Is clean energy worth any price? Certainly, it is worth a high price to lower the human footprint on the earth, both for us living today, and for future generations. But is it worth the destruction and loss of ancient culture, heritage, archeological sites, or the displacement of indigenous people? Like so many environmental issues, this question is complex and seems to present an ethical dilemma.
After watching the documentary Thirst (Snitow, 2004), it becomes clear that the question as to whether or not water should be privatized is not easily answered. There is some evidence that privatization of infrastructure services is good for the consumer (pricing, effectiveness) and thus pressure would be on all providers to ensure the best possible service. However, the question of privatization opens many other complex questions. While there are many valid arguments for and against the privatization of water, there are no easy answers. What is the difference between water and food, which is privatized? Is a form of “water farming” possible or feasible? What differentiates owning water from owning land, or land with water on it? If water is owned, is it possible to legally prohibit use of that water from commercial sale? Is access to safe water a human right? Are there even any human rights, and if so, says who? Is water a part of national security; should it be controlled by the government? Is water sacred, as Klaus Toepfer has suggested, and if so, is this a valid reason not to privatize water?
Placed in a fictional future, The Age of Stupid highlights the apparent insane attitudes and behavior of our age toward environmental problems. The film illustrates the dire situation and potential consequences if we continue ignoring the signs of a coming environmental disaster and don’t find a way to effectively implement solutions.
For context, here is a summary of the film from IMDb:
The documentary, “The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil,” was inspired when Faith Morgan and Pat Murphy took a trip to Cuba through Global Exchange in August, 2003. That year Pat had begun studying and speaking about worldwide peak oil production. In May Pat and Faith attended the second meeting of The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, a European group of oil geologists and scientists, which predicted that mankind was perilously close to having used up half of the world’s oil resources. When they learned that Cuba underwent the loss of over half of its oil imports and survived, after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990, the couple wanted to see for themselves how Cuba had done this.
Question: Is this the severe crisis that will cause the human population to make a significant change in regards to dealing with the environment? Do you see Peak Oil as a coming crisis we will face?