Surviving Progress (2011)
Taking A Deep Dive
Surviving Progress is a thought-provoking documentary that encourages you to explore the meaning of progress. You are invited to examine the current state of the world, with an eye to the future. Rapid consumption, deforestation, urbanization, and industrialization have all had serious effects on the planet. Our present socio-economic model is clearly unsustainable. So what is it all for? Are we truly benefitting from the status quo, or has progress lost its meaning?
These are great questions! While humans are clearly making incredible advances in technology, what are the human & environmental costs? Corporate operations and industrial practices were quick to embrace globalization. But what of people? Are we suited to the current system? Civilization has undergone some dramatic changes in recent years, and it would appear that our minds are still trying to catch up.
Globalization, capitalism, and technology have all delivered tremendous benefits. Although such gains have not been distributed fairly, their impact is undeniable. Each had been a real game-changer. As such, there appears to be a strong commitment to continuing on this present path.
At least those who have gained the most obviously want to perpetuate it. But we are currently facing a climate emergency. The status quo has had a devastating impact. Many of us are beginning to become aware of this. But what can we do about it? Can we even fully understand the consequences?
Therein lies the rub. We can happily enjoy the fruits of globalization and economic progress. It doesn’t require much to enjoy some immediate benefits. Where we have much greater difficulty, is wrapping our heads around the possibility that our actions have global consequences.
The Human Touch
Human activity is accelerating planetary climate change. It’s undeniable. But it’s not so much individual action, as it is our systems. Systems that have been put in place to continue generating economic progress. Yet even armed with this knowledge, we face an incredible challenge. Can we transition towards sustainability?
Our knowledge of the climate crisis requires a change in our current practices. But can we change? As described by the film, humans are operating with the same mental hardware we have since our our inception (as modern humans). Frighteningly, our practices have potentially evolved beyond our current capacity to grasp the extent of the consequences.
While we can acknowledge the climate emergency, committing to change is another challenge altogether. This is the underlying question of the documentary. We have progressed to the point where our machines are capable of changing the face of the planet. Technology has allowed for us to exploit the earth’s resources far beyond human power.
It’s a considerable revelation when you stop to think about it. We advanced so far, so fast. But we must now update our understanding of what we consider to be progress. At least, we’ll need to if we are to preserve the planet system and avoid catastrophic climate change. The question is complex, but obviously worthy of attention. Watch on if you can!