May 26

Living in The Age of Stupid

Takeaways from our first activity of 2019

We hosted our first TeenFilm of 2019 last week, Franny Armstrong’s 2009 documentary, ‘The Age of Stupid’. For those who missed out,  TeenClub member Alvaro has put together a summary of what we discussed:

“The film we watched was The Age of Stupid, a documentary describing our rapidly changing climate and what will happen if we turn a blind eye to it.

“The film takes place 30 years in the future, where sea levels have risen, the world’s resources have dwindled and humanity has pretty much disappeared. It’s pretty exaggerated, but this extreme version of the future led to some very interesting discussions. We all agreed that the post apocalypse being presented was not very feasible for the time frame that they gave but it made us think about what could happen if the world continues to be complacent towards such a devastating catastrophe.

“Another point of discussion were incentives to use green energy. Some people agreed that taxing people for using fossil fuels would be effective in dissuading people to use fossil fuel and make car manufacturers go completely electric, and others thought that people would never accept it, using the recent protest in Paris as an example.

“Another major topic was the role of corporations like shell using their influence to gain as much profit as possible, a process that ruins the environment and the people who live there. We also thought that the reason the film succeeded was because it used emotional appeal and stories from many people affected by climate change to make you feel the impacts of things you don’t usually think about. The film was great food for thought, and allowed us to discover that old people have no tolerance for windmills.”

By Alvaro V, TeenClub member

The discussions provoked by the film lead us to compile a list of our top five actions to combat climate change. Would you have included the same things as us?

  1. Shop from stores that allow you to bring your own containers (this saves energy and resources that would have gone into making an transporting packaging, as well as protecting the oceans from plastic waste. Find a list of Zero-Waste shops in Brussels here)
  2. It’s winter. It’s cold. But rather than reaching to turn up the radiator or central heating, put on more layers of clothing instead to keep warm.
  3. Speaking of clothing, try to reduce the damaging effects of fast fashion on the planet, by buying fewer clothes. If you feel like you have nothing to wear, explore second-hand and charity shops to restock your wardrobe in a more eco-friendly way.
  4. Think about what you eat. The carbon (and methane) footprint of meat is significantly bigger than that of plant-based foods. If you can’t manage becoming fully vegetarian, flexitarianism is a great way to start reducing your meat consumption.
  5. Look carefully at how much you fly. As someone said during the documentary, ‘apart from setting fire to a forest, flying is probably one of the worst things you can do for the planet’. Suddenly that EasyJet flight doesn’t look like as much of a bargain, does it?

And for those who feel like these aren’t quite enough, there’s always protest. Join us at our next TeenFilm, How to Survive a Plague to learn more!