In 1991, Cuba’s economy began to implode. “The Special Period in the Time of Peace” was the government’s euphemism for what was a culmination of 30 years worth of isolation. It began in the 60s, with engineers leaving Cuba for America. Ernesto Oroza, a designer and artist, studied the innovations created during this period. He found that the general population had created homespun, Frankenstein-like machines for their survival, made from everyday objects. Oroza began to collect these machines, and would later contextualize it as “art” in a movement he dubbed “Technological Disobedience.”
The documentary is lengthy and repetitive, but it presents interesting recent examples of technologically-driven unemployment. These could be used as updates to New Technology: Whose Progress? (Frank Morrow), an older (but in my view clearer) documentary on the effects of automation and new technology on workers and the workplace. An even older documentary, Valley Town (Educational Film Institute of New York University), shows us that this process has been going on for a very long time.
Global meat production rose from less than 50t in 1950 to about 275t in 2010. This growth has caused unaccounted environmental and social damage (see the $200 Hamburger (Raj Patel)). Recently, the most expensive hamburger in the world was produced by extracting stem cells from cows. Muscle tissue was grown in laboratories with the hope that this will someday solve the problems of growing meat consumption. The total cost of the project: €250,000. In the $200 Hamburger (Raj Patel), we saw that the environmental costs of a 50-cent fast food hamburger was 400 times its price at the register. It makes you wonder about the true price of the new synthetic hamburger. Are we solving problems or just trying to dig ourselves out of the hole that we created?
Dr David Suzuki presents the 2013 Jack Beale Lecture on the Global Environment, on the topic of Imagining a sustainable future: foresight over hindsight. In a wide-ranging talk the Canadian scientist and broadcaster discusses the environmental movement’s successes and failures, explores human evolution and the threats to our future, outlines the problems of a globalised economy, criticises the Australian government’s climate change policies, and points to a sustainable way forward.
The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement is the largest people’s organization in Sri Lanka. Sarvodaya is Sanskrit for ‘Awakening of All’ and Shramadana means to donate effort. It began in one village and has grown to more than 15,000. Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, the founder-president of Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement speaks about the ideologies behind the movement.
A very interesting interview (28 minutes) with Periyapatna V. Satheesh, director of the Deccan Development Society commenting on: Farmers autonomy, Defeating hunger, Food security, Hope for a better life, Desperation in search of better agricultural methods, Exhaustion of mother earth, Lost relations between crops and pests, Winning the battle against poverty…
Some of the footage is used in A new future for small farmers. Produced and directed by Paul Enkelaar, Jan Paul Smit and Manuel Reichert.
Social media is praised as the new weapon for toppling dictatorial power structures. Morozov states that this euphoria is nothing more than a mirage (VPRO Backlight). (Sorry for some missing subtitles. Most of the show is in English.)
This is a short 8-minutes version of a 60-minutes documentary Development in Bad Waters (AMRF). In Bangladesh, millions of rural poor are currently drinking water that is contaminated with high levels of arsenic. Although the problem was described as the worst mass poisoning in history, little has been achieved to resolve it. Among the few projects that are being implemented, even fewer have managed to reach the poor and to implement water supplies and health support provisions that last. The Arsenic Mitigation and Research Foundation has implemented an integrated and participatory program that links research with project activities in a manner that reflects the priorities of local communities.