Surviving Progress

    • Mathieu Roy, Harold Crooks
    • Canada
    • 2011
    • 87 min
    filmcollectie_01 Film


    What is progress? Does progress by definition mean improvement? Are our brains equipped to keep up with the rapid technological changes in recent centuries? Is it possible to continue growing at the same rate forever? Or will the catchwords of the coming decades be austerity, shrinkage, and non-consumerism? Scientists, philosophers and cultural critics tackle these questions in this elaborate docu-essay based on A Short History of Progress (2004) by the Canadian author Ronald Wright. Wright's central thesis is that we are caught in a "progress trap," where technological innovations succeed one another so rapidly that our footprint is threatening to become too large. What's more, the world population has grown significantly since World War II, and the fall of communism has lifted economic growth to the status of mono-ideology. Wright, who makes a comparison with the catastrophe on Easter Island, believes that this is set to create a cocktail that will poison us if we do not temper our consumption. In this fast-paced and visually appealing account, Wright's ideas find support among eminent figures such as environmental activist Margaret Atwood, primatologist Jane Goodall, and biologist David Suzuki - whose own web documentary The Test Tube compared our planet with a test tube that could reach capacity at any moment.


    • 87 min
    • color
    • DCP
    Screening copy
    National Film Board of Canada
    World Sales
    National Film Board of Canada
    Mathieu Roy, Harold Crooks
    Louis Martin Paradis
    Gerry Flahive from National Film Board of Canada, Denise Robert from Cinemaginaire, Daniel Louis from Cinemaginaire
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