The trouble with doomsday conspiracy theories is that they are just that: theories. But if the “theories” that Michael Ruppert espouses in Collapse are accurate, humanity is headed for a cliff.
Watch the trailer for Collapse.
Ruppert, a Los Angeles police officer turned independent journalist, uses logical arguments based on publicly accessible information to outline how the world is about to change. The result of extensive interviews with Ruppert is a feature documentary by Chris Smith that warns of an impending apocalypse. (The film plays at Vancity Theatre on November 17 and from November 20 to 23.)
Ruppert states that peak oil—the point at which the planet’s maximum possible rate of petroleum extraction is reached—is upon us. The impact of this milestone could be devastating. Take food as one example: from cultivation to collection to delivery, every stage of modern agriculture requires petroleum.
“There are 10 calories of hydrocarbon energy in every calorie of food consumed in the industrialized world,” director Smith told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. Because the primary source of hydrocarbon is crude oil and oil is a finite resource, worldwide change is inevitable.
Ruppert’s arguments had an effect on those who worked on the project, Smith said.
He recalled surreal moments during the documentary’s production when he walked in on editing sessions where staff were hearing Ruppert’s words for the first time. “They were having this incredibly devastating experience.”
Smith said he hopes Collapse will have the same effect on audiences as it did on his staff. Smith said he wants the documentary to serve as a thought-provoking entry into debates on the issues that Ruppert covers.
“When people first see the film, they think it sounds very radical and incendiary,” Smith said. “But what’s funny is the more you work on the film or you think about the film, it almost seems pedestrian. Of course you can’t consume forever; of course there are consequences to printing money; of course the population expands and there might be ramifications.”
Some will call the film alarmist, Smith conceded, but if Collapse gets people talking about issues like peak oil and how to deal with such challenges, it can only be a good thing.
During an estimated 14 hours of interviews conducted over five days, Smith said, Ruppert occasionally succumbed to emotions rooted in an acceptance of inevitable catastrophe. But even he holds some hope for the future, Smith said. “I do think that he believes that human beings can have a positive impact if they focus and work together and they understand what the problems are.” The trouble, Smith continued, is that Ruppert also understands that historically, humans have not done this.
Early in the film, Ruppert argues that what society needs is Thomas Jefferson’s conviction that people need a revolution every generation in order to preserve their liberties and freedoms. Although he’s speaking of a revolution of the mind, Ruppert warns that blood and violence may have to be a part of this change.
“We’re many generations overdue for a revolution,” he says.
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