2040 – An idealistic view of the world: or glimpse into the future?

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Australian director/presenter Damon Gameau first cut his teeth with ‘That Sugar Film’ in 2015.

The highly successful debut feature explored the many ways sugar has entered our diet, and been a major contributor to the Western world’s current obesity epidemic.

His new film ‘2040’ takes a similar tack, using the same clever and highly refreshing techniques to explain how the world might look in the year 2040 when his young daughter turns 25.

Gameau paints an optimistic – some might say realistic – picture of how the world would look if the ‘powers that be’ immediately took the necessary steps to reduce global warming, and its resulting (and most likely devastating) climate change.

Gameau is however; quick to point out that this is not a pipe dream.

In fact, all of the steps required to reduce the world’s CO2 emissions to manageable levels are available to most of the developed – and developing – countries right now.

He points out that introducing renewable energy across the board, along with alternative (and less-polluting) transportation, would result in massive carbon-dioxide decreases throughout the sea, land and air.

The real problem is not so much our ability to implement the changes, but the urgency needed in making them.

This is because there are several experts interviewed in the film who maintain that even if we could take the necessary steps towards carbon reduction immediately (as of today), it would still take longer than the year 2040 for them to become fully effective.

In other words we are running out of time, and yet many of the world’s biggest polluters, such as the US and China, are still ‘sitting on their hands’ and doing little or nothing about the problem.

Using his four-year-old daughter as a metaphor for the world’s environmental plight, Gameau cleverly depicts a 2040 ‘utopia’ where if all of the necessary fossil fuel and CO2 reductions were made, we would all end up with a much cleaner and more sustainable world.

And let’s face it, Gameau’s vision is certainly resonating with the world’s youth at the moment.

We have all witnessed news coverage of the mass walkouts that have taken place in schools around the world recently, with thousands of schoolchildren abandoning their classes to demonstrate in the streets, and highlight the impending and current dangers of global warming.

Of course, as an older and some might say, more cynical participant in world affairs, I can also see the other side of the coin – the effect these changes may have on those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo – such as the power and mining companies, oil barons and carmakers.

No doubt, they might change their methods and adjust to the ‘brave new world’.

It’s just that Gameau does not appear have factored in their possible opposition, or the far-reaching power and influence they hold over some of the world’s most culpable Governments and big business.

This aside, the concept of 2040 is an excellent one, and something that if fully embraced, could literally ‘save the planet’.

Indeed, it may well prevent us all from going to ‘Hell in a hand basket’, as predicted by Gameau in the worst-case scenario.

The world is on notice to clean up our act

By Mike Peeters

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