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Environmental Documentary Review: The 11th Hour

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By Sara Hoffman

The education is worth the gloom in Leonardo DiCaprio's The 11th Hour. Environmental films are always eye-openers, but in this one I wish I could quote every sensational speaker with their insightful one-liners. I learned so much, I'm about ready to become an environmental science teacher now. Full of insider knowledge and concepts I'd never think of on my own, it's really almost an information overload, boggling my mind with fact and insight. 

Though the future may seem a little bleak when the scientists, one after another, announce that our food is poison, the ocean is unsafe to swim in, and the increasing rates of cancer and other diseases are a direct effect of our own lifestyles, it is reassuring that the experts have such a good grasp on the problem and what should be done to fix it. The featured scientists all point out, in some way, that we are nature, we're not removed from it, and if we treat it badly it will get its revenge. In this human-controlled world, you're either property or a person, mentions one of them.

The economy is set up to grow, while the biosphere is not. This displacement is what makes the experts wonder, how can slavery to the economy mean so much to humans that they spend all their time either working or spending? Things are thieves of time, they mention. One particularly clever scientist figured out that it would cost 38 trillion dollars a year to replace natural processes (like pollination and photosynthesis required to grow crops and keep CO2 levels low) with technology. All countries put together, the whole world's economy adds up to only 18 trillion. So the economy is worth less than half of what nature can give us for free. One tree can quickly store up to 57,000 gallons of water - that's enough to naturally prevent a flood.

But the silver lining is, now that we have technology, science, culture, and nature still remains, we can integrate them into one big happy world by using the incredible smarts that got us where we are today (No pun intended).

For more film reviews from RTM, visit our Earth Tones section.

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