Waving goodbye to The Age of Stupid + Piers needs you
<< STOP PRESS - Piers the Stupid windfarm man is back in Bedford Town Hall all this week, making one last attempt to get some wind turbines stuck up at Airfield Farm. ie in the very same spot he was fighting to get them up in the film, back in 2005. He'd greatly appreciate any support from anyone who can turn up at the hearings dressed in blue. See his letter at the bottom of this message. >>
Hello and Happy New Decade,
So I thought this was rather symbolic: my friend bet a thousand quid that I couldn't go one year without uttering the words "climate change". Now I was feeling pretty confident, come Dec 31st, what with having any number of alternatives up my sleeve: you know, "global warming", "greenhouse effect", "anthropogenic warming". So, anyway, there we were at my granny's house in Dorset, watching Jools Holland count down to the new decade, and, on the stroke of midnight, in come 12 pipers piping, followed by a man dressed in a polar bear suit. "What do you think that's all about then?" says friend, at precisely 7 seconds into the new year. To which I reply "Surely it's got to be climate change".
And therein lies the problem.
When we finished making The Age of Stupid eighteen months ago (eighteen months ago!), you see, Lizzie and I agreed we would promote it all the way to Copenhagen in December 2009 and then go our separate ways, patting ourselves on the back at a job well done and at a small contribution to keeping the atmosphere habitable to human life. With 18 months being 17 months more active promotion than yer average documentary gets to shake its bootie at. So off we went to Copenhagen - sponsored by many of you fine people, thanks again - and threw ourselves into The Stupid Show, which I will be going on about at great length in the next message, just as soon as we've sorted all the videos into some comprehensible order, but which was kind-of brilliant in a madcapedly underresourced way.
What the hell happened at Copenhagen?
I can't explain better than: Stupid Show Team
- The final message that Lizzie and I filmed at 7pm on the last Sunday, after two long weeks inside the Bella Centre
- The final Stupid Show featuring Tony Juniper, Mark Lynas, Ed Miliband, Kumi Naidoo and President Nasheed from The Maldives in various states of exhaustion after we'd all been awake since Friday and everyone else had gone home.
- The Climate Scoreboard, which calculates that the Copenhagen accord (a weaker thing than a deal or an agreement, specially cos we don't yet know whether anyone is going to sign up) would commit us to a 3.9 degree global temperature rise, which would mean something like: all coral dead, most forests dead, Southern Europe a desert, Australia with no agriculture and Africa uninhabitable. So not great then.
Radiohead's Thom Yorke with The Stupid Show team shortly after he'd signed up to 10:10
The Age of Stupid, the film, is all over, therefore we can retire?
-> Team Stupid has done a fantastic job over the last few months putting everything in place so that the film will continue to be watched all around the world for years to come. Distribution deals are signed & sealed from Australia to Armenia. The DVDs are flying off the shelves. The Stupid shop has moved to its new home in a big warehouse. Indie Screenings is being handed over to our UK distributors Dogwoof. The downloads are winging their way through cyberspace and the pirates are swopping bittorrents for free on the internet, feeling smug whilst they do it (how come they get the best of all worlds? Couldn't they at least feel bad as they nick our hard work?). There's plenty more TV screenings coming up, including Discovery in America in March or April. We're thinking that the prize for keenest country goes to the Netherlands, where 200,000 viewers watched it on mainstream TV the other week, 120,000 DVDs have been printed (70,000 given away in Belgium and the rest ordered by shops in Holland) and, according to several Dutch friends telling me independently, "Age of Stupid" has become a must-say phrase in the mainstream media, even when not talking about the film.
-> Cash-wise, the first of ten annual payments to our crowd-funders & crew went out last week. Sorry that we just missed Christmas: the problem was that 100+ of the 400 people wrote in to change their details, so that slowed things down considerably. But you should have got your cash now and if you haven't please contact our accountant Kevin Lyons on email@example.com. About 40 people said they were delighted and/or surprised with their payment and one said he was totally regretting ever getting involved with the film, so that's not such a bad ratio. Sorry we haven't quite yet made you all millionaires.
-> Team Stupid has now disbanded. Many have packed their laptops and headed upstairs to 10:10 (Dan, Leo, Mal), one has gone to film school (Ben), two back to their old dayjobs (Sylvia, Sara), two unaccounted for somewhere in Copenhagen (Tom, Luke), one last seen heading off in a campervan surrounded by Danish police (Rop), one to a great job at the Carbon Trust (Andrew), one to musical adventures (Nick) and one to continue internationally coordinating NGOs (Jahlia).
-> Which therefore means that the winner of the lucky draw to captain the good ship Spanner Films solo from now till eternity is.... Rhiannon Roberts. Round of applause please. Yes, the poor gal will be all alone in Stupid Towers from now on - except we're getting kicked out of Stupid Towers so will have to find a desk for her to squat somewhere else. So all Stupid or Spanner Films-related enquiries should now go to the hardy lass on firstname.lastname@example.org. She's only got 400 emails in her inbox at the moment, so sure she'll get back to you real soon.
-> Having said all that, Andy Moore is also popping in from time to time, finishing up the American DVD, sorting out the Stupid Show, archiving all the used teabags and whathaveyou. He's on email@example.com
-> Miss Lizzie doesn't yet know whether she'll do more filmmaking, more campaigning or more politicking but you can rest assured you haven't heard the last from her... As for myself, I guess I fall into the next paragraph...
Rhiannon Roberts realises that where once there were nine she now stands alone
The Age of Stupid, the era, is not all over, therefore we cannot retire?
