This is a powerful opening for an in your face movie that is bound to win plaudits for its exposure of those who deny, and actually do their bit to cause, and profit from, global climate change.
How you respond to the film will depend on your own journey within the environmental movement: from hard-line activist to armchair academic. It is a film for everyone to see: not a must-see, like I would suggest ‘Age Of Stupid’ is, but certainly one that will stimulate action, discussion, and as the credits announce at the end, possible change through pressure and advocacy.
Craig Scott Rosebraugh’s new documentary is a hard-hitting, pull no punches style of film that exposes the greed and political machinations behind the big corporations that are funding the climate change denial Industry.
In essence it is about eco-systems and human stability. We see drought conditions affecting farmers in the Mid West of the US, and the rising wheat prices due to the low yield.
We see examples of coastal erosion affecting a village in Alaska, where faced with the entire village needing to move (and the efforts to find the huge cost of this from Federal Government), a Tribal Elder says: “we have lost pretty much half the ground I walked on as a little boy…. our people have lost their peace of mind.”
The village hit back in 2008 by suing 24 fossil fuel exploitation companies (Shell, etc) to raise the funds to move.
Trailer of Greedy Lying Bastards
There are no examples given from the Middle East, but those who are based across the dry lands know the issues facing them: increasing desertification, water shortages and coming droughts: environmental collapses combined with unstable Governments (or oil-rich Nations with no interest in measures to hold off or combat changes, or even just changing their ways).
Regular readers of Green Prophet need not be reminded.
After some of these very human-centred examples of the situation of the ground, the doc ratchets up a notch to explore and accuse those involved in the climate change denial businesses. And by god it’s murky!
From the British ‘loony lord’ Monkton (who is forced to admit on camera he has never sat in the British House Of Lords, which kind of discredits him!) (and who is the first speaker featured in the film’s trailer, above) to more serious scientists funded (both privately and through research grants) by the petrochemical Industry (Shell, etc), those who seek to lose their financial stake holdings if the US Govt tightens up its laws on environmental protection, drilling, emissions and various destructive action taken by these Industries, are seen to be hiding behind shady Think Tanks and the so-called ‘Astroturf Groups’, which are (allegedly) “in the business of selling doubt” (about climate change) according to Rosebraugh.
The film, which includes Daryl Hannah as executive director, takes a dive when Myron Ebell (from a prominent Think Tank) is shown saying: “there are no catastrophes in sight due to climate warning.”
Well, Ebell has pretty much hoist by his own petard by now.
Similarly Senator James Inhofe, whose quote “global warming could be the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people” is a chilling statement and battle cry.
Like many of the current crop of feature docs, particularly those that are ‘green themed’, within the first half the film, a lot of information is given, presented clearly and often starkly; the theme is presented and then explored and unpicked, and then halfway through the piece starts to feel too long – nothing new gets explored, or the style becomes predictable.
“GLB’ moves from the personal experience of climate change, to the political arena being fought in public and behind the scenes, and then back to the personal again – this is a worthwhile and traditional method of telling the story, indeed, it is now a standard grammar for documentary practise.
Interview with Daryl Hannah:
Rosebraugh does eventually gain access to a shareholders meeting, but there is no confrontation or clash of the two sides prevented: activists versus aggressors if you like – it remains largely at the level of ‘us and them’, or more starkly, those who have suffered personal catastrophe, and those who are protecting their own interests in the offending Industries, or through political/financial power.
‘Greedy Lying Bastards’ is what is says on the tin: it exposes those who are corrupt.
It also, tragically, shows a few of the end of the line victims who suffer due to the actions of the corrupt and inert. What we do with this knowledge is now up to us.