Earth is heating up, as the largest oil company in the world continues to foster inaction so it can continue to make billions of dollars in profits. Our government stonewalls on taking on global warming and at the same time getting the troops out of Iraq, and plots another invasion and occupation in Iran—denying the whole time that these conquests are about oil. Looking at this global picture of oil, power, and enormous wealth—it all adds up, especially when acknowledging that the top of the US leadership is dominated by people with close ties to the oil industry.
From the first interview for Out of Balance, with Bill McKibben back in March of this year, this project has taken off. Ice core scientist Cameron Wake contributed some fantastic footage shot during a coring expedition in the Arctic. Greenpeace and Union of Concerned Scientists have provided footage. Many of the interviewees are interested in being on discussion panels when Out of Balance screens in their area.
The timing for the project has been phenomenal. In Spring ’06 much of the mainstream media finally caught on that “the debate” is over (they haven’t focused on the fact that it’s been over for 10+ years). That opened a floodgate of information and then came the release of “An Inconvenient Truth”. Now there are many more people who understand that we have a monumental problem on our hands, and we have to do something about it. But, many people still haven’t begun to take the problem on in a big way, and part of the reason for that is they don’t have a face to attach climate change to. Enter “Out of Balance”.
As Bill McKibben states in Out of Balance, when thinking of this problem, people should see the visage of Lee Raymond, former President and CEO of EM. You know, he’s the guy who flew off into the sunset in the corporate jet at the end of last year, $400 million retirement package secured. In his place, Raymond left Rex Tillerson, Texas oilman. It’s really a final shrewd move on Raymond’s part. If Lee was the epitome of unabashed, hardball playin’ corporate evil, Tillerson is an example of the banality of evil. At the ExxonMobil annual shareholders’ meeting, he came across as a kinder, gentler CEO. But don’t expect any policy changes on ANYTHING—renewable energy development, backing off from ANWR, voluntarily paying the punitive damages award they’ve owed the fishermen in Alaska since 1994, benefits for same-sex partners, allowing women to join the exclusive country club that male execs get a membership to, etc. Activist shareholders came out of the meeting beaming because the new CEO didn’t treat them like garbage, a la Raymond for all those years. They did admit to a lack of substance related to policy change on Mr. Tillerson’s part, though. I left there believing that Tillerson could eventually be a Republican presidential candidate.
Interviewing the phenomenal people we’ve connected with for this piece has been a true pleasure. The scientists, writers and activists in Out of Balance are all tremendously dedicated people who have a deep concern for what’s happening to the planet, and what climate change means for present and future generations.
Many climate scientists say that we need to reduce carbon emissions by 70% in the next 10 years, or we will reach a tipping point of no return. We have a huge task ahead of us. In the past few days there have been updated reports on melting permafrost in Siberia—a very dangerous cycle which releases methane, which increases warming. There is still time, though, according to the most respected scientists. But we must start doing everything we can today. Please watch “Out of Balance” for some ideas for things to do that are different than those found in other productions.