Friday, 1 October 2010

10:10 Campaign pulls film warning of looming climate change deaths

This video made me laugh - so I thought it'd only be fair to share it here.

It was made for the 10:10 campaign  - which aims to get individuals and organisations to cut their climate change-fuelling carbon emissions by ten per cent this year - by slushy millionaire campaigning comedian Richard Curtis.

He's had his moments (Blackadder, for example) but generally, Curtis has had a wonderful knack for producing  the worst of British soggy, soppy comedies - shows like the Vicar of Dibley, films like Notting Hill - and got very rich on the back of them.

That background makes this punchy little number even more effective, I reckon: it seeks (well, sought) to do one thing: attract some attention to the campaign, which, as 2010 enters October, is running out of time to sign up new supporters.

So it contains a few gory images to boost the shock factor - it even features England striker Peter Crouch and a chance to see former Spurs superhero David Ginola blown to pieces.

But just a few hours after putting it online, the 10:10 campaign withdrew it, citing complaints about the video being in bad taste.

Well, the cynic in me would say the whole saga seems a little contrived to me, and I imagine taking it down was always part of the plan to stir up some controversy in the hope of boosting the film's reach.

But good on 'em: climate change is already killing hundreds of thousands of people a year, and its set to get a lot worse.

I'm glad I've been able to play my part in getting Sussex Police to sign up to the 10:10 campaign and agree to cut its emissions by ten per cent, and that, collectively, Green Party councillors have been able to get Brighton and Hove City Council to do the same.

And I'm equally glad I've got a 'blog to post this film too, and that doing so helps it 'go viral' in some small way, which I'm sure is what thy are trying to do by taking the film down and pretending that anyone was genuinely offended by it.

Whatever happens to this film, our efforts to tackle runaway climate change just better 'go viral'.


  1. Why propose blowing up the unwilling - surely the 'eco nuts' would happily blow themselves up to reduce the carbon foot print they are so worried about...

  2. Thanks Pop - I must admit I've met a lot of sensible environmentalists in my time - and even a few 'eco-nuts' - but never yet anyone prepared to blow anyone, let alone themselves, up over the issue. I've never even met anyone who's proposed it, and this video doesn't seem to be proposing it either! Ben

  3. I think this video was badly misjudged - but I'm glad I've found someone who's prepared to defend it at last as all I've seen on the internet is green-types really, really hating it.

    My problem is two fold. a) the film shows a series of authority figures blowing up their inferiors for not being enthusiastic about a plan they had no part in making. Now - who is to blame for climate change? Children, and workers or governments and corporations?

    In other words it sets out to blame 'consumers' who are then 'rightly' punished by the authorities. Except climate change is a political problem isn't it - and the people we most have to tackle are the authorities both commercial and governmental.

    b) as a piece of persuasion - what is it attempting to do? It seems to me this is already persuaded people talking to other already persuaded people about how stupid everyone else is. The people we actually need to persuade though are the ones who are not convinced environmentalists at all - they are the ones we want on board and this film tells them that environmentalists want them dead, have contempt for them.

    As a piece of messaging this film does exactly the opposite of what is should be doing - it pushes people away from green thinking instead of attracting them to it.

    That's my view anyway.

  4. Hi Jim

    Thanks - but I didn't really see it like that.

    I think your point a only makes sense if the film is taken a bit too literally. I thought the point it was tring to make was a exactly the one you make - that authority figures blaming minions for not doing their bit was ridicuous - hence the ketchup/strawberry jam gore. If they had really sought been making this point, rather than getting people to realise how ridiculous such a bottom-up response to climate change is - they'd have tried a little harder. The explosions are trite and ridiculous, and I thought that was the whole point!

    As for point b, I didn't really think it was trying to persuade anyone of anything in such a direct way, just to start a conversation. And a necessary one. I think it's succeeded in doing that - I've certainly had a few as a result, and not just with the already-converted, so-to-speak.


  5. I think your intrepretation, that it is saying the opposite of what it says, seems a bit far fetched to me. But let's leave that aside.

    More importantly though is that it *should* be thinking about who it will persuade - even if it chooses not to be polemical (which would be fine, but doesn't fit this case I think).

    How we come across as a movement is extremely important and we have been plugging away for years to say that our case on climate change is based on science, it should be a main stream opinion and that we are not a bunch of ranty eco-fascists... this film sets that back in my view because it sets out to say that those who want us to combat climate change are misanthropic - that those who watch this film who are not yet persuaded of the case will be harder to persuade in future.

    I don't buy the starting a conversation thing because we're talking about one of the most discussed topics of the decade. I suspect their intention was to raise the profile of 10:10 specifically - and that they have done.