the population growth, because otherwise any positive effect you have in one area gets overshadowed by more and more people to feed, or driving cars etc… I suppose population is not thought as an ecological matter by most people, but the original meaning of ecology is; the balance between animal and plant life within our atmosphere. We breath in Oxygen and exhale CO2 the plats breath in CO2 and exhale Oxygen. It is a perfect system, our waste product is food to the plants and vice versa.
According to certain observers, does one enters one industrial era post, which have to be the urgency from now on?
I don’t know exactly which reference to the post-industrial era you are mentioning. But I can tell you that to me the post-industrial era begins at the moment when technology has to be reconfigured into technology to repair the damage created by the industrial era. Retro-technology. And we should have been on that path for a long time now. Otherwise it may be a reference to people who argue that we live in a world where information supercedes industrial production but that is a pipe dream of the West. Everything is still dependent on the industrial production, it’s just that it is not so apparent here, but go to China and any question of post industrial era is erased, especially considering that the pollution is traveling to the west coast of the USA and beyond.