George Monbiot & Petropolis Review

This week show is hosted by Jade Gregg is your host and Jason Melnychuk has the news.

Green Building Activity Sustains Impressive Growth During 2009, Says New Market Assessment By Rob Watson

Ingersoll GM plant gets $90M retooling By CBC NEWS

David Prodan has a review of the Greenpeace film Petropolis by Peter Mettler , a new film about the Alberta tar sands.

Set to a haunting minimal score, Petropolis is a stark portrayal of man versus nature.  The power of this film comes from its blunt and uncensored nakedness.  Despite a lack of characters or plot, it manages to tell the difficult story of a land scarred by corporate greed and disregard for consequence.  There are periodic factoids captioning the film, detailing some of the basic facts around the tar sands. Introducing the film’s premise, all of the captions are set against footage of pristine landscapes, underscoring the travesty before its own elements are portrayed in million-colour clarity.  Like his previous work, most notably portraying Edward Burtynsky’s artistic vision in Manufactured Landscapes, Mettler has constructed a sweeping illustration of the effects of industry on the environment.  Shot mostly from a helicopter, we get a bird’s eye view of some absolutely lush Athabascan waterways and gorgeous expansive northern boreal forest, juxtaposed against the adjacent industrial wasteland that surrounds the boom of Fort McMurray.  The billow of smokestacks and aerial cityscapes all get their fair screen time, but the most effecting imagery comes from three evenly explored sequences, each titled ominously by their simple descriptors, each of these sequences span from distant to nearby perspectives, showing the immense organized scabs of extraction from afar, the thick bubbling boils of each pit and pond real close up, parades of antlike extractors and the labyrinthine twists of refinery. Films like Petropolis have an important place in our current drought of ethical media, bringing an untainted, realistic perspective to the public oversaturated by a glut of biased news stories.  There is much to be said for the film’s simple vernacular – straight up facts and bold, untouched imagery without any spectrum leaning commentary.  If seeing is believing, this kind of filmmaking comes as close to the truth as it gets.  And whatever you take from it being the truth, there is little doubt Petropolis exposes the tar sands project as a man-made blight on a once untouched landscape, and as an ethical dilemma pitting our thirst for oil against a rich natural history of untouched wilderness.

Rebekah Rooney brings us excerpts from a fantastic talk by author and activist George Monbiot. In it he draws ties between food shortages in the developing world and over-consumption in the West, as well as biofuels production and food colonialism.

Next weeks show is on local food and urban environmental issues and we are also launching our editorial blog so be sure to listen in at 5:00pm on CJSR 88.5FM and then check back here for lots of cool links and extra features.

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