What I’ve been Eyeballing of Late.
Ok, I confess that Netflix is my Achilles heel. I try very hard to avoid too much screen time but with the amazing educational stuff streaming on Netflix it’s hard to look away. Truthfully, you can learn just as much from a doco-a-thon as you can from several semesters worth of university studies and the delivery is far more interesting that the traditional sit-in-a-lecture-theater-and-listen-to-someone-drone-on method of teaching (however I will warn that the last doco is a bit of a lecture but well worth it). My last round up was style focused, this one is a little more sustainable living focused.
Like tomato vs. tomatoe or the chicken vs. the egg, the rights of bikes vs. the rights of cars is one of those battles that continues to create debate in pubs, clubs and lounge rooms across the Globe. No matter what side of the debate you find yourself leaning towards, there is no denying that the issues associated with bikes and cars are prevalent no matter where you live. In many areas bike riders risk life and limb in their attempt to share the road with car commuters, while on the other side drivers shake their heads at the way that some riders refuse to follow the traffic guidelines. This documentary takes a long hard look at all the nitty gritty of both options, with a specific focus on urban design for bike accessibility and safety. The doco is littered with great stats and facts (sorry I didn’t write any down as I was cleaning the house while I watched it) and is definitely worth the watch regardless of what party (bike or car) that you identify with. What I found fascinating was the look at LA city planning and how the area is not cycling friendly. It reminded me very much of some of the downsides to the area that I live in. Sadly the Sunshine Coast, which does have bike paths, is largely connected by a ‘motorway’ that bans cycling and mopeds. While most areas are connected by bike paths, it’s evident that the area was specifically deigned for car commuters. This doco is a great watch for anyone who has been contemplating the hows and whys of transport specially leg power verses fossil fuel.
The sun. Some of us worship it. Others loathe it due to it’s skin burning and earth scorching ways. Then there are the few who are pioneering ways to catch it. No, not in a Mr. Burns, block it out and plunge Springfield into darkness kind of way (sorry for those who aren’t Simpsons obsessed and are wondering what the heck I’m on about), more in the solar power energy kind of way. Catching the Sun takes the solar energy movement to levels you probably haven’t even considered yet. The doco shows the way that solar power is providing hope for communities that have lost some of theirs through employment empowerment (there is even a love story). It also shows the highly political nature of the energy industry. Fossil fuels are worth big bucks and the sun is doing it’s thing for (pretty much) free (once you have your system set up). This means that there is a bit of competition between existing fossil fuel sectors and the development of renewable energy industry. It’s definitely worth a squizz if you are interested in the future of energy. Even if you aren’t interested, you really should be, because without the awesomeness of energy (solar or not) you wouldn’t be able to read this! Phones and computers are just lumps of metal without power. I don’t have solar energy at home yet but it’s on the cards as soon as the budget allows for it. Can’t wait to have a ‘freedom from fossil fuel energy’ celebration.
Requiem for the American Dream
One of our times greater thinkers, Noam Chomsky provides quite an insightful look at American society, economics, and advocacy (to name a just a few of the topics covered) in the documentary Requiem for the American Dream. This watch probably isn’t going to make your list of ‘this years block busters’ because it’s visually pretty dull (it’s a discourse with Noam), but it does provide some fascinating tidbits from this master of thought on the downfalls of the American economic/political/societal models. The development of consumers through marketing, advertising, fear and division was a key insight for me. Chomsky shows in this doco that there is an intentional division between the super rich and the ‘rest of us’ and that the economy (specifically the American economy) is designed to support this divide.’We’ (those of us who aren’t super rich or industry CEOs) are kept in our ‘worker’ state to help keep this economic system in it’s perpetual growth at any cost system that makes the rich richer and the rest of us storage unit deep in consumable ‘stuff’ and debt. My key take home from it is that our taxpayer system should be something we support and celebrate. That paying taxes to help fund community systems and infrastructure that give back to our communities should be exciting. We should feel joy that part of our salaries go towards keeping helping ourselves and our neighbours live lives to the fullest. Sadly, the way that the current systems work, we often don’t see or benefit from our tax dollars (I’m pretty pissed that Australia talking about spending some $50 billion dollars on twelve submarines). And a media that fuels fear, segregation and selfishness has further escalated this ‘bad taste’ of community funding and living and enables governments to spend taxpayer dollars on things that don’t directly contribute to people or planet (like for examples, $50 billion dollars worth of battle machines that may be deemed useless given the advancements in drone technology). Anyways, enough gripes about submarines and stuff, this doco is a really cool one to listen to while folding your laundry if you are keen for some deep thought. It tends to be a bit of a pessimistic watch, but it wraps up with the notion that people power is the way forward. Which, given Chomsky’s history of activism, isn’t a complete surprise. It goes to show that you can’t always rely on top down change and that going out into your local neighbourhood, being kind to others, and banding together to create change with likeminded folk can be very powerful.
Have you watched any of the above? Got any thoughts you want to share? Another documentary suggestion? Spill all below.