The end of the world is nigh, and may even be bad news

The Standard
24 September 2009
Humanity is on course to wipe itself out in the very near future. Some people think of this as a bad thing.

If you can't make up your mind, help is at hand. The world's first pedal-powered movie is to be screened in cities across Asia this week.

The Age of Stupid, a sci-fi-style documentary about killer weather, received rave reviews and inspired the entire British Cabinet to sign a pledge to change its evil ways. (Abolition might be a good start).

Film director Franny Armstrong is hoping Asia will avoid the catastrophic development mistakes the West has made. (Don't count on it).

The Age of Stupid - the film's name is a label for the current era, as seen from the future - has been nicknamed the pedal-powered movie because it was made on extremely clean-and-green principles. The film's UK premiere was powered by solar electricity, the stars ditched their limousines to arrive on bicycles, and even the popcorn machine was hand-cranked.

The movie opened simultaneously on more screens than any film in UK cinema history, beating even Star Wars. It's showing in Hong Kong at UA Times Square at 9.30pm tomorrow for one night only - the time coinciding with the New York opening.

To me, the most amazing thing about this movie is that it was made by my niece Franny, who I still think of as a small sticky child in nappies, although she probably no longer needs diapers (except possibly at the bar on Friday nights).

This sci-fi style epic shows what the world is set to look like in 2055: there's no snow on the Alps, London is flooded, Australia is burning, and coastal cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore are submerged.

The main character is a historian who explains how the world ended up in such a state. He traces it back to opportunities missed by the planet's population in or around 2009.

Franny, who was born in the 1970s, said: "We were part of the MTV generation who were bombarded with advertisements telling us the point of our existence was to shop more."

She was suspicious about this. It seemed a bit easy compared to the important tasks previous generations had to do, such as saving the human race from tragic errors like fascism, communism, and wearing platform shoes, wide ties, etc.

Then she visited a glacier and noticed it was disappearing before her eyes. Suddenly, she realized that her generation had a mission.

"I feel quite relieved that it turns out that we DO have something important to do," she said. "The people who came before us didn't know about climate change, and the ones who come after will be powerless to stop it.

"So it's down to us."

When she started filming, scientists worried that she was too pessimistic. Now they say she was not pessimistic enough.

Humanity is set to make itself extinct in the very near future. Some people think this may be a bad thing.

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