Surviving Progress, from Executive Producers Martin Scorsese & Mark Achbar and Producers Daniel Louis & Denise Robert, is a sobering and thought provoking look at the progress mankind has made over the ages, and whether we can really call it progress at all. Sure, we have the technology to put satellites into space, but are we mindful of the finite resources on the planet that we call home? Are we concerned enough about the plight of our fellow man? Or has negotiating with poor countries for their natural resources overshadowed the importance of human dignity and caring about whether people have the basic human rights to food, shelter, and a lifestyle that we so diligently enjoy and protect on this already overcrowded planet?
The film delves into the question of whether we’ve made enough good progress to separate us from the ancient mindsets ingrained in our DNA as the descendants of ice age hunters from which we are supposed to have evolved. Are we more than overeducated apes who are capable of great economic and technological progress or are we facing life today underneath a thin layer of civilization? Today’s mindset seems to be one of “You consume, therefore I have the right to consume, and I choose to do so regardless of the planetary consequences.”
Thought provoking arguments from such visionaries as Jane Goodall, Margaret Atwood, Stephen Hawking, Craig Venter, Robert Wright, Marina Silva, Michael Hudson, and Ronald Wright himself, keep the viewer highly engaged during this compelling film that bids us to all to ask more from ourselves and less from others, and to care more about the steadily dwindling resources of the earth, issues of poverty, and equalities of economy in a world that depletes the natural capital of poor countries to pay debts that its citizens can’t. Surviving Progress is a moral compass that we should all begin to use to gauge our actions and ask whether we’re doing the right thing. The 86 minute film, which was inspired by “A Short History of Progress” by Ronald Wright, and presented by Cinemaginaire & Big Picture Media, is a “must-see” for all who inhabit earth, especially those with the greatest wealth and gains from the losses of others. The answers to the great dilemma of whether we will ultimately pass or fail the “progress” test lie within the choices of the privileged, and the new possibilities of a shared consciousness and better, more ethical decision making by all.
Well produced, interesting, and stunningly brilliant, the conclusion of Surviving Progress is dramatic, offering the truth that when one of us loses, we all lose. Nature has the only answer to this global human experiment of civilization, and most certainly the final say. As they sat in the old Chiffon margarine commercial, “You can’t fool mother nature.” We'll all be better off when man stops trying to.