The deal they were supposed to agree in Copenhagen is meant to replace the Kyoto Treaty, which ends at the end of 2012. They didn't manage in Copenhagen (the UN meeting called COP15), but all is not lost, as there is another shinding happening in Mexico next December, called, you guessed it, COP16. So if the deal can be done then, it can still come in in 2013, as Kyoto finishes, and that would be pretty much the same difference. We just lost a year of preparation time, which isn't the end of the world.
So what can we, the humble citizens, do to help ensure that the deal gets done in Mexico?
Stupid is dead! Long live 10:10!
As The Guardian's New Year's Day 10:10 special edition headlined, "The politicians failed at Copenhagen. Now it's over to you."
When the politicians meet again next in Mexico in December, they need to be confronted by the news that the people - and businesses and schools and churches and table tennis clubs - have gone ahead on their own and started cutting emissions. Not in a changing-a-few-lightbulbs way, or in setting more long-distance targets, but in terms of actually knocking a few percent off the total emissions of whole countries in less than a year. Quite a task. To quote myself quoted in the Guardian (much easier than re-writing): "I think Copenhagen marks the end of traditional campaigning on climate change. Enough banners, enough websites, enough shouting in the streets. Now we need to roll up our sleeves and start solving the problem, all together. If we wait until the politicians get their act together, it will be too late."
There is no way that the politicians would be able to ignore the people plonking, say, 2% cuts from, say, UK, Australia, Germany, Iceland, Norway and the Maldives down on the Mexico table, just as they're having their first coffee. Or, to put it more positively, the politicians would realise that the citizens are ready to build the low-carbon future and this will give them the political space they need to make the deal as strong as the science demands.
10:10 is absolutely storming ahead in the UK, so the major mission now is to get at least 7 or 8 other countries up to speed, out of the 33 which have contacted us wanting to set up their own version of 10:10 (rather hilariously, the main national broadcaster in the Netherlands launched their very own 10:10 last week. Not sure how we feel about this, but we have anyway now bought in super-star coordinator Susan Alzner - she of the UN climate week triumph (and Stupid Show laugh-o-meter, fact fans) - who will be presenting her world domination plans at the first 10:10 Board Meeting, er, tomorrow and then starting to implement the plan on Friday).
Here's how you can get involved:
-> If you haven't yet committed to cut your 10% this year, sign up now at http://www.1010uk.org. If you're not in the UK, sign up at http://www.1010global.org. You've already missed the first 13 days of 2010, so have a little bit of catching up to do. Then persuade your kids' school, your workplace, your girlfriend's college and your grandfather's knitting circle to sign up too. You'll be joining: 53,874 people, 2,041 businesses, 1,051 Schools, Unis and Colleges and 1,424 other organisations. Big name sign-up of last week: Sony. Plus 116 local councils who between them cover a third of the UK population, which means that 20.45 million people will be getting their services (housing, waste, street lighting etc etc) with 10% less emissions than they did this year. Bloody amazing.
-> If you're not on the 10:10 mailing list (regardless of whether you've signed up to cut your emissions), join by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All the 10:10 news goes out on there, I just send a few titbits occasionally.
-> Join 10:10's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter (#1010)
-> Give 10:10 some of your cash by donating here or by entering the competition to win a genuine Picasso artwork, as the main thing slowing the campaign down is having to waste loads of effort on fundraising. And how much would you impress your new girl/boyfriend by casually giving them a Picasso for their next birthday?
-> Any questions or thoughts about 10:10, please write to email@example.com
So that's where we're at
I wanted to end this message with the rather delightful news that Channel 4 picked McLibel as the 14th best film of the last decade. But their website seems to have deleted all mention of it... there was honestly a big feature all about the best films and we even made it into the opening paragraph, which has somehow survived the cull: "As this most clunkily-named decade, the Noughties, goes gently into that good night, we've seen fit to round-up our pick of the best films from the cinematic era that gave us Steve Coogan Hollywood movie star, saw a postman taking on McDonald's and winning in McLibel, while a splatstick horror director from New Zealand by the name of Peter Jackson changed the face of cinema with a story about some plucky midgets."
So that's it then: we made a film, which was called The Age of Stupid, and then we distributed it as best we could and then we turned our attentions to 10:10 in a bid to help usher in, er, The Age of Sense? The Age of Reason? The Age of Clever?
Hope all's well with you,
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Public Inquiry for Airfield Wind Farm, as featured in 'The Age of Stupid', 12-> 15th January 2010
-> Please come to Bedford to show your support
Hello Age of Stupid fans,
Piers Guy from the film here.
If consented, Airfield Wind Farm will consist of 3 x 2MW wind turbines, located in Bedfordshire. These three turbines, proposed next to the Santa Pod drag racing strip, will produce around 14,000GWh of clean electricity per year, which is the equivalent to the usage of around 3,000 homes, savings thousands of tonnes of CO2 per year.
In the summer of 2009, Nuon Renewables appealed the planning application on the grounds of non determination. The Public Inquiry has been set for 10am on Tuesday the 12th of January at Bedford Town Hall, St. Paul's Square, Bedford, MK40 1SJ. The inquiry will last until the 15th of January.
We really want the Planning Inspector to see the strength of support for the wind farm. We know CLOWD, the anti group featured in The Age of Stupid, will be there in large numbers trying to monopolise the proceedings, so it is vital that the we have as many supporters present as possible.
A strong turnout would send a very positive message to the Planning Inspector, we also would like as many people as possible to drop in throughout the week so that the inspector is continuously reminded of the support that exists for this project and also to boost the morale of the wind farm team at the enquiry.
At all times please wear bright blue (hats, scarves, t-shirts, jumpers etc.) if possible to show your support for the wind farm We will also have blue rosettes for people to wear.
Feel free to make banners, and make yourselves heard.
Hope to see you in Bedford!
Any queries please contact:
Will Wason, Project Manager
Tel: +44 (0)1736 330171